In Zurich Am. Ins. Co. v. Infrastructure Eng’g. Inc., 2023 Ill. App. LEXIS 383, the insurer, Zurich American Insurance Company (Insurer) proceeded as subrogee of Community College District No. 508 d/b/a City Colleges of Chicago and CMO, a Joint Venture. The Appellate Court of Illinois, First District (Appellate Court) addressed whether Insurer – who issued a builder’s risk policy to insure a building during construction – could subrogate on behalf of the building owner, City Colleges of Chicago (City Colleges), who was part of the joint venture and an additional named insured, but who had not been directly paid for the underlying loss. The Appellate Court determined that the policy language established that the carrier was contractually permitted to subrogate on behalf of all additional named insureds on the policy, including the building owner.
The Supreme Court of Illinois (Supreme Court) reversed a 2021 appellate court decision which held that an insurer had to duty to defend the property owner’s tenant following a fire at the property. In Sheckler v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., 2022 IL 128012, the state’s highest court ruled that the appellate court’s reliance on Dix Mutual Insurance Co. v. LaFramboise, 597 N.E. 2d 622 (Ill. 1992) was misplaced as the ruling in Dix was limited to a specific set of facts, which did not apply to the current case.
In Bain v. Airoom, LLC, No. 1-21-001, 2022 Ill. App. LEXIS 241, the Appellate Court of Illinois (Appellate Court) considered whether the lower court erred in enforcing an arbitration clause in a construction contract between the parties and, as a result, dismissing the plaintiff’s lawsuit. The Appellate Court found that even if the arbitration clause was enforceable, the appropriate action would have been for the court to stay the lawsuit, as opposed to dismissing the case entirely. The Appellate Court then considered the language of the arbitration clause and found that several provisions were substantively unconscionable, which rendered the entire arbitration clause unenforceable. The Appellate Court reversed the lower court’s decision compelling arbitration and reinstated the plaintiff’s complaint. Continue reading
When the direct door to a subrogation recovery closes, the reimbursement door remains open.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, construing Indiana law, recently clarified the distinction between workers’ compensation subrogation rights and workers’ compensation lien rights. Workers’ compensation subrogation professionals should always keep this critical difference between direct subrogation and reimbursement in mind when evaluating any claim. Continue reading
Foreseeability is a tort concept that tends to permeate several aspects of legal analysis, often causing confusion in litigants’ interpretation of, and courts’ application of, foreseeability to their cases. In Cincinnati Ins. Co. v. Progress Rail Services. Corp., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73967 (C.D. Ill.), the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois took on the task of analyzing a case dealing with foreseeability issues to determine if the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty and if the damages were so remote as to violate public policy. The court held that since the defendant’s actions contributed to the risk of harm to the plaintiff and the facts satisfied the four-prong duty test, the defendant owed the plaintiff’s subrogor a duty of reasonable care. It also held that the plaintiff’s damage claim did not open the defendant up to liability that would violate public policy. Continue reading
The implied warranty of habitability allows a homeowner to recover damages for latent defects that interfere with the intended use of a home. In Sienna Court Condo. Ass’n v. Champion Aluminum Corp., 2018 IL 122022, 2018 Ill. LEXIS 1244 (2018), the Supreme Court of Illinois held that buyers of new homes cannot assert claims for breach of the implied warranty of habitability against subcontractors involved in the construction of the homes because the subcontractors have no contractual relationship with the homeowners and the damages are purely economic. As the court explained, the implied warranty of habitability is a creature of contract (not tort) and, therefore, only exists when there is contractual privity between the defendants and the homeowners. Continue reading