Duebbert’s attorney moves for sanctions in dispute with insurer

By Record News | Jun 6, 2018

BELLEVILLE - St. Clair County Circuit Judge Ron Duebbert, whose motorcycle crashed in Florida last October, told his insurer that witnesses said he flew 150 feet and rolled 200 feet. 

A witness fainted when he stood up, according to a transcript of his interview with a representative of Progressive Northern Insurance. 

“I should be dead, is what everybody said,” Duebbert said. “They called me miracle man at the hospital.” 

He said a piece of tire from a truck flew into him. 

Progressive Northern filed the transcript in St. Clair County circuit court, in support of a claim that Duebbert’s policy didn’t cover the accident. 

The company sued him in March, after he filed a claim under a provision covering damage from an uninsured or under insured driver. 

Progressive Northern counsel Daniel Bradley and Brittany Warren, both of Belleville, wrote that his injury did not arise from being struck by an uninsured motorist or by an object that an uninsured motorist caused to strike him. 

They wrote that a court must declare the rights of the parties before arbitration. 

Duebbert retained Matthew Marlen of Belleville, who moved to dismiss or stay the action in April. 

Marlen quoted a statute on coverage for uninsured motorists and hit and run accidents, requiring arbitration on all matters but medical opinions. He wrote that any factual determinations made by the court would bind the parties in arbitration and could preclude Duebbert from litigating his claims. 

He called it putting the cart before the horse, and moved for sanctions, writing that Progressive Northern “apparently believes it can bulldoze its way over people, including its own insureds.” 

Bradley responded that debris had come to rest on the road, and Duebbert’s policy did not cover collisions with debris. 

He wrote that in Illinois, arbitration for uninsured motorist claims is limited to the uninsured motorist’s liability and the amount of the insured’s damages. He also wrote that Duebbert asked the court to require Progressive Northern to submit to arbitration where no coverage exists. 

He wrote that a groundless motion for sanctions is itself sanctionable. 

Bradley attached Duebbert’s interview, claiming it indicated he collided with debris. 

According to the transcript, Duebbert said, “A tractor trailer rig tire delaminated and flew out from the truck, I don’t know, 300 plus yards in front of me.” 

“Within a second it flew, was in the lane, and I hit it.” 

He said it was very large and it landed directly in front of him. 

“It came out, flew up, hit down, I was on it,” Duebbert said. 

He said the motorcycle flipped and propelled him into the air. 

“I flew, according to the people who talked to me, 150 feet or so and then I rolled another couple of hundred. 

“There was a man that thought he either did or could have run me over so he kept saying oh my God, I could have run him over. Maybe I ran him over. Is he dead? 

“And then I kind of ascertained that I had my pieces and parts but I also am familiar with people thinking they have everything but they don’t.” 

He said the best way to find out was to get up off the hot pavement. 

“That didn’t take more than five or six seconds and what he said was, oh my God he’s walking,” he said. “And then he literally fainted.” 

He said that at a hospital, “they thought they were going to get a guy in pieces.” 

“I said I’m happy, very happy that I survived this,” Duebbert said. 

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