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Madison County Mutual Ins. Co. v. Goodpasture

FEBRUARY 9, 1971.

MADISON COUNTY MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

MARY GOODPASTURE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Madison County; the Hon. I.H. STEEPER, III, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE EBERSPACHER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiff, an automobile insurer, filed its complaint for declaratory judgment on December 4, 1968, and the trial court entered its judgment of June 20, 1969, in favor of plaintiff. Defendant, the named insured on the insurance policy in question, has brought this appeal.

On April 11, 1965, defendant was riding as a passenger in her 1964 Thunderbird automobile which was being operated with her permission by John Wright. An accident occurred and defendant suffered personal injuries. At the time of the accident there was in effect an automobile insurance policy written by plaintiff covering the automobile owned by defendant and naming her as the insured.

On September 17, 1965, defendant brought a personal injury action against the driver, John Wright. Plaintiff then commenced the first of three declaratory judgment actions. The first was to determine whether the liability coverage of the policy covered the claim of defendant against the driver and whether the plaintiff owed a duty of defense to the driver.

Judgment was entered on July 28, 1966, in the first declaratory judgment action and the court held:

"1. Madison County Mutual Automobile Insurance Company does not owe a duty to John Wright nor does it have an obligation to defend him in case No. 65-V-665 or in any other case arising from claims brought against John Wright or any other person by May Goodpasture for property damage and personal injuries allegedly sustained by her and resulting from the mishap of on or about April 11, 1965, at which time John Wright was operating a 1964 Thunderbird automobile owned by Mary Goodpasture, the named insured under Policy No. RP18-245-432.

2. Madison County Mutual Automobile Insurance Company does not by virtue of its policy No. RP18-245-432 afford bodily injury liability and property damage liability insurance coverage to John Wright or to Mary Goodpasture on or about April 11, 1965, as a result of an automobile mishap involving her 1964 Thunderbird operated by John Wright, nor is said company liable under said policy to Mary Goodpasture for her said alleged personal injuries and property damage under coverages C and D of said policy."

No appeal was taken from this judgment.

On March 10, 1967, plaintiff filed its second declaratory judgment action to determine whether the insured motorist coverage of the policy afforded coverage to defendant for her claim. On April 16, 1968, the trial court entered its opinion in which it refused to determine the question. No appeal was taken from this judgment.

On or about October 16, 1968, the defendant filed her claim for arbitration under the uninsured motorist coverage of the policy. On October 31, 1968, plaintiff filed an application in the trial court for a stay of arbitration proceedings. On November 14, 1968, the trial court entered an order staying the arbitration proceedings and allowing plaintiff leave to file a complaint for declaratory judgment to determine the question of uninsured motorist coverage.

On December 4, 1968, the third complaint for declaratory judgment was filed. The case was determined on the pleadings and stipulated facts. The trial court rendered its opinion on June 20, 1969, in which it held that:

"1. Madison County Mutual Automobile Insurance Company does not by virtue of its policy No. RP18-245-432 afford uninsured automobile coverage to Mary Goodpasture for her claim of alleged personal injuries which occurred on April 11, 1965, as a result of an automobile mishap involving a certain 1964 Ford automobile insured by said policy.

2. Coverage F [uninsured motorist coverage] of said policy does not apply to the said claim for personal injuries of Mary ...


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