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Court refuses to dismiss golf course operator’s suit against Willis

Willis Towers Watson

A federal district court has refused to dismiss litigation filed by a golf course operator against Willis Towers Watson U.S. LLC in connection with coverage litigation filed against it and American International Group Inc. unit over Hurricane Harvey damage, stating a ruling is premature.

The U.S. District Court in Dallas said it is too early to determine whether the litigation should be filed in Illinois rather than Texas, according to Wednesday’s ruling in C-Bons International Golf Group Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Co., Willis Towers Watson U.S. LLC, and Willis of Illinois Inc.

Gilbert, Arizona-based C-Bons contended it sustained more than $31 million in damage from August 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, according to the ruling. 

AIG unit Lexington, however, paid C-Bons only $2.5 million, which it said was the maximum coverage under the policy because all the damage was done by “flooding,” which was not covered under its policy. It subsequently paid an additional $242,023 for wind damage.

C-Bons contended, however, it was entitled to full damages of up to $75 million caused by a named storm. It filed suit against Lexington as well as Willis, charging the broker had misrepresented to it that it was fully covered for the type of loss sustained, according to the ruling.

Willis filed a motion to dismiss the litigation in Texas, stating that under the choice-of-law provision applicable to the claims at issue, the case should be heard in Illinois, where its unit is based.

C-Bons argued the choice-of-law provision was part of a proposal, not an agreement, and is unenforceable, and that even if it was enforceable, it “actually supports the application of Texas law.”

The court said it would not rule on the issue at this time. “The Court believes that the conflict-of-law issue would be better addressed in the context of a more developed record and summary judgment motion,” said the court, in denying Willis’ motion to dismiss the litigation.

C-Bons’ attorney had no comment, while Willis’ attorney could not be reached.









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