Chicago Team Secures Unanimous Grant of Summary Judgment for Star Insurance Company

In an appeal to the California Fourth Appellate District, Christopher Barth and Hugh Balsam (both of Chicago) secured a unanimous grant of summary judgment for Star Insurance Company (a subsidiary of the former Meadowbrook Insurance Group, Inc. n/k/a AmeriTrust Group, Inc.). In the lower court, the plaintiff had asserted that Star Insurance Company was obligated to pay millions in claimed damages resulting from a forest fire triggered by the crash of an insured Cessna P210 aircraft. The Locke Lord team argued the deceased pilot failed to comply with the insurance policy’s requirement of annual training in this type of aircraft, and therefore there was no coverage. The trial court granted summary judgment.

The California Fourth Appellate District found Star Insurance Company had properly met its burden in moving for summary judgment, shifting the burden to the plaintiff, who could not prove compliance with the annual training requirement. The April 8, 2019, decision is Locke Lord’s second appellate decision in favor of the client arising out of the 2011 plane crash. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued the first in a separate federal court action.
Posted on April 23, 2019