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Edward T. Joyce & Associates, P.C. v. Professionals Direct Insurance Co.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

September 30, 2014

EDWARD T. JOYCE & ASSOCIATES, P.C., Plaintiff,
v.
PROFESSIONALS DIRECT INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

CHARLES RONALD NORGLE, District Judge.

In this declaratory judgment action, Plaintiff Edward T. Joyce & Associates, P.C. (the "Joyce Firm") sues Defendant Professionals Direct Insurance Company ("PDIC"), seeking a declaration that under the terms of the Lawyers Professional Liability Policy issued to the Joyce Firm, PDIC is required to indemnify the Joyce Firm for a $628, 527.47 award (the "Final Award") entered against it, post-judgment interest, and for attorneys' fees and costs incurred by the Joyce Firm following entry of the Final Award. Before the Court are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. For the following reasons, summary judgment is granted in favor of PDIC and against the Joyce Firm.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Facts[1]

PDIC issued the Illinois law firm, the Joyce Firm, the Lawyers Professional Liability Policy, No. 10IL10098600601-LPL, for the policy period of April 6, 2010 to April 6, 2011. As relevant here, the policy, as amended by the ProDirect Select® State Amendatory Endorsement - Illinois, states:

SECTION A. COVERAGE
1. WHAT THIS POLICY INSURES:
Subject to the terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations of this policy, we will pay on your behalf all sums which you become legally obligated to pay as damages because of any claim or claims, first made against you. The claim must first be made and reported to us during the policy period or any extended reporting period, if applicable, and must arise from any act, error or omission to which this policy applies. Our obligation to pay damages on your behalf is limited to the limit of liability that remains after we deduct the deductible amount shown in the Declarations, provided all of the following are true.
a) The claim must arise out of the rendering of or the failure to render professional services.
b) The claim must be caused by an Insured under this policy or by any person for whose acts, errors or omission you are legally liable.
c) the act, error or omission must have first occurred on or after the applicable Retroactive Date(s).
d) You had no knowledge of facts which could have reasonably been expected to result in the claim, or any knowledge of the claim, prior to the effective date of this policy.

PDIC's Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement of Material Fact ¶ 4. The term "claim" is defined as follows:

a) a demand or suit for money or services you receive, including any arbitration proceedings to which you are required to submit or to which you have submitted with our consent; or
b) when you first receive oral or written information or have knowledge of specific circumstance involving a particular person or entity which could reasonably be expected to result in a demand or suit for money or services; or
c) when you first receive oral or written notification of any disciplinary proceedings.

Id. ¶ 5. The term "damages" is defined as "monetary judgments, awards or settlements unless otherwise excluded." Id . ¶ 6. "Professional services" includes the following:

a) services you render in a lawyer-client relationship as a lawyer, mediator, arbitrator, notary public, administrator, conservator, receiver, executor, guardian, trustee or in any similar fiduciary capacity
b) services (including title opinions or title certifications) you perform for others for a fee as a title insurance agent, title abstractor, title searcher, escrow agent, or closing agent;
c) services you render as a lawyer for others as a mediator or arbitrator, speaker or author of legal treatises.
d) your activities as a member of a formal accreditation, ethics, peer review, licensing board, standards review, bar association or similar professional board or committee.

Id. ¶ 7. The policy includes certain exclusions, including Exclusion (o), which provides that the policy does not apply to: "o) any claim for fines, sanctions, penalties, punitive damages or any damages resulting from the multiplication of compensatory damages." Id . ¶ 10. Exclusion (p) provides that the policy does not apply to: ...


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