Bozek v. Erie Insurance Group

46 N.E.3d 362 (2015)

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Bozek v. Erie Insurance Group

Illinois Court of Appeals
46 N.E.3d 362 (2015)

RW

Facts

Erie Insurance Group (Erie) (defendant) insured an in-ground pool and other property owned by Marek and Bozena Bozek (plaintiffs). The policy’s anticoncurrent-causation (ACC) clause relieved Erie of any liability for loss caused directly or indirectly by an excluded peril, even if another covered peril “contributed concurrently, or in sequence” to the loss. The Bozeks’ pool was equipped with a valve designed to relieve underground hydrostatic pressure. At some time prior to the onset of unusually heavy rains, the valve failed. Thus, the nonfunctioning valve was unable to prevent the hydrostatic pressure of the waterlogged ground from crushing the pool’s concrete. Because the Bozeks’ policy covered mechanical but not hydrostatic damage, Erie invoked the ACC clause and denied the Bozeks’ claim for the loss of their pool. The Bozeks sued, arguing that they were entitled to indemnification because the pressure-valve failure preceded the dangerous increase in hydrostatic pressure. The trial court rejected this argument, ruling that the ACC clause applied to multiple-cause events regardless of the sequence in which each cause occurred. The trial court entered summary judgment for Erie. The Bozeks appealed to the Illinois Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jorgensen, J.)

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