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01/22/87 Samuel Redmond, v. John Devine

January 22, 1987

SAMUEL REDMOND, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

JOHN DEVINE, DEFENDANT (COMET CASUALTY COMPANY, INTERVENING, PETITIONER-APPELLEE)



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION

504 N.E.2d 138, 152 Ill. App. 3d 68, 105 Ill. Dec. 269 1987.IL.41

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Lester D. Foreman, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE LINN delivered the opinion of the court. McMORROW, P.J., and JIGANTI, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LINN, Plaintiff, Samuel Redmond, brings this appeal seeking reversal of two orders issued by the trial court in connection with his personal injury lawsuit.

Redmond filed his lawsuit after he suffered serious physical injuries when the vehicle he was driving collided with a parked auto being operated by defendant, John Devine. At the time of the accident (December 25, 1981) Devine carried auto liability insurance with Comet Casualty Company (Comet).

Although Devine was duly served with a copy of Redmond's complaint, Devine failed to answer and/or defend against the lawsuit. Accordingly, following a prove-up hearing, the trial court, on May 26, 1983, entered a default judgment in the sum of $985,000 against Devine and in favor of Redmond. Soon thereafter, Devine, as part of a settlement agreement, assigned any right he had (with regard to bringing a bad-faith, failure-to-defend action against his insurer, Comet) to Redmond. Redmond then instituted a separate and direct bad-faith action against Comet (Redmond, as Devine's assignee, v. Comet) seeking enforcement of the $985,000 default judgment rendered in favor of Redmond and against Devine, Comet's insured.

Comet became involved in this dispute following the entry of the default judgment against Devine. Upon learning of the default judgment, Comet immediately requested the trial court to allow Comet to intervene in the Redmond v. Devine lawsuit and, in addition, to set aside the $985,000 default judgment previously rendered against Devine. After a hearing on the matter, the trial court granted both of Comet's requests.

Redmond now brings this appeal. Redmond contends: (1) that the trial court erred in granting Comet's petition to intervene in the Redmond v. Devine lawsuit, and (2) that the trial court abused its discretion when it set aside the $985,000 default judgment previously rendered against Devine, Comet's insured.

Background

This dispute has its origin in an accident that occurred on December 25, 1981. On that date, Redmond was driving along U.S. Route 6 in Cook County. He lost control of his vehicle and struck a car being driven by Latifah Bedwan. Following this collision, Redmond's vehicle rested perpendicular to the flow of traffic on Route 6. In other words, when Redmond's vehicle came to rest after the accident, his vehicle faced north and south, whereas traffic on Route 6 was traveling east and west. Thus, Redmond's vehicle rested directly in the path of oncoming traffic.

This accident, however, produced no recognizable damage to either Redmond's or Bedwan's vehicle. That being the case, the two agreed not to call the police and to forget the incident.

While the Discussion between Redmond and Bedwan was taking place, Devine approached the scene of the accident in his vehicle. Because the speed limit on Route 6 is 55 miles per hour, and because Devine could not apparently see any parking lights operating on Redmond's vehicle (in light of the fact that Redmond's car was resting perpendicular to the flow of traffic), ...


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