Does Insurance Cover Injuries Arising Out of ''Wrongful Eviction'' ?
In Z.R.L. Corp. v. Great Central Insurance Co., 156 Ill. App. 3d 856, 858, 510 N.E.2d 102, 109 Ill. Dec. 481 (1987) the plaintiff insured filed a declaratory judgment action against the defendant insurer to determine rights and responsibilities under a liability insurance policy.
The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the insured, holding that the insurer had a duty to defend the insured in a federal lawsuit. Z.R.L., 156 Ill. App. 3d at 857.
The underlying lawsuit involved claims for racial discrimination against the insured which operated a club from which individuals had been forced to leave.
The personal injury liability provisions of the policy stated that the insurer would pay all sums for which the insured had become legally obligated to pay for injuries "arising out of an occurrence involving one or more of the following offenses: false arrest, malicious prosecution, detention, imprisonment, libel, slander, defamation of character, invasion of privacy, wrongful eviction or wrongful entry." Z.R.L., 156 Ill. App. 3d at 858.
The insured argued that the underlying action arose from a "wrongful eviction" from the club, but the insurer denied coverage. Z.R.L., 156 Ill. App. 3d at 858.
The Z.R.L. court affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment to the insured.
The court held that "wrongful eviction" included making a patron leave a restaurant and the court would not distinguish an insured's removal of a rowdy patron off of the premises from the removal of a patron for racial discrimination. Z.R.L., 156 Ill. App. 3d at 859.
The court also held that even if the meaning of "wrongful eviction" was ambiguous, the insured "should be deemed covered." Z.R.L., 156 Ill. App. 3d at 859.