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07/20/87 Coronet Insurance Company, v. Robert Booker

July 20, 1987

CORONET INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

ROBERT BOOKER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION

511 N.E.2d 793, 158 Ill. App. 3d 466, 110 Ill. Dec. 616 1987.IL.1019

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Albert Green, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the court. BUCKLEY and MANNING, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE O'CONNOR

Defendant, Robert Booker, appeals from the trial court's denial of his section 2-1401 petition (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2-1401) to vacate the court's order of March 21, 1985, which granted plaintiff, Coronet Insurance Company, a declaratory judgment against Booker. Coronet cross-appeals from the trial court's denial of its section 2-611 motion (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2-611) for sanctions against Booker. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

On January 22, 1979, Booker was injured in a car accident involving Roosevelt Skipper, an uninsured motorist, and Sandra Brown. Booker's automobile was covered by a Coronet insurance policy which included uninsured motorist coverage.

Booker filed a lawsuit against the uninsured motorist and on March 23, 1983, obtained a $6,000 default judgment. Booker also filed a claim with Coronet for uninsured motorist coverage.

Pursuant to the terms of the insurance policy, Coronet and Booker submitted Booker's claim to arbitration for a hearing, and agreed to the selection of the arbitrator. After a hearing, the arbitrator awarded Booker $9,000.

Subsequently, Coronet filed a complaint in the circuit court of Cook County against Booker for a declaratory judgment to vacate the arbitration award. The complaint alleged that the award should be vacated because the default judgment Booker obtained against the uninsured motorist constituted collateral estoppel on the issue of damages. The complaint further alleged that the arbitrator exceeded his authority by entering an award above $6,000. Alternatively, Coronet alleged that Booker breached his duty to protect Coronet's right of subrogation when he failed to obtain a default judgment against the uninsured motorist for the full amount of his damages.

On November 17, 1984, the sheriff served the summons and complaint on Booker by substitute service. Booker filed no appearance, and on March 21, 1985, the trial court entered a default judgment for declaratory relief against Booker. The judgment provided that the arbitrator exceeded his authority by awarding Booker $9,000, and had authority to enter an award of only $6,000. The court vacated the arbitrator's award to the extent it exceeded $6,000.

On April 11, 1985, Booker filed a motion to vacate the March 21, 1985, order, which the trial court denied on July 17, 1985.

Booker filed a notice of appeal of the trial court's denial of his motion to vacate on August 15, 1985. However, on January 16, 1986, Booker filed a motion to dismiss the appeal which this court granted on January 27, 1986.

On March 13, 1986, Booker filed a petition with the circuit court under section 2-1401 of the Civil Practice Law (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2-1401) to vacate the March 21, 1985, order. On April 21, 1986, the trial court denied the motion, finding ...


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