Patterson Law Firm Turns Defeat Into Victory

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Aquarius Institute of Computer Sciences Inc. v. State Farm Insurance and Casualty Company, Case No. 05 L 003170, Circuit Court of Cook County, Law Division

Turning defeat into victory, the Patterson Law Firm won an insurance coverage jury verdict for $534,000 in Cook County on June 16, 2011. The case [Aquarius Institute of Computer Sciences Inc. v. State Farm Insurance and Casualty Company, Case No. 05 L 003170, Circuit Court of Cook County, Law Division] involved a computer school that was burglarized in July, 2003. The assets affected by the burglary represented 50-70% of the revenue-producing assets of the school. The school’s owner claimed breach of contract against his insurance company for property loss, repairs to the premises, extra expenses incurred in trying to resume operations and business income loss.

Although it admitted coverage that a loss occurred, and that the stolen equipment and software was worth at least $137,000, the insurance company denied coverage and refused to pay anything for the claim. It maintained that the computer school was not entitled to any payment under the policy because the school’s owner allegedly misrepresented or concealed material facts during the intense eight month insurance investigation. In May 2010, the school, still having received no compensation from the insurance company and unable to revive the classes that were cancelled due to the burglary, took the case to trial. The insurance company won, and the computer school was left with nothing.

After its loss at trial, the computer school retained the Patterson Law Firm, LLC. The firm wrote a post-trial motion seeking a new trial. After full briefing and argument, the trial judge granted a new trial. The firm then defeated the insurance company’s petition for leave to appeal that decision. At the new jury trial, the school obtained a jury verdict of $534,000, including $235,163 for the equipment the insurance company had valued at $137,000. The verdict included compensation for all losses claimed: business income loss, lost equipment and software, building repairs and extra expenses incurred in trying to resume operations.

Kristi L. Browne, a Member of the Patterson Law Firm and the lead attorney on the case, says, “We feel vindicated. The jury was able to reach a fair verdict that’s been a long time coming.” With her on the case were Christine Rosso and Kathryn Walker.

About the Patterson Law Firm, LLC
Started by Thomas E. Patterson with eight clients in April, 2000, the Patterson Law Firm now has ten lawyers and over 300 clients. The firm concentrates its practice in emergency business litigation and other business lawsuits, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. The firm is located in downtown Chicago in the historic One North LaSalle Street building.


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Kristi Browne
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