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Westfield Ins. Co. v. West Van Buren, LLC

2016 IL App (1st) 140682 (Ill. App., 2016)

Words & Phrases

Occurrence: In General

Trial Judge

Rodolfo Garcia

Appellate Judge



Insurer had no duty to defend developer in condo association’s action because there was no “occurrence” or “accident” and no “property damage..”

Fact Summary

This case involves an insurance coverage dispute. The insurance company filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a determination that it had no duty to defend the additional insured in an underlying lawsuit. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment, and the trial court ultimately ruled in favor of the insurance company. The additional insured now appeals contending the insurance company had a duty to defend it in the underlying lawsuit. We disagree and therefore affirm the trial court’s judgment in favor of the insurance company.

About a year after construction, the 933 Van Buren Condominium Association (Condo Association) took charge of the building. Shortly thereafter, the Condo Association claimed construction defects in the roof caused water to infiltrate into the building and individual condominium units and also caused damage to personal and other property in the condominium units. The Condo Association demanded that the Developer reconstruct the roof. The Developer refused, and the Condo Association then paid for the repair work that cost in excess of $309,000.

Westfield Insurance subsequently filed the present declaratory action for a determination that it owed no duty to defend or indemnify the Developer as the additional insured in the underlying case. The Developer, in turn, filed a counterclaim alleging a duty to defend because the underlying complaint contained allegations of personal property damage that were within the policy’s coverage and based on estoppel. Westfield Insurance denied that the underlying complaint alleged a covered occurrence.

The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment in the declaratory judgment action.  At the hearing on the motions, Westfield Insurance acknowledged the underlying complaint alleged personal property damage but argued that the Condo Association lacked standing to assert such claims on behalf of individual unit owners.