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Porch Collapse Killing 12 and Injuring 29 Was One Occurrence Even Though Some People Died Weeks Later

A three-story porch collapsed during a party resulting in the deaths of 12 people and injuries to 29 others. The estates of the deceased and the injured plaintiffs ultimately settled their claims with the building owner. The primary carrier paid its $1 million per occurrence limit. The excess carrier paid the amounts above the primary carrier, but then filed suit against the primary carrier. It sought to require the primary carrier to pay its full $2 million limit because there was more than one occurrence in that a number of people died days and weeks after the collapse. The trial court ruled in favor of the primary carrier holding there was one occurrence, and it was only obligated to pay $1 million.

The First District affirmed. There was no dispute that the porch collapse was the sole cause of all plaintiffs’ injuries and death. There was no contention that any separate or intervening act or cir- cumstance contributed to those injuries. Consequently, under the policy terms, it was one occurrence, and the single oc- currence limit of liability applied. Ware v. First Specialty Ins. Corp., 2012 IL App (1st) 113340 (1/11/13). 

© 2019 Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, P.C

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Heyl Royster serves clients in every county in Illinois. We have offices in six major population centers in Illinois - Peoria, Springfield, Urbana, Rockford, Edwardsville, and Chicago - which allows us to appear in any Illinois state or federal court quickly, effectively, and cost-efficiently for our clients. Our offices collaborate with each other and with our clients to achieve client goals. Our statewide practice has earned Heyl Royster a reputation for innovation, excellence, and professionalism and brings our clients a specialized knowledge of...

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