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04/29/94 STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE

April 29, 1994

STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
PATRICK T. MURPHY, GUARDIAN OF THE ESTATE OF JESSIE STEWART, INCOMPETENT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. THE HONORABLE ALBERT GREEN, JUDGE PRESIDING.

Cousins, Jr., Murray, McNULTY

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cousins

JUSTICE COUSINS, JR. delivered the opinion of the court:

Defendant, Patrick T. Murphy (Murphy), Guardian of the Estate of Jessie Stewart (Stewart), appeals from the order of summary judgment entered against him in an insurance coverage dispute. The trial court held that plaintiff, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm), had no liability to Stewart because his policy benefits were offset by the worker's compensation benefits he had received. On appeal, Murphy argues that the circuit court erred by: (1) failing to find the setoff provision in the insurance policy contrary to public policy; (2) failing to find the setoff provision ambiguous.

We affirm.

BACKGROUND

The facts of the instant case are not disputed. On February 3, 1985, Stewart, a Chicago Fire Department employee, was involved inan accident with a car driven by Gilberto Cisneros (Cisneros). As a result of the accident, Stewart sustained multiple permanent bodily injuries including, inter alia, paralysis, muscle atrophy, loss of bowel and bladder control, and an inability to take nourishment by mouth. In short, Stewart was rendered totally dependant upon others to perform the activities of daily living.

At the time of the accident, Stewart was driving a car owned by the City of Chicago (City) and acting in the course of his employment. Pursuant to the Illinois Pension Code (40 ILCS 5/1 et seq. (West 1992)), the City provided payments in excess of $100,000 for hospital and medical expenses incurred by Stewart in connection with his injuries. The City did not provide payments for pain and suffering or actual bodily injuries, such as permanent disfigurement.

Although Cisneros was insured by Reliable Insurance Company at the time of the accident, he became an uninsured motorist when the insurance company was placed in liquidation. Stewart was covered by a State Farm automobile liability policy, which included uninsured motor vehicle coverage benefits of up to $100,000 per person and up to $300,000 per accident. The policy contained the following limit of liability provision:

"UNINSURED MOTOR VEHICLE - COVERAGE U

Limits of Liability

2. Any amount payable under this coverage shall be reduced by any amount paid or payable to or for the insured:

c. under any worker's compensation, disability benefits, or similar law."

Sometime after the accident, Stewart submitted a claim to State Farm for uninsured motor vehicle coverage. In response, State Farm filed a complaint against Patrick T. Murphy, as Stewart's guardian, seeking a judgment declaring that the policy did not provide uninsured coverage for the accident of February 3, 1985, because the payments made by the City for Stewart's medical and healthcare expenses totally offset the coverage limits of $100,000. State Farm then moved for summary judgment, asserting that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. After hearing argument, the trial court granted summary ...


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