Our Arson and Fraud Practice Group has, for over 30 years, been involved in the investigation and defense of fraudulent and exaggerated insurance claims. Practice Group attorneys have served as Cook County Bomb and Arson prosecutors, Chairman of the State Arson Advisory Committee, Members of the Illinois State Arson Award Committee, Governor’s Fire Advisory Commission, Illinois Committee on Arson Prevention, Illinois Fire Investigator Strike Force, National Society of Professional Insurance Investigators and International Society of Special Investigators. These positions reflect the experience and skill of firm attorneys as well as an awareness of the value and need for public and industry service. Arson and Fraud Practice Group attorneys regularly serve as panelists in industry programs and trainers at S.I.U. meetings.
A sound case can be established in an early and thorough site investigation, document collection, financial investigation, interviews and examinations under oath. Firm attorneys are experienced in the utilization and management of these claim investigative tools. Hands-on experience and interaction with fire cause and origin investigators, S.I.U. personnel, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, police and fire investigators, FBI and ATF agents, provides the requisite information and cooperation for the full development of available claim defenses and litigation support. The following partial list identifies several of the firm’s recent successful jury verdicts against fraudulent claims:
Successful verdict in an arson jury trial and $500,000 judgment against the insured under Illinois’ Insurance Fraud Statute;
- Voluntarily dismissal of plaintiff/insured complaint in the middle of an arson jury trial after liquor store owner and manager were severely impeached by their own examination under oath testimony and the prospects of insurer recovery on fraud counterclaims increased;
- Successful verdict in a residential arson case where the homeowner’s cat died in the fire. The jury also returned a verdict in favor of the insurer for money damages on the insurer’s counterclaim for amounts paid to the homeowners’ mortgagee;
- Successful verdict in a residential arson case despite the homeowner’s alibi that she was out of town at the time of the fire. The homeowner had declared bankruptcy 18 months prior to the fire and the vast discrepancy between the homeowner’s list of personal property in the bankruptcy petition with the list of personal property submitted to the insurer established fraud by the homeowner;
- Successful verdict in an arson case against the owner of a multi-occupancy commercial building, where owner’s son was identified as having left the building shortly before the fire;
- Successful verdict in a case brought by a manufacturer, where a manager over-valued tools and equipment stolen in a burglary;
- Successful verdict in an arson case brought by a tavern owner who lied about the contents in the tavern and was identified as the last person to exit the premises before the fire was discovered;
- Successful verdict in a fraud case brought by a retail store owner who exaggerated an inventory claim;
- Successful verdict in a residential arson case where the cause, an apparent Molotov cocktail, was shown at trial to have been a set fire from the interior, by the insured;
- Successful verdict in an arson case involving a restaurant fire in which the insureds used on-site liquor to fuel the fire; and,
- Successful verdict in an arson case involving a restaurant in which the insureds disconnected gas lines and alleged an accidental gas explosion.