Roggensack sole dissenter on 'harsh on the consumer' insurance law decision.


Byline: Michaela Paukner,

Chief Justice Patience Roggensack was the sole dissenter this week in a Wisconsin Supreme Court insurance-law decision she called "harsh on the consumer."

The high courtreleased its decision in Emer's Camper Corral v. Michael A. Alderman on Thursday. Emer's, a Fitchburg seller of camper trailers, sued Alderman, its insurance agent, after alleging heowed it $120,000 because he had promiseda better insurance policy than what he had provided.

Alderman told Camper Corral he had obtained a policy with a $1,000 deductible per camper for hail damage and a $5,000 aggregate deductible limit for the 2013-14 policy year. However, the policy Alderman actually obtained required a $5,000 per camper deductible and had no aggregate limit.

Camper Corral incurred $125,000 in hail damage to 25 campers in September 2014. It was only then that Rhonda Emer, one of the owners of Camper Corral, discovered the actual terms of the company's insurance policy.

The company sued Alderman, claiming he breached his duty of care. The complaint alleged he was liable in the amount of $120,000 the difference between the deductible Camper Corral paid for the damage and the $5,000 aggregate deductible the company believed it had.

The circuit court granted Alderman a motion for a directed verdict challenging the causal connection between Camper Corral's damages and Alderman's failure to obtain an insurance policy with the desired terms. The Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling, arguing that no credible evidence introduced at trial showed that Camper Corral could have obtained a deductible lower than $5,000.

Camper Corral then petitioned the state Supreme Court to review whether it had to prove both that the insurance policy with the requested deductibles was commercially on offer and whether the insurer would have actually written the policy forCamper Corral.

The state Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals decision on Thursday. Thejustices held that commercial availability is insufficient to establish causation, meaning Camper Corral couldn't prevail without also proving it would have qualified for an...

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