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05/15/89 Morton Thiokol, Inc., v. Morton Thiokol

May 15, 1989

APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION INTERNATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

MORTON THIOKOL, INC., DEFENDANT-APPELLEE



542 N.E.2d 6, 185 Ill. App. 3d 686, 134 Ill. Dec. 6 1989.IL.728

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Sophia H. Hall, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE CAMPBELL delivered the opinion of the court. MANNING, P.J., and BUCKLEY, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE CAMPBELL

Plaintiff, International Insurance Company (International) filed an action against defendant, Morton Thiokol, Inc. (Morton), seeking a declaration and rescission of certain insurance contracts. On Morton's motion, the trial court dismissed International's complaint without prejudice pursuant to section 2-619(a)(3) of the Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 110, par. 2-619(a)(3)) due to the fact that there are actions pending between the same parties for the same cause in a New Jersey State court. The trial court also denied International's motion for a preliminary injunction to enjoin Morton from proceeding against International in a lawsuit in Ohio. International appeals both from the dismissal of its action and the denial of its motion seeking preliminary injunctive relief.

Morton argues on appeal that this court should dismiss the appeal of the order dismissing International's complaint without prejudice because the order is not final and appealable.

International contends on appeal that the dismissal of its action was an abuse of discretion since the case at bar and the later-filed New Jersey case do not involve the same cause. International further contends that the trial court erred in denying it the injunctive relief it sought since the court had a duty to protect its first-acquired jurisdiction from a later-filed duplicative action in Ohio.

The facts as set forth in the record are procedurally detailed, and we will set forth those facts necessary for resolution of the issues raised on appeal. On July 22, 1985, Morton filed a lawsuit against International and several other insurance companies in the New Jersey State court. The action sought damages for breach of contract and a judgment declaring that the insurers owed Morton a duty of defense and indemnification with regard to a suit brought against Morton by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Morton's complaint sought coverage for alleged hazardous waste contamination as a result of its manufacturing processes under four of International's policies and approximately 65 policies issued by 19 other insurance carriers. The question of insurance coverage related to one environmental site claim in New Jersey known as the Woodridge site. On August 27, 1987, International's motion for summary judgment was granted.

On April 18, 1986, International filed the instant action in the circuit court of Cook County seeking a declaration and rescission or reformation of two of its primary liability insurance policies. In this action, International addressed the question of its insurance coverage at numerous environmental site claims throughout the United States for which Morton had made coverage claims to International. This included 33 environmental sites in 13 different States. Among the sites International sought to have found outside its coverage was the Woodridge site in New Jersey.

On May 13, 1986, Morton filed suit against Aetna Casualty & Surety Company in the Ohio State courts for damages and for breach of contract and seeking a declaration of coverage for 30 waste sites under approximately 20 of Aetna's policies. Morton later amended its Ohio action to include two additional insurers, International and Continental Casualty.

On May 30, 1986, Aetna filed a declaratory judgment action against Morton and 20 of its insurers, including International, in New Jersey involving the same sites that were included in the action filed by Morton in Ohio.

On July 30, 1986, the New Jersey court, before which both New Jersey cases were pending, enjoined Morton and International from proceeding in any court other than the New Jersey Superior Court with coverage disputes relating to any New Jersey hazardous waste site. The New Jersey court specifically recognized that it could not prevent foreign State courts from hearing cases regarding non-New Jersey sites, but it could forbid the parties from litigating over New Jersey sites in other States. Further, the New Jersey court did preclude International from continuing to litigate non-New Jersey sites in New Jersey. Following this ruling, the action filed against Morton by Aetna in New Jersey was amended to involve 37 carriers, including eight of International's policies and raised questions of application of those policies to 15 New Jersey waste sites.

On September 23, 1986, Morton filed a motion to dismiss or stay International's amended complaint in the instant case based on the fact that it was duplicative of the actions pending in New Jersey. After extensive briefing, argument was heard on the motion on February 11, 1987. On that same date, International moved for an order for a preliminary injunction to enjoin Morton from proceeding against International in the Ohio case.

On March 12, 1987, the trial court dismissed International's amended complaint without prejudice pursuant to section 2-619(a)(3) of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 110, par. 2-619(a)(3)) ...


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