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Garrick v. Mesirow Financial Holdings, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Illinois

July 26, 2013

George GARRICK and Lainie Garrick, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
MESIROW FINANCIAL HOLDINGS, INC., and Mesirow Insurance Services, Inc., Defendants-Appellees.

Page 987

Robert A. Chapman and Shannon T. Smith, both of Chapman Spingola, LLP, of Chicago, for appellants.

Michael J. Meyer and Jeremy N. Boeder, both of Tribler, Orpett & Meyer, P.C., of Chicago, for appellees.

OPINION

GORDON Justice.

¶ 1 Plaintiffs George Garrick and his wife, Lainie Garrick, brought a professional negligence action against their previous insurance producers, [1] defendants Mesirow Financial Holdings, Inc., and Mesirow Insurance Services, Inc. Defendants moved to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint pursuant to section 2-615 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-615 (West 2004)). The trial court granted the motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action with leave to replead. Plaintiffs then filed their " First Amended Complaint" (amended

Page 988

complaint), and defendants filed a second motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action pursuant to section 2-615, which the trial court granted with prejudice. Plaintiffs now appeal the trial court's order dismissing the case with prejudice.

¶ 2 Plaintiffs claim that the trial court erred in dismissing the amended complaint, which alleges that defendants' negligence in excluding a pair of expensive earrings from coverage in a previous insurance policy proximately caused their damages. For the following reasons, we affirm.

¶ 3 BACKGROUND

¶ 4 I. The Parties

¶ 5 Plaintiffs are individuals who now reside in California but previously resided in Illinois. Defendant Mesirow Financial Holdings, Inc. (MFH), a Delaware corporation, is a diversified financial insurance services firm with its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. Defendant Mesirow Insurance Services, Inc. (MIS), is a wholly owned subsidiary of MFH.[2] According to plaintiffs' amended complaint, MIS's website states that MIS is one of Chicago's largest independent insurance consultants and is among the top 25 in the nation.

¶ 6 II. Insurance Coverage

¶ 7 Plaintiffs' amended complaint alleges that, between approximately 2002 and 2005, plaintiffs procured the services of defendants-insurance producers to obtain personal property insurance coverage. During that time, Beverly Thomas, assistant vice president of Mesirow, provided insurance consulting and brokerage services to plaintiffs. Among the coverage procured on plaintiffs' behalf during this period of time was private collections coverage obtained from American International Insurance Company (AIG). Among the items of valuable personal property listed on a schedule of covered items was a set of diamond earrings valued at approximately $80,000. The total number of items listed on the schedule of personal property was approximately 100 or more items.

¶ 8 A. First Insurance Claim

¶ 9 Plaintiffs' amended complaint alleges that, in late 2004, plaintiffs informed defendants that they had lost one of the covered earrings. As a result, defendants submitted a claim to AIG under the private collections coverage in the policy and that claim was paid. Plaintiffs then purchased a replacement earring identical to the lost earring.

¶ 10 Plaintiffs further allege that, in 2005, through the acts of Thomas, defendants directed AIG to remove the covered earrings from the schedule of covered items without plaintiffs' knowledge or consent. Plaintiffs later obtained a renewal policy with AIG through another producer. At that time, plaintiffs were under the belief that the earrings were covered. Plaintiffs further allege that defendants did not inform them that, when they used the insurance proceeds to purchase an identical replacement earring, the earring would constitute a new " item" that would require a separate listing on a schedule in order for the earrings to have continued coverage.

¶ 11 Plaintiffs allege that, when they renewed the AIG policy, they took reasonable steps to verify that the items they had subsequently acquired were added to a new schedule and the items that they no longer possessed were removed from the schedule.[3]

Page 989

¶ 12 B. Second Insurance Claim

¶ 13 Plaintiffs' amended complaint alleges that, in 2009, approximately four years after the relationship between plaintiffs and defendants had terminated, [4] plaintiffs lost both earrings, including the replacement earring. In connection with that loss, plaintiffs submitted a claim to AIG through their new insurance producer. AIG denied the claim on the basis that the earrings were not covered because they were not listed on a schedule of covered items under the 2009 policy. Plaintiffs further allege that it was only in connection with the preparation and submission of the 2009 claim that they learned for the first time that the earrings were not covered.

¶ 14 III. Procedural History

¶ 15 A. Original Complaint and ...


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