Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court Of Cook County. No. 14 CH 19115 The
Honorable Franklin U. Valderrama, Judge Presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE NEVILLE delivered the judgment of the
court, with opinion. Justices Hyman and Mason concurred in
the judgment and opinion.
NEVILLE, PRESIDING JUSTICE
1 This case raises the question of whether a
subcontractor's insurer has a duty to defend the general
contractor, an additional insured under its policy, in a
lawsuit brought by an injured employee of the subcontractor.
In the underlying lawsuit, the Estate of Robert Woods, the
injured employee of the subcontractor, JM Polcurr, Inc., sued
the general contractor, Blinderman Construction Company,
Inc., for negligence. The complaint included no allegations
about the acts of Polcurr. Polcurr's insurer, Hastings
Mutual Insurance Company, filed a separate lawsuit for a
judgment declaring that it had no duty to defend Blinderman
in the underlying lawsuit. The circuit court granted a motion
for summary judgment in favor of Hastings on its complaint.
2 In this appeal, we hold that the absence of allegations
about Polcurr in the underlying complaint does not suffice to
meet Hastings's burden of proving that the injury
occurred through no fault of Polcurr. Accordingly, we reverse
the judgment and remand for further proceedings.
4 The Public Building Commission of Chicago hired Blinderman
to serve as general contractor for a construction project at
Sauganash Elementary School. On June 22, 2010, Blinderman
hired Polcurr to do the electrical work for the project.
Blinderman's contract with Polcurr required Polcurr to
purchase insurance naming Blinderman as an additional insured
for Polcurr's work on the project. Polcurr purchased the
required insurance from Hastings.
5 On July 19, 2011, Robert Woods suffered a severe injury at
work on the project. He regained consciousness in the
hospital about one month later. He has not worked since the
accident. A court appointed Woods's daughter, Cynthia
Sosnowski, to serve as plenary guardian for Woods and
6 The Underlying Lawsuit: Estate of Woods v. Blinderman
7 In February 2014, the Estate of Woods filed a complaint
against Blinderman, alleging that Woods fell from a ladder
while working at Sauganash for Polcurr. The estate alleged
"a. Failed to provide a safe and suitable support and
platform for the work;
b. Failed to properly supervise, coordinate, inspect, manage,
control and schedule the work;
c. Failed to provide a safe place of work; and d. Failed to
warn of the dangerous condition then and there existing, when
Defendants knew, or should have known, that warning was
necessary to avoid injury to Plaintiff."
8 Blinderman tendered defense of the lawsuit to Hastings.
Hastings rejected the tender, citing, as a basis for the