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Great Lakes Reinsurance UK v. 1600 Western Venture, LLC

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

June 13, 2017

GREAT LAKES REINSURANCE UK, Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant,
v.
1600 WESTERN VENTURE, LLC, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          AMY J. ST. EVE United States District Court Judge

         On February 6, 2017, Plaintiff Great Lakes Reinsurance (“Great Lakes”) filed a four-count Second Amended Complaint for Declaratory Judgment against Defendant 1600 Western Venture, LLC (“Western Venture”) in relation to the parties' insurance coverage dispute pursuant to the Court's diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). On February 16, 2017, Western Venture filed its Second Amended Answer, Defenses, and Counterclaim, which includes the insurance dispute claims, a breach of contract claim, and a claim under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (“ICFA”), 815 ILCS 505/1, et seq. Before the Court is Great Lakes' motion for summary judgment brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a). For the following reasons, the Court grants Great Lakes' summary judgment motion and dismisses this lawsuit in its entirety.

         BACKGROUND

         Great Lakes is a wholly-owned corporate subsidiary of Munich Re, which is organized and exists under the laws of Germany with its principal place of business in Munich, Germany. (R. 50, Pl.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶ 1.)[1] During the relevant time period, Great Lakes was an excess and surplus line insurance carrier that issued a property insurance policy to Western Venture. (Id. ¶ 2.) Western Venture is a limited liability company organized and existing under the laws of the State of Illinois with its primary place of business located at 2443 W. 16th Street in Chicago, Illinois. (Id. ¶ 3.) At all times pertinent to this action, Western Venture owned two structures located at 2443 W. 16th Street and 2444 W. 16th Street in Chicago, Illinois (“Insured Premises”). (Id. ¶ 4.)

         Great Lakes issued a property insurance policy to Western Venture, as a member of Commercial Industrial Building Owner's Alliance (“CIBA”), bearing Policy Number B066479244A12 (the “Policy”). (Id. ¶ 12.) From December 5, 2010 through the present, Western Venture was and is a named insured under the Policy. (Id. ¶ 13.) Although Western Venture's agents, employees, and maintenance personnel had unfettered access to the roofs of the Insured Premises, sometime in May 2015, Western Venture discovered that there was hail and wind damage on the roofs of the Insured Premises. (Id. ¶¶ 14-16.) On July 23, 2015, Western Venture reported the existence of hail damage at the Insured Premises to Great Lakes initiating Claim No. IP12-157 for the 2444 W. 16th Street structure (“2444 Claim”) and Claim No. IP12-158 for the 2443 W. 16th Street structure (“2443 Claim”). (Id. ¶¶ 17-19.)

         On September 18, 2015, Great Lakes issued a reservation of rights letter with respect to the 2444 Claim, and on, September 25, 2015, Great Lakes issued a reservation of rights letter with respect to the 2443 Claim. (Id. ¶¶ 23-28.) On October 8, 2015, Great Lakes issued supplemental reservation of rights letters with respect to both the 2443 and 2444 Claims. (Id. ¶¶ 29-34). These letters explained Great Lakes' reservation of rights in relation to the conditions, limitations, or exclusions of the Policy, as well as defenses available to Great Lakes. (Id. ¶¶ 23-34.) On October 13, 2015, Western Venture, through Brian Flisk - Western Venture's manager and agent - tendered Great Lakes its omnibus Sworn Statement in Proof of Loss for both the 2444 Claim and the 2443 Claim. (Id. ¶ 35.) It is undisputed that the date of loss for these claims was August 30, 2013. (Id. ¶ 36.)

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine dispute as to any material fact exists if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). In determining summary judgment motions, “facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party only if there is a ‘genuine' dispute as to those facts.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). After “a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party ‘must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255 (quotation omitted). “To survive summary judgment, the nonmoving party must show evidence sufficient to establish every element that is essential to its claim and for which it will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Diedrich v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, 839 F.3d 583, 591 (7th Cir. 2016) (citations omitted).

         ANALYSIS

         I. Insurance Coverage Claims and Counterclaims[2]

         In its summary judgment motion, Great Lakes contends that Western Venture's insurance coverage claims are barred by the twelve month suit limitation provision contained in the Policy based on the undisputed evidence that the sworn date of loss for both the 2444 and 2443 Claims was August 30, 2013, and that Western Venture failed to file a lawsuit by August 30, 2014. Great Lakes specifically relies upon the following provision of the Policy:

SUIT AGAINST COMPANY
No suit, action or proceeding for the recovery of any claim under this policy shall be sustainable in any court of law or equity unless the Named Insured shall have fully complied with all the requirements of this policy, nor unless the same be commenced within twelve (12) months next after inception of the loss provided, however, that if under the laws of the jurisdiction in which the property is located such limitation is invalid, then any such claims shall be void unless such ...

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