Jury Finds State Farm Violated Policyholders’ Right to Full Coverage In Theft of 1970 Chevy Chevelle Show Car.

(Chicago – 9/14/2018)  It took less than 1.5 hours for a Cook County jury to return a unanimous verdict tonight in favor of our clients against State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company for refusing to pay the full insurance policy coverage amount after their award winning 1970 Chevy Chevelle car was stolen at a national car show in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  The spectacular car, that our clients had completely remodeled over the course of 2 years, was valued at over $100,000.

After a four day trial, the jury quickly rejected both of State Farm’s  alleged affirmative defenses that our clients (1) hid the car and (2) had allegedly made false statements with the intent to conceal or misrepresent material facts to State Farm in the course of its investigation.  Over the course of five years, State Farm never offered our clients one penny to settle the claim.  Justice was served when ironically, the jury made its decision on the same day as the 5th year anniversary of the car’s theft at the National Street Rod Association’s Street Rod car show — and within a few hours of the time  our client called had 911 upon discovering the theft in 2013.  The show featured over 2,500 show cars and 20,000 attendees.  The car has never been found.

The Honorable Judge James E. Snyder presided over the jury trial, and he will now hear the Section 155 bad faith claim against State Farm in Phase 2 of the case.  Under Section 155 of the Illinois Insurance Code, insurance companies like State Farm are subject to significant additional liability above the amount of coverage in the insurance policy if, for example, they refuse to provide coverage and its actions or delay are unreasonable and vexatious. 215 ILCS 5/155.

Section 155 allows a policyholder to recover its reasonable attorney fees, other costs, plus an amount not to exceed any one of the following amounts:

(a) 60% of the amount which the court or jury finds such party is entitled to recover against the company, exclusive of all costs;
(b) $60,000;
(c) the excess of the amount which the court or jury finds such party is entitled to recover, exclusive of costs, over the amount, if any, which the company offered to pay in settlement of the claim prior to the action.

DISCLAIMER:   While our firm has had success  for many clients, all cases are decided on their own merits.  Judges and juries decide the outcome of cases, not lawyers.  This blog post is not legal advice and should not be relied on by anyone as legal advice in their particular situation.  Furthermore, while DeBlasio & Gower welcomes communications via its website, please be aware that communicating any information to DeBlasio & Gower LLC or any of its attorneys through its web site or via any other method without a formal engagement with the Firm does not constitute or create an attorney-client relationship between you (or any other users, senders or recipients) and DeBlasio & Gower  LLC or any of its attorneys.   Thank you.