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Miller v. Madison County Mut. Auto. Ins. Co.

MARCH 2, 1964.

GENEVA MILLER, PLAINTIFF,

v.

MADISON COUNTY MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, A CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County; the Hon. JAMES O. MONROE, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

WRIGHT, JUSTICE.

This is an action on a contract of insurance brought by the plaintiff, Geneva Miller, against the defendant, Madison County Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, to collect a $25,000 judgment in favor of the plaintiff against one Bonita M. Sparks. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint and the trial court granted the motion and dismissed the complaint, and entered a judgment that plaintiff take nothing by her suit and that defendant go hence without day. Plaintiff appeals from this order.

The complaint alleges that on August 7, 1957, the defendant issued and delivered to Thomas E. Miller, 111 East Fourth Street, Hartford, Illinois, its policy of insurance, No. RP16154590, covering a 1957 Chevrolet automobile; that on December 10, 1957, while the policy was in full force and effect, Bonita M. Sparks was driving the said 1957 Chevrolet with the permission of Thomas E. Miller on U.S. Highway No. 66 in St. Louis County, Missouri; that at the time and place plaintiff was a passenger in said automobile which was involved in an accident and plaintiff was seriously injured; that on October 8, 1958, the plaintiff brought suit against Bonita M. Sparks in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, charging Bonita M. Sparks with negligent conduct in the operation of the 1957 Chevrolet; that Bonita M. Sparks demanded that the defendant defend said suit and that defendant refused to participate in the litigation; that the suit was called for hearing on March 14, 1960, and after hearing evidence, the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis entered a judgment in favor of the plaintiff against Bonita M. Sparks in the sum of $25,000 and costs; that the defendant had the duty to defend the said Bonita M. Sparks and is liable for the damages recovered, and that defendant has failed and refused to defend the said Bonita M. Sparks or to pay the amount of the judgment entered against her.

Defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint, supported by an affidavit, stated that on December 10, 1957, plaintiff was married to Thomas E. Miller and resided with Thomas E. Miller at 111 East Fourth Street, Hartford, Illinois, and that plaintiff was the natural mother of Bonita M. Sparks.

The question presented on this appeal is whether or not the insurance afforded by Coverage (c) in the policy applies to injuries sustained by the plaintiff, who was admittedly the wife of the named insured, and residing in his household at the time of the alleged injury.

The provisions of the policy pertinent to the question here presented are:

"INSURING AGREEMENTS

"I COVERAGE C — BODILY INJURY LIABILITY. To pay on behalf of the insured all sums which the insured shall become legally obligated to pay as damages because of bodily injury, sickness or disease, including death at any time resulting therefrom, sustained by any person, caused by accident and arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of the automobile. . . .

"II DEFENSE, SETTLEMENT, SUPPLEMENTARY PAYMENTS — It is further agreed that as respects the insurance afforded by this policy,

"(a) Under Coverages C and D the company shall

"(1) defend in his name and behalf any suit against the insured alleging such injury or destruction and seeking damages on account thereof; even if such suit is groundless, false or fraudulent; . . .

"III DEFINITION OF `INSURED.' The unqualified word `insured' wherever used in Coverages C and D and other parts of this policy, when applicable to such coverages, includes not only the named insured, but also any person while operating the automobile, provided the operation of same is with the express or implied permission of the named insured.

"The insurance provided by this section does not apply under Coverages C and D.

"(a) for injuries to persons or property suffered by any person who at the time of said loss or injury, is an insured hereunder, or is a member of an insured's immediate family, or who resides in the same household ...


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