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Kavanagh, Murphy-Petros, Breen and Cook Convince Appellate Court Dismissal of Complaint Was Appropriate as Policy Did Not Provide Coverage for Underlying Claim

September 1, 2015

Kevin Kavanagh (Partner-Philadelphia), Melissa Murphy-Petros (Partner-Chicago), Brian Breen (Of Counsel-Philadelphia) and William Cook (Associate-Michigan), in a case involving the road construction death of a flagman before the Appellate Court of Illinois, First Judicial District, obtained affirmation of the trial court's order granting the motion of the client, Certain Underwriters at Lloyds, to dismiss the complaint, which sought coverage for a $4.2 million judgment entered against the insured and punitive damages for bad faith. The trial court and the Appellate Court agreed that Underwriters' contingent automobile liability coverage does not apply if there is other applicable automobile liability coverage despite the fact that the automobile liability coverage was insufficient to satisfy the judgment entered against the insured. In essence, the courts confirmed that the policy provides contingent coverage, not excess coverage and it stated that the contingency in the policy relied on by Underwriters when they denied coverage is unambiguously worded.

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