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Qualls v. Country Mutual Insurance Co.

OPINION FILED APRIL 30, 1984.

LOREN QUALLS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

COUNTRY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT (ROBERT DONALDSON ET AL., INTERVENORS-APPELLEES).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Macoupin County; the Hon. John W. Russell, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE MILLER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied May 25, 1984.

The question presented by this appeal is whether a carpenter's general liability insurance policy provides him with coverage against a claim arising from work that he performed in an allegedly unworkmanlike manner. The carpenter, Loren Qualls, was hired by Mr. and Mrs. Donaldson to construct a new house to what the parties refer to as the "blacked-in" stage. Unhappy with the work, the Donaldsons sued Qualls for breach of contract and breach of warranty. Qualls' insurer, Country Mutual, denied him coverage, so Qualls brought this action for a declaratory judgment, seeking a construction of the policy and a declaration of his rights under it; the Donaldsons intervened in behalf of Qualls. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment, and the circuit court held that the insurance policy provided "coverage for damages for work performed in an unworkmanlike manner." Country Mutual appeals, and we reverse.

Qualls and the Donaldsons made their agreement in September 1977 for $26,000. A year later the Donaldsons filed suit, alleging that Qualls had breached the agreement, and specified 19 ways in which he either had done the work poorly or had failed to follow the blueprints and other plans. The Donaldsons alleged six separate injuries:

There is a sag in the house, the walls having missed the piers;

The house leaked and continues to leak;

The footings and walls are severely cracked;

The house has never been completed to the stage agreed upon;

The house has no basement floor;

The appearance of the house materially varies from the blueprints and plans."

The complaint went on to allege that the Donaldsons had advanced Qualls about $23,000 — notwithstanding their original agreement that the price would be due upon completion — that costly repairs would be required yet would fail to bring the house into conformity with the Donaldsons' expectations, and that the condition of the house had delayed the Donaldsons' occupancy of it.

The Donaldsons later added a second count to their complaint, alleging that Qualls breached the implied warranty that he would perform the agreement in a workmanlike manner. The second count is identical to the first in all other respects and alleges the same acts in breach and the same injuries.

Under the insurance policy in question Qualls paid for coverage for liability for bodily injury and property damage in two broad areas: the manufacturers' and contractors' liability insurance coverage part and the completed operations and products liability insurance coverage part. These may require some explanation. Manufacturers' and contractors' coverage protects the insured's premises and work in progress; completed operations and products coverage, of concern here, protects the insured from liability arising out of his operation and productions after he has finished or abandoned his work. Hawkeye Security Insurance Co. v. Hodorowicz (1980), 84 Ill. App.3d 948, 406 N.E.2d 146.

The dispute here centers on several of the exclusions to the completed operations and products part. The ...


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