Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 08 CH 06053 Honorable William Maki Judge Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Karnezis
JUSTICE KARNEZIS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Cunningham and Justice Connors concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 Plaintiff, James E. West, appeals from the circuit court's order in favor of defendant American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin, granting defendant's motion for summary judgment. On appeal, plaintiff contends the court's order was erroneous because: (1) the "two or more cars insured" provision does not apply; (2) the insurance policy's exclusion No. 9 was waived and should not apply; and (3) the insured's two policies should apply although only one vehicle was involved in the incident. For the following reasons, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.
¶ 2 This case arose from an incident in which Preston Moore's vehicle struck and injured plaintiff West and West's friend, Linda Holland, on November 13, 1996. Preston Moore is the son of defendant's named insured, Linda Moore. Defendant insured Linda Moore's Chevy S-10 pickup truck under policy 1, and insured her Chevy Impala car under policy 2. The Chevy S-10 pickup truck was the vehicle Preston was driving when he struck West. Both policies provided liability limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. West filed suit against both Linda and Preston Moore alleging that Preston either intentionally or negligently caused his injuries, and that Linda negligently entrusted her vehicle to Preston. Defendant defended Linda in the suit and defended Preston under a reservation of rights, raising the intentional act exclusion.
¶ 3 Prior to trial, defendant settled with West on behalf of Linda for $100,000. Defendant also settled on Linda's behalf with West's co-plaintiff Linda Holland for $100,000. Following a jury trial in 2001, West was awarded $275,733 in damages for the injuries he sustained. In 2008, West filed the instant suit. Defendant denied that any additional sums of money were owed under the truck policy, policy 1, and that the car policy, policy 2, was never implicated since the incident only involved the truck, not the car. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to section 2-1005 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-1005 (West 2008)), which the circuit court granted. Plaintiff now appeals.
¶ 4 General contract law governs the interpretation of insurance policies. Hobbs v. Hartford Insurance Co., 214 Ill. 2d 11, 17 (2005). As such, courts seek to effectuate the intention of the parties, primarily as expressed through the policy language itself.
Hobbs, 214 Ill. 2d at 17. The policy is to be considered as a whole, wherein each provision is given effect. Central Illinois Light Co., v. Home Insurance Co., 213 Ill. 2d 141, 153 (2004).
¶ 5 A circuit court may properly grant a motion for summary judgment where "the pleadings, depositions, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Smith v. Armor Plus Co., Inc., 248 Ill. App. 3d 831, 839 (1993). The construction of an insurance policy is a question of law that this court determines de novo. Vanek v. Illinois Farmers Insurance Co., 268 Ill. App. 3d 731, 735 (1994).
Two or More Cars Insured Provision
¶ 6 Plaintiff first contends on appeal that he can recover from both policy 1 and policy 2 because the "two or more cars insured" provision does not apply. The "two or more cars insured" provision provided in part:
"PART VI - GENERAL PROVISIONS * * * * * *
3. Two or More Cars Insured. The total limit of our liability under all policies issued to you by us shall not exceed the highest limit of liability under any one policy. When this policy insures two or ...