Jenner & Block

Firm Secures Dismissal of Broker Negligence Complaint Against Aon

Jenner & Block Partners Craig C. Martin and April A. Otterberg secured dismissal on behalf of two subsidiaries of Aon plc of a complaint alleging professional negligence with respect to Aon’s services as a broker of trade credit insurance.  Plaintiff Acer America Corporation (Acer) alleged that Aon negligently failed to procure a trade credit insurance policy for Acer that would have provided coverage for preference claims filed against Acer by bankrupt former customers.  Acer sought to hold Aon liable for the losses it allegedly incurred after settling a preference claim filed by one of its former customers, Circuit City, in which Circuit City’s bankruptcy trustee sought to recoup millions in payments that Circuit City made to Acer immediately preceding Circuit City’s November 2008 bankruptcy filing.  Acer settled with Circuit City in June 2014 and sued Aon in May 2016.

On February 27, 2017, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Patrick Sherlock dismissed Acer’s claims against Aon, with prejudice, as barred by Illinois’ two-year statute of limitations for broker negligence claims.  The court rejected Acer’s argument that its claims accrued when it paid money to settle the Circuit City preference claim, holding, instead, that Acer’s claims accrued far earlier given Acer’s apparent knowledge of the alleged lack of insurance coverage long before Acer made the settlement payment to Circuit City.  Judge Sherlock wrote that “appellate courts have drawn a bright line which this Court is bound to follow,” under which “the statute of limitations runs when the duty is breached, not when the damages are sustained.”