Contributors

Trial Notebook

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Pre-suit procedure on auto insurance is flawed

Section 143.24b of the Illinois Insurance Code encourages pre-suit settlements by obligating auto insurers to disclose the liability limits of policies that cover alleged tortfeasors. The statute says insurance companies “shall disclose the dollar amount of liability coverage under the insured’s personal private passenger automobile liability insurance policy” within 30 days of when they receive a certified letter with specified information. But there’s a big problem that needs to be fixed. In a case where an alleged tortfeasor was covered by two State Farm policies — an underlying policy with limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident plus a $1 million umbrella policy — the Illinois Appellate Court decided Sec. 143.24b doesn’t “encompass umbrella policies.” Kim v. State Farm, 2021 IL App 200135 (June 30). This means lawyers can’t rely on the statutory procedure to find out whether a tortfeasor has excess coverage.

Insurance Matters

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Insurer bound by judgment in case it was not a party to

The 1st District Appellate Court recently held that an automobile insurer was collaterally estopped from contesting a judgment in another case, to which the insurer was not a party, rescinding a tortfeasor’s liability coverage and thereby triggering the uninsured motorist coverage under the insurer’s policy.

For the Defense

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Pure comparative fault is solution to Illinois’ fault apportionment system

As articulated over the last year in this space and in the last several weeks in particular, Illinois’ fault apportionment system is beyond repair. Jiggering here or there with the various statutes at issue will not lead to just allocation between at fault tortfeasors nor will it encourage settlements.

Workplace Issues

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Plaintiff wins claim for long-term disability benefits

Deciding disability benefit cases can be challenging for federal courts, but in Dwyer v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 2021 WL 2853250 (E.D. Pa. July 8), a federal judge in Pennsylvania was able to cut through the confusion and issue a decisive ruling in favor of the plaintiff.

Cotter’s Corner

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Commission opens talks on expanding SCOTUS bench

Last week, the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court held hearings. The hearings included a number of panels on various aspects of the Supreme Court and potential reforms, including a panel on the size and composition of the court.

Lawyers’ Forum

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‘The Designated Mourner’ finds perfect medium — a podcast

From the beginning, “The Designated Mourner” by Wallace Shawn should have been a podcast — except when it was written, in 1996, podcasts hadn’t been invented.

Opening Statement

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From the vastness of the universe to the question of God’s existence

Unless you have been living in a cave on an island off the coast of Madagascar, I am sure you are aware of the recent number of news reports about the sightings of UFOs — now designated as “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena” by the Pentagon.

Opening Statement

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Irish Theatre’s ‘Ghosting’ leaves lasting impression

“Ghosting” is a colloquial term describing a situation where, after starting off or fully into a close relationship, one person, suddenly and without explanation, cuts off all communication with the other person, ultimately disappearing from their life.

Sports Marketing Playbook

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Puma backs down on aggressive challenge to Olympic trademarks

If there was ever any doubt, the trademark for “Tokyo 2020” belongs to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC). So does “Beijing 2022” and “Paris 2024.” German sportswear giant Puma conceded as much when it withdrew four actions it filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) to void the USOPC’s registrations.

Opening Statement

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Stages and screens continue to offer opportunities for Black talent

While it looks like the COVID-19 pandemic is winding to a close, the country still has many problems yet to resolve.

Opening Statement

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We are in a communication and entertainment revolution

We are in the middle of a revolution. Well, a couple of them actually.

Opening Statement

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Broadway is warming up for its September return

Broadway is back! Well, it’s coming back in September.
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