Clear-Vu Packaging, Inc. v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, Pa., CLEAR-VU

Citation434 N.E.2d 365,61 Ill.Dec. 212,105 Ill.App.3d 671
Decision Date25 March 1982
Docket NumberCLEAR-VU,No. 81-480,81-480
CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Parties, 61 Ill.Dec. 212 PACKAGING, INC., a corporation, and Plastofilm Industries, Inc., a corporation, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. NATIONAL UNION FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY OF PITTSBURGH, PA., a corporation, Defendant, The Alper Agency, Inc., a corporation, Defendant-Appellee.

Page 365

434 N.E.2d 365
105 Ill.App.3d 671, 61 Ill.Dec. 212
CLEAR-VU PACKAGING, INC., a corporation, and Plastofilm
Industries, Inc., a corporation, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
corporation, Defendant,
The Alper Agency, Inc., a corporation, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 81-480.
Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District.
March 25, 1982.
Rehearing Denied May 11, 1982.

[105 Ill.App.3d 672]

Page 366

[61 Ill.Dec. 213] Rabens, Formusa & Glassman, Ltd., Marvin Glassman, Nicholas J. Lynn, Chicago, for plaintiffs-appellants.

McKenna, Storer, Rowe, White & Farrug, Robert S. Soderstrom and Shaun McParland, Chicago, for defendant-appellee.

REINHARD, Justice:

This appeal arises from a dismissal of plaintiffs' amended complaint pursuant to section 48(1)(f) of the Illinois Civil Practice Act. (Ill.Rev.Stat.1979, ch. 110, par. 48(1)(f).) The sole issue presented for our review is whether plaintiffs' release of a defendant insurance company for liability under the terms of an insurance policy operated as a release of the defendant insurance broker for liability for its alleged failure to procure a policy in conformance with the plaintiffs' request.

On June 20, 1978, plaintiffs, Clear-Vu Packaging, Inc. (Clear-Vu), and Plastofilm Industries, Inc. (Plastofilm), filed a two-count complaint against defendants, National Union Fire Insurance Co. (National Union) [105 Ill.App.3d 673] and the Alper Agency, Inc. (Alper), seeking to recover $2,024,400 in damages which they sustained as a result of a fire on their insured premises. Plastofilm is the sole owner of all outstanding shares of stock in Clear-Vu. Count I of the complaint, directed against Alper, sought a declaration of the rights and liabilities of the parties under the provisions of an insurance binder letter dated April 25, 1977, and subsequent letters and agreements between Alper, Clear-Vu and Plastofilm. This count further requested judgment against Alper in an amount equal to plaintiffs' total loss suffered less any sum paid by National Union. Count II sought judgment against National Union under the terms of the insurance policy issued to plaintiffs.

On January 19, 1979, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint seeking, in addition to the relief sought in the original complaint,

Page 367

[61 Ill.Dec. 214] damages against Alper for its improper preparation of plaintiffs' business interruption claim, and punitive damages against National Union for its refusal to pay plaintiffs' claim. The punitive damages claim was subsequently dismissed by the trial court. Also, a countercomplaint was filed by Alper against National Union which is not pertinent to this appeal. On December 28, 1979, plaintiffs' remaining claim against National Union was then dismissed pursuant to a stipulation of the parties that the claim would be litigated in an action between the parties pending in the State of New York. Thereafter, plaintiffs and National Union executed a document, in consideration of $1,250,000 paid by National Union, releasing National Union from all causes of action plaintiffs had against National Union arising out of the insurance policy.

On May 19, 1980, plaintiffs filed an amended Count I against Alper. The facts as alleged in that amended count are essentially as follows. Prior to February 17, 1977, plaintiffs requested Alper to obtain insurance coverage for property and business interruption loss for the property and business operations for Clear-Vu which was located at 112 Bruckner Blvd., Bronx, New York, New York. On April 25, 1977, plaintiffs received a letter from Alper asserting that arrangements had been made with National Union "to accept on an All Risk Basis an amount of $2,650,000 blanket contents, property of others, and business interruption." Accompanying the letter was an insurance premium invoice in the amount of $5,762 which plaintiffs promptly paid. The insurance policy issued by National Union, however, did not conform to the agreement between plaintiffs and Alper, and Alper failed to attend to correction of the policy or to advise plaintiffs that a policy could not be obtained in accordance with their agreement. On or about August 6, 1977, a fire occurred at Clear-Vu's plant and offices in New York, resulting in loss and damage in the total amount of $2,024,400. This amount consisted of a contents loss of $1,311,059 and a business interruption loss of $713,341. Subsequently, [105 Ill.App.3d 674] plaintiffs were advised by National Union that the policy in force on the date of the fire did not provide blanket coverage but was limited to $1,150,000 for loss of contents and $1,500,000 for business interruption. As a result of the failure of the policy to sufficiently cover plaintiffs' contents loss, plaintiffs suffered an uninsured loss of $161,059. Plaintiffs prayed for judgment against Alper in an amount equal to the total loss suffered...

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