This is an important decision of the Illinois Supreme Court in which it held that ISBA Mutual (the legal malpractice insurer for many lawyers in Illinois) could rescind a policy where one partner of a firm falsely responded to a question on the renewal application.
Although ISBA Mutual is the insurer for most Illinois lawyers it is also highly litigious, often bringing coverage lawsuits against lawyers based on their answers to questions in the renewal application. Legal malpractice policies are claims made policies under which the insurer agrees to insure the lawyer or law firm (or both) for any claims made during a one-year period. The insurer typically sends a questionnaire to the lawyer in which it requests that the lawyer identify any claims that are outstanding or have not been reported to the insurer. In the case, the parties alleged that a former client named Colleta had a legal malpractice claim against Tuzzolino. The opinion’s summary is as follows: