Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 94 CH 5275. The Honorable Albert Green, Judge Presiding.
Released for Publication January 29, 1997.
The Honorable Justice DiVITO delivered the opinion of the court. Hartman, P.j., and Scariano, J., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Divito
JUSTICE DiVITO delivered the opinion of the court:
Original plaintiff Ona Ankus (Ona) was injured in an automobile accident. She brought this complaint for declaratory judgment against defendants Commercial Union Insurance Company (Commercial Union) and Government Employees Insurance Company (Geico), seeking an adjudication as to their liability regarding her uninsured motorist claim. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of both Commercial Union and Geico. Following Ona's death, her son, plaintiff Algis Ankus (Algis), was appointed special administrator for the purposes of this action. He appeals the grants of summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
In his deposition, Algis testified that on June 10, 1984, he was driving north on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago in his Toyota Supra. Ona was a passenger in his car, while his wife, Lynda Twist, followed directly behind in a Honda Accord. He struck the rear of a black Pontiac that cut in front of him. When he braked and hit the Pontiac, his wife hit him. Ona was injured, subsequently claiming damages of $10,000.
Algis testified that he pulled to the side of the road behind the Pontiac, but it pulled away. Neither the Pontiac nor its driver was ever identified.
At the time of the accident, Algis was employed by Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc. Commercial Union provided uninsured motorist coverage for individuals injured while riding in cars owned by Cardiac Pacemakers.
On June 9, 1986, Ona filed a demand for arbitration against Commercial Union with the American Arbitration Association. Although the American Arbitration Association closed its file on the matter on February 7, 1989, Ona again demanded arbitration on December 6, 1990. Her deposition was taken on October 11, 1991.
Although the matter was set for arbitration on February 9, 1994, Commercial Union refused to participate because, among other reasons, it had not deposed Algis. The matter was reset for September 7, 1994.
On May 23, 1994, Algis' sworn testimony was taken. On June 9, 1994, Commercial Union advised Ona's attorney that it would deny coverage because Algis was the owner of the car in which Ona was a passenger and the coverage that it provided to Cardiac Pacemakers was limited to cars owned by Cardiac Pacemakers. Commercial Union stated that it believed that Algis had coverage through Geico.
On June 9, 1994, Ona notified Geico that she was making an uninsured motorist claim. That day, she brought a complaint for declaratory judgment against Commercial Union and Geico seeking an adjudication as to their liability.
On April 11, 1995, summary judgment was granted in favor of Commercial Union and, on August 15, 1995, in favor of Geico. Following Ona's death from causes unrelated to the 1984 accident, Algis was appointed special administrator for the purposes of this litigation. He appeals the grants of summary judgment.
Plaintiff first contends that the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Commercial Union. He argues that Commercial Union is estopped from denying coverage by its eight-year delay in denying coverage because Ona detrimentally relied on its indications that it was the insurer of his vehicle. We note that plaintiff does not contend that Algis was in fact covered by Cardiac ...