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Hall v. General Casualty Company of Illinois

March 26, 2002

JESSE HALL, ANGEL HALL, AND AUSTIN HALL, A MINOR, BY JESSE HALL, HIS FATHER AND NEXT FRIEND, PLAINTIFFS AND COUNTER-DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES,
v.
GENERAL CASUALTY COMPANY OF ILLINOIS, DEFENDANT AND COUNTER-DEFENDANT-APPELLANT, AND PAUL DAVIS AND ROBERT W. SMITH, DEFENDANTS AND COUNTERDEFENDANTS, AND JAMES M. SMITH, DEFENDANT AND COUNTERPLAINTIFF.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Saline County. No. 00-MR-14 Honorable Bruce D. Stewart, Judge, presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Welch

UNPUBLISHED

We visit once again the question of the enforceability of a provision in an insurance policy that purports to prohibit the aggregation or stacking of liability coverage limits for two separate vehicles insured under the same policy. Under the facts of this case, we find that the insurance policy is ambiguous as to this question and that the antistacking provision is therefore unenforceable.

This case comes before us on appeal from a summary judgment entered by the circuit court of Saline County on May 17, 2001, in a declaratory judgment action brought by Jesse Hall, Angel Hall, and Austin Hall, a minor, by Jesse Hall, his father and next friend (plaintiffs), against General Casualty Company of Illinois (General Casualty). Plaintiffs had been injured when the vehicle in which they were riding was hit by a vehicle driven by Paul Davis, the insured under an automobile insurance policy issued by General Casualty. Also injured in the same accident were Robert W. Smith and James M. Smith, occupants of a third vehicle involved in the crash. Davis and the Smiths were joined as defendants in the declaratory judgment action.

The insurance policy in question is a personal automobile policy issued by General Casualty to Davis and his wife. It insures two vehicles: a 1996 Mercury and a 1994 Chevrolet. The Chevrolet was involved in the accident in which plaintiffs were injured. The declarations page of the insurance policy is set forth as follows:

"Coverage InformationINSURANCE IS PROVIDED WHERE A PREMIUM IS SHOWN

Coverage Limit of Liability Premium Unit 1 Unit 2

A SPLIT LIMIT LIABILITY $250,000 EA PERSON

BODILY INJURY $500,000 EA ACCIDENT 145.00 95.00

A PROPERTY DAMAGE $100,000 EA ACCIDENT 85.00 56.00

B MEDICAL PAYMENTS $5,000 EA PERSON 14.00 13.00

C UNINSURED MOTORIST $20,000 EA PERSON

BODILY INJURY $40,000 EA ACCIDENT 9.00 9.00

D OTHER THAN COLLISION ACTUAL CASH VALUE ...


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