Robert Marc Chemers and Sara J. Brundage recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of their insurer client in a declaratory action filed in circuit court in Cook County, Ill. The court held that the insurer had no duty to defend the insured, a flight simulator training center, sued in multiple wrongful death actions for personal injuries and educational malpractice. The court concluded that the insurer’s commercial general liability (CGL) policy’s coverage territory was limited by a premises liability endorsement and that the injuries did not arise from the insured’s ownership, maintenance or use of its flight training premises in Savoy, Ill.
Mr. Chemers and Ms. Brundage also handled the appeal on behalf of the insurer. The Illinois Appellate Court’s First District affirmed the summary judgment in favor of the insurer, finding that the circuit court correctly held that the insurer had no defense obligations in the underlying wrongful death actions because the CGL policy did not grant coverage to suits for injuries occurring away from the insured’s premises. The Pretzel attorneys argued, and the courts agreed, that the plane crash was not an “inherent risk” of the insured’s flight simulator business; indeed, the policy excluded the use of airplanes.