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State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. Rosenberg

February 28, 2001

STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY COMPANY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
BEATRICE ROSENBERG, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Wolfson

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Honorable Julia M. Nowicki, Judge Presiding.

The question in this case is whether the injuries sustained by Beatrice Rosenberg (Rosenberg) during a carjacking were covered under the uninsured motorist provision of her automobile insurance policy, issued by State Farm Fire and Casualty Company (State Farm). The trial court found the policy did not cover Rosenberg's injuries, and granted summary judgment in favor of State Farm. Rosenberg appeals, contending the trial court erred in finding the policy did not cover her injuries and in denying her motion for summary judgment. We affirm.

FACTS

State Farm issued an automobile insurance policy to Rosenberg in April 1996.

On December 9, 1996, Rosenberg got out of her 1995 Chevrolet Blazer and began walking through the parking lot of her workplace in Niles, Illinois. As she was walking, Frank Tripp approached her, waved a gun, and demanded her purse and car keys. After Rosenberg gave Tripp her purse and keys, he ordered her to get back into the Blazer on the passenger's side of the front seat. Tripp got into the driver's seat and drove the Blazer onto the Edens Expressway.

Once they were on the expressway, Tripp shot Rosenberg in the head and arm, opened the car door, and pushed her onto the expressway while the car was still moving. Rosenberg sustained injuries from the bullet wounds to her arm and head, as well as minor bruises and abrasions from being pushed out of the vehicle. Rosenberg filed a claim with State Farm under the uninsured motorist provision of her insurance policy. On June 29, 1998, State Farm filed a complaint for declaratory judgment seeking a determination that the uninsured motorist provision did not cover the injuries Rosenberg sustained during the carjacking incident.

Both parties filed motions for summary judgment. The trial court found the uninsured motorist provision of Rosenberg's policy did not cover her injuries because the injuries sustained by Rosenberg were not the kinds of injuries that are normally associated with the ownership, use, or maintenance of a vehicle. The court granted State Farm's motion for summary judgment and denied Rosenberg's motion.

DECISION

Rulings on summary judgment motions are subject to de novo review. Outboard Marine Corp. v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., 154 Ill. 2d 90, 102, 607 N.E.2d 1204 (1992). Summary judgment is proper only if the pleadings, depositions, admissions, affidavits, and other relevant matters on file show there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Smith v. Tri-R. Vending, 249 Ill. App. 3d 654, 657, 619 N.E.2d 172 (1993). Where both parties have filed motions for summary judgment, they agree that only a question of law is presented and invite the court to decide the issues on the record. Laycock v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., 289 Ill. App. 3d 264, 266, 682 N.E.2d 382 (1997).

Insurance polices are contracts, and should be construed as other contracts are construed. General Insurance Company of America v. McManus, 272 Ill. App. 3d 510, 514, 650 N.E.2d 1080 (1995). If the provisions of a policy are clear and unambiguous, they must be given their plain and ordinary meaning. Laycock, 289 Ill. App. 3d at 267.

The applicable provision of the automobile insurance policy issued to Rosenberg by State Farm says:

"UNINSURED MOTOR VEHICLE - ...


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