Appeals Court Caps Insurance Liability in 2003 Porch Collapse

By Paul Biasco on January 17, 2013 10:04am 

 Aftermath of the 2003 Lincoln Park porch collapse in the 700 block of West Wrightwood Avenue.
Aftermath of the 2003 Lincoln Park porch collapse in the 700 block of West Wrightwood Avenue.
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Wikimedia Commons/Albertoaldana

LINCOLN PARK — Nearly 10 years after a 2003 porch collapse killed 13 people and injured dozens more, victims and relatives have lost their appeal to double the amount an insurance company must pay them.

A state appellate court confirmed last week a lower court's earlier ruling limiting First Specialty Insurance Corp.'s liability to $1 million over the fatal collapse in the 700 block of West Wrightwood Avenue on June 23, 2003.

A group of more than 40 victims and representatives of those who died in the collapse had filed an appeal seeking to raise the liability limit to $2 million. The insurance company has already paid the victims the $1 million.

More than 50 people were injured when the wooden porch on the third story of the three-flat collapsed into the second-floor porch, which also collapsed, trapping dozens of victims who had been attending a party.

The group's suit argued the policy's aggregate limit of $2 million should have applied because there was no way of proving a single event caused the injuries and deaths.

The joint group of victims had settled the consolidated cases for $16.6 million, which included $1 million from First Specialty Insurance Corp., the primary insurance carrier, $15 million from the excess insurance carrier and $600,000 from the building owner personally. The appeal sought to raise the limit from First Specialty to $2 million.

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