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12/22/88 Mayflower Insurance v. James C. Mahan

December 22, 1988

MAYFLOWER INSURANCE COMPANY, LTD., PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

JAMES C. MAHAN, JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION

535 N.E.2d 924, 180 Ill. App. 3d 213, 129 Ill. Dec. 159 1988.IL.1855

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas J. O'Brien, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

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

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE JOHNSON

This is an interlocutory appeal (107 Ill. 2d R. 308) by defendant, James C. Mahan, Jr., from an order of the circuit court of Cook County denying his motion to dismiss the complaint of plaintiff, Mayflower Insurance Company. The court also denied defendant's motion for reconsideration of the motion to dismiss. The issue certified for review is whether claims involving additional uninsured motorist coverage-underinsured motorist coverage under section 143a-2 of the Illinois Insurance Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 73, par. 755a-2) are required to be determined by binding arbitration. Defendant makes the following contentions on appeal: (1) public policy dictates finality of arbitration awards; (2) plaintiff seeks to expand the limited jurisdiction of the court as set forth in the Uniform Arbitration Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 10, pars. 111 through 114); (3) the arbitration clause is ambiguous and, therefore, should be construed against the insurer; and (4) the Illinois Insurance Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 73, par. 755a-2) prohibits non-binding arbitration.

We affirm.

Defendant was seriously injured in an automobile accident while a passenger in his father's vehicle. He received full bodily injury liability coverage ($100,000) from his father's insurance carrier and filed an underinsured motorist claim with plaintiff, his insurance carrier. The insurance contract between plaintiff and defendant provided for additional uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in the amount of $500,000. Under the caption of arbitration, the policy further provided, in pertinent part:

"If we and covered person do not agree:

1. Whether that person is legally entitled to recover damages from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle or underinsured motor vehicle ; or

2. As to the amount of damages; either party may make a written demand for arbitration. . . .

A decision agreed to by two of the arbitrators will be binding as to:

1. Whether the covered person is legally entitled to recover damages; and

2. The amount of damages. This applies only if the amount does not exceed the minimum limit for bodily injury liability specified by the Illinois Safety Responsibility Law. If the amount exceeds that limit, either party may demand the right to a trial. This demand must be made within 60 days of the arbitrators' decision. If this ...


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