CLG LAWYER PUBLISHES IN ISBA PERIODICAL

| May 22, 2019 | Firm News

CLG LAWYER PUBLISHES IN ISBA PERIODICAL
Firm Associate, Joshua A. Edelson, contributed to the May 2019, vol. 63, no. 5 issue of The Policy – the newsletter of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Section on Insurance Law – distributed by the Illinois State Bar to all its member, by authoring for publication a thorough analysis of a recently decided 5th District Illinois Appellate Court case: Hess v. The Estate of Klamm, 2019 IL App (5th) 180220 (February 11, 2019). This appellate case, involving the issue of stacking of liability limits, arose from an automobile accident in which two individuals were killed and another was seriously injured. Following the accident, guardians and independent administrators for the decedents and injured minor (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed suit and alleged that the accident was proximately caused by the negligent acts or omissions of the Defendant’s decedent. Plaintiffs’ Complaint also alleged multiple counts directed to Meridian Security Insurance Company (“Meridian”), the liability insurer for Defendant, for judicial declarations that the bodily injury liability limits listed on the auto policy could be stacked across vehicles. The Meridian policy listed four covered vehicles, and the Declarations pages included a separate premium amount paid for each of those four vehicles. The policy’s Declarations pages generally identified the limits for “Liability-Bodily Injury” coverage as $100,000 per person / $300,000 per accident. Plaintiffs asked the circuit court to declare that these limits could be stacked across the four insured vehicles, for a total combined limit of $400,000 per person and $1.2 million per accident. Observing that the relevant sections of the Declarations pages were on multiple pages, the fifth district appellate court noted that the first three insured vehicles were listed on the first page and that the fourth insured vehicle was listed on the second page. Further, it observed the first page identified the three separate premium amounts for each of the insured vehicles, along with identifying liability limits of $100,000 per person, and $300,000 per accident and, again, that the second page described and listed the premium amount for the fourth vehicle as $100,000 per person, and $300,000 per accident. The holding in the opinion was that the liability limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident, listed twice on the three pages of policy Declarations, would be stacked, providing total limits of $200,000 per person and $600,000 per accident. The Policy is a newsletter of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Section on Insurance Law and provides summaries of every insurance opinion applying Illinois law either by an Illinois State Appellate Court or by the Seventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals. For a more in depth analysis of this case and others, see the May 2019, vol. 63, no. 5 issue of The Policy by clicking on the link provided.