Appeal from Circuit Court of Champaign County No. 05MR111 Honorable Michael Q. Jones, Judge Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Appleton
Counterdefendants Kahende M. Jake and Daniel G. Joyce sustained injuries when the car in which they were riding as passengers ran off the road and crashed. The car was insured by Progressive Universal Insurance Company of Illinois (Progressive). Progressive paid them $5,000 apiece pursuant to the medical-payments coverage of its policy. The medical providers, Carle Foundation Hospital and Carle Clinic Association (collectively, Carle), won a summary judgment requiring Jake and Joyce to endorse the checks over to Carle. We have consolidated their appeals.
We modify the summary judgment so as to require Jake and Joyce to turn over to Carle only 40% of the proceeds of the two $5,000 checks. Although their indebtedness to Carle may well be more, section 10(a) of the Health Care Services Lien Act (770 ILCS 23/10(a) (West 2004)) limits Carle's lien to 40%. We affirm the judgment as modified.
On August 24, 2004, in Urbana, Cedric A. Young was driving Debbie S. Taylor's car with the permission of Debbie's daughter, Heather A. Taylor. He got into a single-vehicle accident when he ran off the road under a railway overpass. Two of his passengers, Jake and Joyce, sustained injuries. A third passenger, Jerry L. Jeffers, died.
Debbie had an automobile insurance policy with Progressive. On February 10, 2005, Progressive filed a complaint for interpleader and declaratory judgment, in which it tendered the entire $50,000 liability coverage to the trial court for distribution to the injured passengers. The combined losses of the passengers far exceeded $50,000.
In October 2005, the parties agreed that the $50,000 should be divided among the passengers in the same proportion that each passenger's medical expenses bore to the total medical expenses of the passengers. Joyce, the estate of Jeffers, and Heather Taylor received $16,000 apiece, and the remaining $2,000 went to Jake, who was less seriously injured. Also by agreement, Joyce paid Carle 40% of his allotment of $16,000 (or $6,400) pursuant to section 10(a) of the Health Care Services Lien Act (770 ILCS 23/10(a) (West 2004)). According to a docket entry of December 19, 2005, the parties informed the trial court that "the only remaining [dispute was] as to the medical payments involving [d]efendants Jake and Joyce."
On January 6, 2006, Carle filed a supplemental counterclaim, alleging it had provided medical treatment to Jake and Joyce for injuries they had sustained in the automobile accident and, as a consequence, they owed Carle more than $5,000 apiece. (Joyce still owed Carle more than $5,000 after her payment of 40% of the $16,000 to Carle.) Debbie's insurance policy provided medical-payments coverage of $5,000 per person--over and above the $50,000 in liability coverage that Progressive had tendered to the trial court. Carle alleged:
"10. *** [M]edical[-]payments coverage is intended to pay medical bills of the injured parties and should be turned over to Carle *** for application [toward] the [medical debts that Jake and Joyce owe Carle].
11. [Jake and Joyce,] through their respective attorneys, have failed and refused to turn over the medical[-]payments coverage proceeds.
12. *** [T]he respective attorneys for [Jake and Joyce] improperly claim that they are entitled to a one-third portion of the medical[-]payments funds as an attorney fee."
Carle requested a judgment against Jake and Joyce "for turnover of the medical[-]payments coverage proceeds" to Carle so that Carle could apply the proceeds against their medical bills.
In their reply to the supplemental counterclaim, Jake and Joyce alleged that they had offered to pay Carle 40% of the $5,000 checks in accordance with section 10(a) of the Health Care Services Lien Act (770 ILCS 23/10(a) (West 2004)) but that Carle had refused to accept only 40% and demanded 100% of the checks. They contended that Carle had a lien no greater than 40%. See 770 ILCS 23/10(a) (West 2004).
On June 19, 2006, Carle filed a motion for summary judgment on its supplemental counterclaim. Exhibit B was a copy of Debbie's insurance policy. Part II of the policy, entitled ...