Thomas Crisham, John O'Malley and Clare Quish Successfully Defend an Appeal on Behalf of a Major Insurance Company

Thomas CrishamJohn O'Malley and Clare Quish successfully defended an appeal on behalf of Hartford Fire Insurance Company ("Hartford"). Employers Reinsurance Corp. v. Hastings, et al., No. 1-07-2732 (Ill. App. Ct. Mar. 15, 2010). The appeal involved multiple lawsuits filed against the Sun-Times Media Group, Inc, Chicago Sun-Times, LLC, and Midwest Suburban Publishing, Inc. which alleged that these newspapers overinflated their circulation figures, and overcharged their advertisers for advertising in these publications. The newspapers, in turn, tendered these lawsuits to their various insurance companies, including Hartford, and asked the insurance companies to defend them in the underlying suits. Hartford and other insurers denied that there was insurance coverage for these lawsuits. Litigation ensued among the insurers and insureds over whether the applicable insurance policies afforded coverage for the circulation lawsuits. Ultimately, the trial court entered judgment on the pleadings for Hartford, finding that the Hartford policy provided no coverage for the causes of action alleged in the circulation lawsuits.

On appeal, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, in an unanimous decision, ruled for Hartford and affirmed the trial court's judgment. With respect to Hartford, the appellate court analyzed Hartford's insurance policy and the underlying circulation lawsuits. The court determined that none of the claims or allegations alleged in the underlying circulation lawsuits fell within the coverage provisions of Hartford's insurance policy. The court further found that even if the potential for coverage under Hartford's insurance policy existed, the false advertising exclusion in Hartford's policy barred coverage.

For a copy of the Rule 23 decision, click here.

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