Olivet Baptist Church v. Church Mutual Insurance Compa
Filed Nonprecedential Disposition PER CURIAM. AFFIRMED. Joel M. Flaum, Circuit Judge; Frank H. Easterbrook, Circuit Judge and Diane S. Sykes, Circuit Judge. [6811408-1]  [16-1689]
To be cited only in accordance with Fed. R. App. P. 32.1
United States Court of Appeals
For the Seventh Circuit
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Argued January 11, 2017
Decided January 13, 2017
JOEL M. FLAUM, Circuit Judge
FRANK H. EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judge
DIANE S. SYKES, Circuit Judge
Appeal from the United
States District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois,
No. 13 C 1625
Gary Scott Feinerman, Judge.
OLIVET BAPTIST CHURCH,
CHURCH MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY,
Church Mutual issued a policy to Olivet Baptist Church, which contends that it suf-‐‑
fered wind and rain damage from a storm on March 1, 2011, the day after the policy
went into effect. The insurer concluded that the damage predated the policy and de-‐‑
clined to pay the claim. This litigation, under the diversity jurisdiction, followed.
The district court entered summary judgment for the insurer, ruling that the Church
had failed to show that weather on March 1 caused damage or made existing damage
worse. 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 245294 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 29, 2016). The district court treated
most of the insurer’s factual submissions as unopposed, because the Church failed to
contest them in the form required by Local Rule 56.1(b). We have held that the district
court is entitled to enforce that rule in precisely the way it enforced the rule in this liti-‐‑
gation. See, e.g., Flint v. Belvidere, 791 F.3d 764, 767 (7th Cir. 2015); Stevo v. Frasor, 662
F.3d 880, 886–87 (7th Cir. 2011); Ciomber v. Cooperative Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635 (7th Cir.
2008). Yet the Church’s appellate brief ignores those decisions, even though the district
judge cited them. Indeed, it ignores the local rule and does not mention the principal
reason the Church lost in the district court. The Church’s reply brief continues to ignore
the rule, though the Church does ask us to bypass the subject “in light of all principles
of equity and justice.” That approach is doomed. An appellant must engage head on the
reasons it lost in the district court. It cannot hope that the issues will go away. We have
held that district courts may enforce their local rules on how the summary-‐‑judgment
process is structured. No more need be said to resolve this appeal.
Bending over backward, the district court looked at the expert reports submitted by
the Church, just to assure itself that no injustice was being committed. It found that one
of the Church’s expert witnesses had not presented any opinion on the vital causation
question, and that the other expert, who first examined the property in 2015, lacked
both relevant experience and a reliable basis for concluding that events of March 1,
2011, had caused the damage. None of these conclusions is clearly erroneous or an
abuse of discretion.
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