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1200 Ashland, LLC v. Lawyers Title Insurance

December 31, 2010

1200 ASHLAND, LLC, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LAWYERS TITLE INSURANCE, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge David H. Coar

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff 1200 Ashland, LLC ("1200 Ashland") brings an action for declaratory judgment and breach of contract against Defendant Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation ("Lawyers Title"). 1200 Ashland seeks a declaration that, pursuant to Zoning Endorsement 3.1 of the Owner's Policy of Title Insurance issued by Lawyers Title, it is entitled to coverage and indemnification for damages suffered by reason of an erroneous zoning classification in the endorsement. 1200 Ashland also contends that Lawyers Title breached its title insurance contract obligations. The instant matter proceeded to bench trial on July 26, 2010. Based on the trial and the parties' pre-trial and post-trial submissions, the Court now sets forth its findings of fact and conclusions of law as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(a).*fn1

FINDINGS OF FACT

A. Parties

1. 1200 Ashland is an Illinois limited liability company that has its principal office in Chicago, Illinois.

2. Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation is a Nebraska corporation that is licensed to conduct title insurance business in the state of Illinois. Its principal place of business at the time of removal was in Glen Ellen, Virginia.

B.The Ashland Property

3. On December 22-23, 2004, 1200 Ashland closed on the purchase of a piece of commercial real estate, commonly known as 1200 North Ashland Avenue, Chicago, Illinois ("the Property").

4. The law firm of Brown Udell Pomerantz & Delrahim ("Brown Udell") handled the closing on 1200 Ashland's behalf.

5. Near North Title LLC ("Near North"), as issuing agent for Lawyers Title, closed the transaction.

6. Near North issued Lawyers Title Owner's Policy No. A 75-0289800 (the "Owner's Policy"), dated December 23, 2005, to 1200 Ashland.

7. The Amount of Insurance provided by the Owner's Policy was $8,100,000.00. 8. In connection with this real estate closing, Near North also issued a loan policy (the "Loan Policy") to 1200 Ashland's lender, Amcore Bank (the "Lender").

9. Prior to closing -- on or about December 16, 2004 -- the Lender asked Near North to add a 3.1 zoning endorsement to the Loan Policy.

10. A 3.1 zoning endorsement insures against loss sustained by the insured if the relevant property is not zoned as described in the endorsement.

11. Near North did not receive a request to add a zoning endorsement to the Owner's policy prior to closing.

12. On December 20, 2004, Near North forwarded proformas of the Owner's and ...


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