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Illinois: Insurance Company Refuses To Cover Illegal Red Light Camera Program
Red light camera trap in Crestwood, Illinois is so extreme that the village insurance company refuses to reimburse the city for lawsuit damages.

Catlin and Crestwood logos
Catlin Indemnity Company does not want to be responsible the massive legal liability created by the red light camera program in Crestwood, Illinois. The village and its for-profit vendor created a controversial automated trap that generated $3 million, but now motorists are fighting back. Caitlin filed a lawsuit earlier this month asking a judge to declare it free from liability in this case.

As the village's insurance company, Catlin would ordinarily reimburse Crestwood for the losses suffered in a legal action. Because of the village's conduct, however, Caitlin argues that it will not pick up the tab if the town loses the recently filed lawsuit blasting the use of cameras to issue automated tickets to vehicles making right hand turns at the intersection of Cicero Avenue and Cal Sag Road. The lawsuit notes that there is no signal or sign telling people in the turn lane to stop -- the traffic signal only applies to straight through traffic.

Catlin points to the terms of the insurance policy which state that there will be no coverage for "wrongful acts" related to "any aspect of law enforcement activities or operations." Catlin also notes that Crestwood calls its automated ticketing machines an "Automated Traffic Law Enforcement System," and, as such, claims arising from the camera program will not be covered under the municipal liability policy.

"Coverage may be barred in whole or in part based on the exclusion for 'fraudulent, dishonest malicious, criminal or intentional wrongful acts or omissions' set forth in the Section IB 11 of the Public Entity Liability Coverage Part," Catlin's attorney, Gerald E. Ziebell, explained.

Catlin is asking a federal judge to declare that the firm has no liability for covering the potentially intentional acts of Crestwood.

"Except for the limited obligation under the non-monetary defense costs endorsement to pay reasonable fees and costs incurred by the village in connection with the underlying lawsuit, Catlin owes no other coverage, including defense or indemnity, with respect to the underlying lawsuit," Ziebell argued.

In April, 69 percent of voters in nearby Merrionette Park voted to dump red light cameras.

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