Margaret Hupp Fahey Wins Summary Judgment in Cook County Breach of Contract Case

May 13, 2024 / News

Margaret Hupp Fahey won summary judgment for her insurer client on April 24, 2024, in Damian Wojcik v. American Zurich Insurance Company, Case No. 22 CH 12415. The Circuit Court of Cook County ruled that the plaintiff did not establish a prima facie case for Zurich’s failure to pay a claim under an all-risk policy because he did not establish that his damaged property was covered under the policy at the time of the loss.

The parties brought cross-motions for summary judgment on the breach of contract count for the court to determine whether, under a builder’s risk policy, an existing garage constituted Covered Property. The definition of Covered Property requires that it be “property which has been installed.”

Zurich contended that a garage that existed decades before the effective date of the builder’s risk policy could not be properly installed as part of the construction that the policy was intended to cover. The insured argued that the policy must be interpreted to include any property that has been installed, either before or after the effective date.

The court found that the insured’s interpretation would render clauses of the policy meaningless, while the insurer’s interpretation did not conflict with other provisions of the policy. Therefore, the definition of covered property could not be reasonably interpreted to include the preexisting garage.

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