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Segovia v. Romero

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division

March 28, 2014

SYLVIA SEGOVIA, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
HECTOR ROMERO, Defendant-Appellant (The City of Chicago Medical Care Plan for Employees, Intervenor)

As Corrected.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 11 M1 301010. Honorable Diane Shelley, Judge Presiding.

Reversed and remanded.

SYLLABUS

In an action arising from an automobile accident in which defendant crashed into the rear of plaintiff's car and the insurer of plaintiff's husband paid under its policy and then filed a subrogation action against defendant, which was settled for defendant's payment of an amount that included $2,500 to release the $5,000 claim for plaintiff's medical bills, the trial court, in plaintiff's subsequent action against defendant to recover for her losses, erred in denying defendant's counterclaim seeking a setoff for plaintiff's $5,000 claim for medical bills based on the earlier settlement of that claim for $2,500 in the subrogation action, notwithstanding the collateral source rule, since plaintiff's medical bills of $5,000 were settled for $2,500 in the subrogation action brought by her husband's insurer, and without a setoff, defendant, through his insurer, would have to pay twice for the same medical expenses.

For APPELLANT: Shelist Law Firm, LLC, of Chicago (Samuel A. Shelist, of counsel).

For APPELLEE: Larry L. Fleischer & Associates, Ltd., of Chicago (Richard O. Krumbacher, of counsel).

JUSTICE PALMER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices McBride and Taylor concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

PALMER, JUSTICE

Page 582

[¶1] Defendant Hector Romero argues on appeal that the circuit court of Cook County erred in denying his motion for a setoff from the jury verdict in favor of plaintiff Sylvia Segovia. We reverse and remand.

[¶2] BACKGROUND

[¶3] In September 2009, defendant drove into the rear of plaintiff's car, causing injuries to plaintiff and damage to her car. Plaintiff's husband, Rodolfo Segovia, Sr. (Segovia), had an insurance policy with State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm). State Farm paid Segovia for damages under the policy.

[¶4] State Farm filed a subrogation action against defendant in municipal court, State Farm Automobile Insurance Company v. Romero, No. 10 M1 012952 (Cir. Ct. Cook Co.). It asserted that Segovia was the owner and/or driver of the car damaged by defendant in the collision and, as a result of defendant's negligence, he suffered personal injuries and pain and suffering, lost wages and incurred medical and car repair expenses for which he was covered under the policy. State Farm claimed that it had paid on Segovia's behalf " various monies for [his] damages, losses and expenses and [Segovia] incurred a deductible, totaling the sum of $10,766.20." It stated that, pursuant to the policy, Segovia had assigned it all of his claims and demands against any party for his damage, loss or expenses. State Farm argued that it was now the " bona fide subrogee to the amounts" it had paid on Segovia's behalf and requested the court to award it a judgment of $10,766.20 plus costs against defendant.

[¶5] The case was set for arbitration. State Farm filed a statement pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 90 (eff. July 1, 2008) and supporting documents showing it had paid " healthcare provider bills" totaling $5,000. It itemized these payments as $3,711 paid to Lutheran General Hospital, $564 paid to Advanced Radiology and $725 paid to AMG-AHHC. State Farm's Rule 90 statement also showed that it had paid $5,516 for " property damage" and $250 for " deductible." Its total payments were $10,766.

[¶6] Defendant had an insurance policy with American Heartland Insurance Company (American Heartland). American Heartland paid State Farm $5,383.10 to settle the subrogation action. In April 2011, State Farm " as Subrogee of [Segovia]," signed a release of all its subrogation claims arising or resulting from the September 2009 accident. It voluntarily dismissed its subrogation action.

[¶7] In April 2011, plaintiff filed an action in the circuit court of Cook County municipal division, first district, against defendant. She sought " in excess of $50,000" for her medical, surgical and nursing care costs, lost wages and pain and disability. In her disclosure statement, plaintiff listed her economic damages as $4,560 incurred at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital but stated " investigation continues."

[¶8] In June 2011, defendant answered plaintiff and filed affirmative defenses and a counterclaim for setoff. In the counterclaim, he requested that, in the event a judgment was entered against him on plaintiff's claim, the court order a $5,000 setoff against any judgment in favor of plaintiff. Defendant claimed that State Farm had sought reimbursement for $5,000 in ...


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