Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Joseph Wosik, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE RIZZI delivered the opinion of the court. McNAMARA and FREEMAN, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE RIZZI
Appellant, Juanita Sellards (Juanita), appeals from a judgment of the circuit court of Cook County imposing a constructive trust upon the proceeds from a Prudential Life Insurance Policy and requiring payment of the proceeds in equal shares to appellees Deborah Sellards Bull (Deborah) and Charles David Sellards (Charles). Juanita also appeals from a judgment of the trial court entered pursuant to an action for interpleader (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 110, par. 2-409) brought by plaintiff, IDS Life Insurance Company , in which the court ordered the clerk of the circuit court to pay the proceeds from the life insurance policy deposited with the court by IDS to Deborah and Charles. We affirm.
Briefly, the facts giving rise to this cause of action are as follows. Charles W. Sellards (the decedent) and Nancy Sellards were married in 1955 and divorced in 1971. Two children were born of this marriage: Deborah, born November 12, 1956, and Charles David, born September 5, 1958.
Incorporated into the decedent and Nancy's divorce decree was a marital settlement agreement which provides in relevant part:
"Defendant shall keep in full force and effect the life insurance he presently has, with the two children as irrevocable beneficiaries thereunder, and further, he shall be responsible for all items of extraordinary and unusual medical, dental, hospital and orthodontic expenses incurred on behalf of the minor children."
At the time of the divorce and until his death, the decedent was an employee of the Village of Rolling Meadows fire department. *fn1 As an employee, the decedent was covered under a group life insurance plan. IDS became the successor group life insurer to the Village of Rolling Meadows with respect to the life insurance policy which was previously issued in the decedent's name. At the time of the decedent's death, the IDS insurance policy was worth $31,014.99 and the two Prudential policies were worth $3,749.28 and $9,340.11 respectively.
Approximately three years after the decedent and Juanita were married, the decedent changed the designated beneficiaries on his life insurance policies from his children, Deborah and Charles, to Juanita. The decedent died on February 14, 1985. At that time, Deborah and Charles were emancipated adults. Following the decedent's death, Deborah and Charles learned that Juanita was the beneficiary of the IDS and Prudential policies and had received the proceeds of both Prudential policies. Thereafter, Deborah and Charles informed IDS of their interest in the remaining policy.
IDS then filed its complaint for interpleader, seeking a judicial determination of the appropriate beneficiary of the proceeds of the IDS life insurance policy issued to the decedent. In response to IDS' complaint for interpleader, Deborah and Charles filed their reply and counter-complaint for imposition of a constructive trust on the proceeds of the Prudential policies paid to Juanita. Deborah and Charles subsequently filed an amended counter-complaint, and Juanita filed a motion to dismiss in which she alleged certain affirmative matters. Upon motion of Deborah and Charles, these affirmative matters were stricken by the trial court. Deborah and Charles then filed a 2- 615 motion for judgment on the pleadings. Ill.Rev.Stat.1987, ch. 110, par. 2-615. Juanita filed her response.
Thereafter, the trial court granted Deborah and Charles' section 2-615 motion and found that pursuant to the terms of the decedent and Nancy's divorce decree, both Deborah and Charles were entitled to a constructive trust on the total amount of the proceeds from the Prudential policies received by Juanita. The trial court further determined that Deborah and Charles were also entitled to the total amount of the IDS proceeds deposited with the clerk of the court. This appeal followed.
Juanita initially assigns as error the trial court's denial of her motion to dismiss Deborah and Charles' amended countercomplaint for the imposition of a constructive trust. Juanita contends that Deborah and Charles failed to allege sufficient facts to support their request that a constructive trust be imposed against her for the proceeds she received from the decedent's two Prudential life insurance policies. We find no merit to this argument.
The law is well settled in Illinois that when a marital settlement agreement requires an insured to maintain life insurance for the benefit of a particular beneficiary, the beneficiary has an enforceable equitable right to the proceeds of the insurance policies against any other named beneficiary, except one with a superior equitable right. (Koenings v. First National Bank & Trust Co. (1986), 145 Ill. App. 3d 14, 16, 495 N.E.2d 671, 673; In re Schwass (1984), 126 Ill. App. 3d 512, 514, 467 N.E.2d 957, 959.) As our statement of the facts giving rise to this appeal illustrates, it is clear that Deborah and Charles set forth more than sufficient facts to state a claim for the imposition of a constructive trust on the proceeds of the Prudential policies paid out to Juanita. Accordingly, Juanita's argument concerning this issue must fail.
Juanita next contends that the trial court erred in granting Deborah and Charles' section 2-615 motion for judgment on the pleadings. Juanita argues that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether Deborah and Charles were to remain the beneficiaries of the insurance policies at issue following their emancipation.
Initially, a motion for judgment on the pleadings raises the question of whether the pleadings present a triable issue of fact. If at least one issue of fact is present, then evidence must be taken and a trial court is precluded from entering judgment on the pleadings. However, a motion for judgment on the pleadings does not test whether there is any evidence to support the pleadings, but whether the pleadings present a material issue of fact. If a material issue of fact is presented, judgment on the pleadings may not be entered. If no issue of triable fact is presented, a trial court may then, as a matter of law, determine which party is entitled to ...