Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Jan. 7, 2015, 7:48am

The first jury verdict of 2015 was returned on Tuesday in favor of defendant Lueders Ross Agency in Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge’s courtroom.

The two day trial began on Monday and reached verdict by 10:35 the next morning.

The plaintiffs, Eureka Hampton and Rufis Jefferson, filed their two-count complaint in February 2012, alleging they purchased insurance coverage from Lueders but were denied their claim after an October 2009 fire destroyed their home and personal contents at 2416 Adams St. in Granite City.

The plaintiffs alleged that when they initially applied for the insurance policy, they answered several questions over the phone in order to secure a policy through Allied, the insurer represented by the agency.

However, the insurer denied their claim when Hampton and Jefferson applied for aid following the fire, saying they had not truthfully responded to all of the questions on their policy application, the complaint alleged.

The plaintiffs argued that Lueders failed to ask them all of the necessary questions to complete the application, specifically whether they had filed for bankruptcy or been convicted of any felony.

Lueders, on the other hand, argued that Hampton knew co-applicant Jefferson was a convicted felon and acknowledged that she, too, was a convicted felon.

Furthermore, the plaintiffs were tenants at the property and were subject to a lease with a purchase option at the time of the fire.

“The only equitable interest the plaintiffs would have in the home is the credits they earned pursuant to the terms of the lease. Having no other equitable interest in the home, plaintiffs may not make claim for any other dwelling coverages available under the policy at issue,” the defendant stated in its prior request for summary judgment from May 12, 2012.

The plaintiffs sought a judgment of more than $100,000.

Edward T. McCarthy of McCarty and Allen in Edwardsville represented the plaintiff.

Edward L. Adelman of Goffstein, Raskas, Pomerantz, Kraus & Sherman, LLC represented the defendant.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 12-L-252

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