Leahy, Eisenberg & Fraenkel is pleased to welcome Michelle Bracke as a Partner in the Firm’s Insurance Coverage Practice Group. Michelle joins the Firm after more than twenty-five years at large, national law firms, where she practiced in the area of insurance coverage, counseling and litigation.
Michelle’s practice focuses on advising insurers and litigating coverage matters in cases involving most types of policies and coverages, including professional liability, errors and omissions, first party coverages, fine art, general liability, automobile coverages, and policyholder misrepresentation and fraud. Michelle has litigated myriad coverage issues, in both federal and state venues countrywide, and has developed a wide-ranging catalogue of favorable decisions for insurers. Over her career, Michelle has developed strong industry relationships, not only from her work as an attorney, but also as an insurance company claim representative and broker, both in the United States and at Lloyds of London, London, England. Ms. Bracke is also a certified mediator. Michelle serves as a volunteer mediator at the Center for Conflict Resolution, where she mediates Cook County cases and handles private mediations.
Michelle’s hire is the latest in a series of prominent hires for the Firm. We look forward to building our future with Michelle.
Thomas Finn, Annalise Castner, and James Holevas successfully obtained a dismissal, with prejudice, of a highly-contested lawsuit filed against a national, multi-line, mutual insurance company. Following a partial roof collapse claim, the parties agreed to appraise the loss pursuant to the policy’s appraisal provision. After the appraisal panel made an award for construction damages, rent loss and lost business income, the insurer paid the remaining balance owed, per the appraisal award. Following the appraisal, however, the insured subsequently filed suit against the insurer, arguing that it was entitled to additional funds from the insurer for alleged breach of contract, vexatious and unreasonable delay, claimed bad faith refusal to settle, and common-law and statutory fraud. LEF convinced the court that the insured’s claims for breach of contract damages, vexatious and unreasonable delay and statutory damagesmust be dismissed because the insurer issued payment per the express terms of the policy’s appraisal provision. LEF further contended that insured’s claims for refusal to settle must also be dismissed because an insurer’s duty to settle in Illinois only arises in third-party claims, not first party claims. LEF also successfully argued that insured’s fraud claims failed to plead the requisite level of particularity and were not otherwise actionable as plead.
LEF successfully defended a treadmill manufacturer against a class action claim alleging misrepresentations of its motor power ratings, in which Plaintiffs demanded $42M and sought to certify a nationwide class. After defeating Plaintiffs’ motion for nationwide class certification, in favor of two single-state classes, Thomas A. Gamache negotiated a nationwide settlement for a $3.65M Common Fund and a $100 gift card. For comparison, a nearly identical action against a competitor manufacturer involving approximately half the number of class members was recently settled for a $4.25M Common Fund and a fitness app subscription valued at $150.
Leahy, Eisenberg & Fraenkel is pleased to announce that once again, Robert Ostojic has been included on the 2022 Illinois Super Lawyers® list. For more than a decade, Robert has been repeatedly selected as one of Illinois’ Super Lawyers (2011 - 2022).
Super Lawyers® is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Super Lawyers® selects attorneys using a rigorous, multiphase rating process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with third party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis.
Congratulations to Robert and all of the attorneys named to a 2022 Super Lawyers list.