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Pekin Insurance Company v. Recurrent Training Center

April 20, 2011

PEKIN INSURANCE COMPANY,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RECURRENT TRAINING CENTER, INC., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT
JENNIFER GARLAND, RANDE REPKE, MORGAN STANLEY AND COMPANY, INC., HK GOLDEN EAGLE, INC.,
DEFENDANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois Honorable Kathleen M. Pantle, Judge Presiding No. 08 CH 41914

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Murphy

Justice Murphy delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Presiding Justice Quinn and Justice Neville concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

Plaintiff, Pekin Insurance Company, filed a complaint for declaratory judgment seeking a determination of whether it owed defendant Recurrent Training Center a duty to defend it in underlying litigation. The trial court found that plaintiff did not have a duty to defend Recurrent Training Center in the underlying actions. For the following reasons, we affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

In January 2006, Recurrent Training Center, which is located in Savoy, Illinois, trained Mark Turek on the operation of a Cessna 421 B airplane. On January 30, 2006, Turek was piloting a Cessna for business purposes on behalf of his employer, Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc.

The plane crashed near Palwaukee Airport in Wheeling, Illinois, 170 miles from Savoy, Illinois, resulting in the deaths of Turek and three others.

Defendants Jennifer Garland, Lisa Waugh, Northern Trust Bank, Rande Repke, and Donna Turek*fn1 filed actions against Recurrent Training Center in the circuit court of Cook County seeking damages for personal injuries and wrongful death arising out of the plane crash. They alleged that Recurrent Training Center negligently trained Mark Turek, who was negligent in the operation of the airplane. Defendants Morgan Stanley and HK Golden Eagle, Inc., sought contribution from Recurrent Training Center in connection with the underlying plaintiffs' claims against Morgan Stanley and HK Golden Eagle.

Plaintiff issued a commercial general liability policy to Recurrent Training Center for the period of March 1, 2005, through March 1, 2006. Section I.A. of the policy provides:

"a. We will pay those sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of 'bodily injury' or 'property damage' to which this insurance applies. We will have the right and duty to defend any 'suit' seeking those damages. We may at our discretion investigate an 'occurrence' and settle any claim or 'suit' that may result. But:

(1) The amount we will pay for damages is limited as described in LIMITS OF INSURANCE (SECTION III); and

(2) Our right and duty to defend end when we have used up the applicable limit of insurance in the payment of judgments or settlement under Coverages A or B or medical expenses under Coverage C.

No other obligation or liability to pay sums or perform acts or services is covered unless explicitly provided for under ...


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