Czapski v. Maher, et al., 954 N.E. 2d 237 (Ill. App.1st Dist. 2011)
Type of Case: Insurance Coverage
Practice Area(s): Insurance Coverage
Lawyer(s): Kurt M. Zitzer Thomas H. Crouch
Date: Aug 3 2011
The case involved the death of Mark Czapski, who was employed by Motor Werks as a car salesman. Mr. Czapski was killed when Christopher Maher, an individual test driving a Motor Werks BMW auto that was for sale, was involved in an automobile accident. Ms. Czapski was a passenger in the vehicle during the test drive. Mr. Maher was sued by the Czapski estate and sought coverage under the National Casualty policy claiming to be an insured under the policy.
National Casualty’s policy included an exclusion that stated customers are not insureds under the policy. The issue before the court was whether Mr. Maher was a customer and, consequently, not an insured under the policy. Maher and the plaintiff argued that “customer” was not defined within the policy and, therefore, was ambiguous and that customer should include someone who makes a purchase. Reversing the trial court’s finding of an ambiguity, the court held that a test driver of the vehicle is a customer within the common and ordinary meaning of the word, and that National Casualty did not owe a duty to indemnify Mr. Maher because he did not qualify as an insured.
Kurt Zitzer represented National Casualty before the trial court, and Tom Crouch and Kurt represented National Casualty on appeal.Back to Experience