In Delatorre v. Safeway Insurance Co., a passenger was injured in a motor vehicle collision and he sued the driver. The driver’s insurance policy contained a provision requiring the insurance company to defend the driver. The insurance company hired an attorney to defend the driver. Unfortunately, the insurer only had nominal, passive, and one-way communication with the attorney who did little to actually represent the driver in the case. Ultimately, a default judgment was entered against the driver in the amount of $250,000.
The driver then filed a lawsuit against his insurance company alleging that it breached its contractual duty to defend him. The insurance company argued that it had fulfilled its duty by hiring an attorney to represent the driver. The appellate court, however, determined that the insurance company failed to fulfill its contractual duty to defend the driver by failing to ascertain whether its insured as actually being defended by the attorney it retained. Therefore, the Appellate Court agreed with the driver and upheld the judgment in favor of the driver against the insurance company. To read the entire Illinois Appellate Court ruling from April 2013, click here.
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