Insurance company alleges it is not required to defend Carbondale in man's suit over vehicle seizure

By Carrie Bradon | Jun 13, 2019

BENTON —An insurance company alleges it is not liable to provide coverage for the City of Carbondale in a man's lawsuit claiming his vehicle should not have been seized after he was ticketed for driving under the influence of alcohol. 

Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company filed a complaint on May 29 in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Illinois against City of Carbondale and Kody G. Leehy, alleging no coverage under the policy’s E&O Coverage, Law Enforcement Liability Coverage, CGL Coverage, Business Auto Coverage, excess liability coverage.

The suit states that Leehy filed a lawsuit against the City of Carbondale alleging he was the owner of a 2007 BMW that was seized and impounded by the Carbondale Police on Feb. 3, 2018. Leehy was allegedly charged with driving under the influence of alcohol when the BMW was seized. He paid $400 to recover his vehicle. 

Leehy alleges the police officers were acting under the authority of the Carbondale Ordinance that allowed for the impounding of vehicles due to certain acts. He claims the seizure and impounding of his vehicle was unconstitutional. 

Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company alleges it is under no obligation to either defend or indemnify the City of Carbondale in Leehy's complaint. The plaintiff alleges it is only obligated to provide coverage in situations that constitute damages to which the insurance applies, such as in cases resulting from the ownership, maintenance or use of a vehicle. 

Because Leehy's lawsuit does not allege that any injury or damage sustained came directly or indirectly from law enforcement activity, the plaintiff claims the policy does not apply. 

The plaintiff is seeking a declaration stating that the plaintiff has no obligation to provide coverage Carbondale in connection with the Leehy lawsuit. The plaintiff is represented by Christopher J. Bannon and Daniel J. Berkowitz of Aaron, Golgehn, David & Garmisa in Chicago.

U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Illinois case number 3:19-CV-00556

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