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Illinois Attorneys Prevail for Insurance Broker Client Against Gymnast

Chicago Partner Cole G. Dunnick and Attorney Tayler M. Belinske obtained dismissal with prejudice of negligent procurement claims at the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court in Lake County, Illinois, on behalf of our insurance broker client.

In this personal injury matter, Plaintiff was a rhythmic gymnast who allegedly suffered a hip injury while training at a gymnastics facility in 2016. As a result of her injury, Plaintiff underwent a hip transplant ending her gymnastics career. In 2020, Plaintiff filed suit against the gymnastics facility, alleging the facility’s training practices proximately caused her hip injury. The gymnastics facility tendered the claim to its insurer who denied indemnity coverage because the facility’s students and participants were specifically excluded from coverage. Plaintiff then amended her complaint to claim our client negligently procured the facility’s insurance coverage, which excluded their students and participants from coverage. Plaintiff argued she was a direct intended beneficiary, which gave her standing to bring the negligent procurement claim against our client. In addition, Plaintiff argued that our client owed her a duty to obtain coverage that would have provided her coverage, and also that the Court should apply the “discovery rule” to toll the two-year statute of limitations applicable to claims against insurance producers.

Cole and Tayler argued that there was no relationship between Plaintiff and our client that imposed any duty on our client. Our attorneys also argued that Plaintiff lacked standing to bring her claim against our client because she was never a direct, intended beneficiary of the policy. In addition, Cole and Tayler contended that even if Plaintiff had standing or any special duty existed, her claims were time barred by Section 13/214.4 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure. (735 ILCS 5/13-214.4).

In January 2023, the court agreed with our attorneys’ briefs and oral arguments, and dismissed Plaintiff’s claims against our client with prejudice.

Cole focuses his practice in the areas of premises liability, complex commercial litigation, toxic tort, product liability, catastrophic personal injury and professional malpractice. He currently serves as national counsel for a major consumer goods manufacturer for products liability and toxic tort matters.

Tayler concentrates her practice on general liability, business litigation, medical professional liability and workers’ compensation cases. She has experience handling all aspects of the litigation process, from pleadings and motions to discovery and depositions, as well as assisting with trial preparation.