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Putzbach v. Allstate Insurance Co.

OPINION FILED JUNE 5, 1986.

LAURA PUTZBACH, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. S. Bruce Scidmore, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE REINHARD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied July 7, 1986.

Plaintiff, Laura Putzbach, brought this complaint for declaratory judgment against defendant, Allstate Insurance Company, requesting the circuit court of Du Page County to declare the rights and liabilities of the parties relative to the uninsured motorist provisions under a specified automobile insurance policy issued to the plaintiff's father. Plaintiff had previously been paid the $15,000 limit under the uninsured motorist provisions of a separate policy where she was the named insured. Defendant filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 110, par. 2-615(e)) contending that plaintiff could not "stack" the uninsured motorist provisions of both policies because various provisions of her father's policy specifically denied multiple coverage. Following the denial of defendant's motion, the trial court granted plaintiff's oral motion for judgment on the pleadings and found that her father's policy provided uninsured motorist coverage to her up to the $15,000 limit.

The issue on appeal is whether plaintiff is entitled to stack insurance coverage under the uninsured motorist provision of her father's policy which contains "limits of liability" and "other insurance" sections which defendant contends precludes the stacking of uninsured motorist coverages.

The facts in this case are not in dispute. On June 2, 1981, plaintiff was injured while riding as a passenger on an uninsured motor vehicle (a motorcycle) which was involved in a "one-car" accident. At the time of the accident, plaintiff was the named insured under an automobile insurance policy written by defendant. Additionally, plaintiff, as a resident relative in the same household, was an unnamed insured under a policy also written by defendant for plaintiff's father. Each policy provided for uninsured motorist coverage in the maximum amount of $15,000 per person, and plaintiff's policy further provided for $5,000 medical payments coverage. Plaintiff made a claim pursuant to her policy, and defendant paid to her $4,231.60 for medical expenses and $15,000 for her uninsured motorist limits pursuant to her policy. Plaintiff then made a demand, as a resident member of her father's household, for payment under the uninsured motorist coverage of her father's policy which was denied by defendant. There is no dispute that plaintiff was covered by both policies. Defendant took the position that certain provisions of these two policies clearly and unambiguously limit the total uninsured motorist benefits payable under the policies to the $15,000 already paid.

The insurance policy issued to plaintiff's father which is at issue here contains two provisions in part V of the policy (uninsured motorist insurance coverage) which defendant maintains preclude the stacking of uninsured motorist coverage, as follows:

"Limits of Liability

The coverage limit stated on the declarations page for:

(1) `each person' is the total limit for all damages arising out of bodily injury to one person in any one motor vehicle accident.

(2) `each accident' is the total limit for all damages arising out of bodily injury to two or more persons in any one motor vehicle accident.

The uninsured motorists limits apply to each insured auto as stated on the declarations page. This means the insuring of more than one person or auto under this or other auto policies will not increase our uninsured motorists limit of liability beyond the amount shown for any one auto, even though a separate premium is charged for each auto.

Damages payable will be reduced by:

(1) All amounts paid by the owner or operator of the uninsured auto or anyone else responsible. This includes all sums paid under the bodily injury liability coverage of this or any other auto policy.

(2) All amounts payable under any workers compensation law, disability benefits law, or similar law, Personal Medical Payments, or any similar ...


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