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Hartford Casualty Insurance Company v. Board of Education of the City of

April 26, 2011

HARTFORD CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Virginia M. Kendall

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Shiney Haridas ("Haridas") sued the Board of Education of the City of Chicago ("the Board") in state court alleging she fell on a broken sidewalk at a Chicago high school while attending a recital presented by the Natraj Dance Academy ("the Academy"). The Hartford Casualty Insurance Company ("Hartford") sued the Board here seeking a declaration that it owes no duty to defend or indemnify the Board under a policy Hartford issued to the Academy. Hartford has now moved for summary judgment, asserting that the Board is not an additional insured under the Academy's policy and, in any event, the Board gave Hartford notice of the suit too late. The parties agree on the facts. For the following reasons, the Court grants Hartford's motion.

I. UNDISPUTED FACTS

On April 9, 2008, Haridas sued the Board in the Circuit Court of Cook County, alleging that she tripped and fell on the sidewalk between the parking lot and the auditorium at Lane Technical High School ("Lane Tech") while attending her daughter's recital on May 20, 2007. (Doc. 28, 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 1-2, 4, 9.) Haridas' complaint did not name the Academy as a defendant. (See Doc. 25-1; 56.1 Resp. ¶ 1.) The Academy had permission from the Board to use Lane Tech's auditorium that day to put on the recital. (Id. ¶ 3.) Haridas' complaint alleges that as a result of the Board's negligence, she suffered broken bones and pain and suffering. (Id. ¶¶ 5-6.) The Board was served with the Haridas complaint on April 24, 2008, and filed its appearance a few weeks later. (Id. ¶¶ 10-11.) Hartford, however, did not receive notice of the suit until nearly 16 months later, on August 11, 2009. (Id. ¶ 12.) The suit has since settled and was dismissed by stipulation of the parties. (Id. ¶ 13.)

The Board sought coverage for the Haridas suit as an under a policy Hartford issued to the Academy. (Id. ¶ 8.) Two parts of that policy are at issue here: the "additional issured" provision and the notice to the insurer provision. The former provision provides that certain types of organizations are additional insureds when [the Academy has] agreed, in a written contract, written agreement or because of a permit issued by a state or political subdivision, that such person or organization be added as an additional insured on your policy, provide the injury or damage occurs subsequent to the execution of the contract or agreement, or the issuance of the permit. (Id. ¶ 14.) The Board asserts it falls into one or more of the following three categories of organizations that qualify as additional insureds:

c. Lessors Of Land Or Premises

(1) Any person or organization from whom you lease land or premises, but only with respect to liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of that part of the land or premises leased to you.

e. Permits Issued By State Or Political Subdivisions

(1) Any state or political subdivision, but only with respect to operations performed by you or on your behalf for which the state or political subdivision has issued a permit.

f. Any Other Party

(1) Any other person or organization who is not an insured under [the other paragraphs], but only with respect to liability for 'bodily injury,' 'property damage' or 'personal and advertising injury' caused, in whole or in part, by your acts or omissions or the acts or omissions of those acting on your behalf: (a) In the performance of your ongoing operations; (b) In connection with your premises owned by or rented to you . . . (Id. ¶ 14.) The notice provision of the policy states:

2. Duties In the Event Of Occurrence, Offense, Claim Or Suit

(a) Notice Of Occurrence Or Offense

You or any additional insured must see to it that we are notified as soon as practicable of an 'occurrence' or and offence ...


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