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Allstate Insurance Co. v. Mack

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division

August 26, 2016

ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
VANITY MACK, Defendant-Appellant.

          Rule 23 order filed June 30, 2016

          Rule 23 order withdrawn August 15, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 11-CH-38827; the Hon. John C. Griffin, Judge, presiding.

         Judgment Affirmed.

          A. Leo Wiggins, Jr., and Caren Schulman, both of Chicago, for appellant.

          Condon & Cook, L.L.C., of Chicago (Guy M. Conti and Mark B. Ruda, of counsel), for appellee.

          Panel JUSTICE LAMPKIN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Reyes and Justice Gordon concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          LAMPKIN JUSTICE.

         ¶ 1 Defendant, Vanity Mack, appeals a number of circuit court orders, which ultimately barred an underinsured motorist (UIM) claim she had initiated against plaintiff, Allstate Insurance Company. Plaintiff filed the underlying declaratory judgment in the circuit court, seeking a declaration that defendant breached the parties' contract by refusing to provide executed Health Insurance Portability and Accounting Act (HIPAA) authorization forms and to submit to an oral examination under oath. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of plaintiff and against defendant and denied defendant's requests for reconsideration of those decisions. On appeal, defendant contends that the rules of the American Arbitration Act (AAA) precluded her from complying with plaintiff's discovery requests because she already had demanded arbitration proceedings. Based on the following, we affirm.

         ¶ 2 FACTS

         ¶ 3 On October 26, 2010, defendant submitted a UIM claim to plaintiff and also filed a demand for arbitration with the AAA. In response, on December 7, 2010, plaintiff advised defendant to provide executed HIPAA authorizations and to appear for an oral examination under oath pursuant to the terms of the parties' insurance policy. Defendant concedes that she failed to comply with plaintiff's requests and additionally concedes that she failed to comply with plaintiff's subsequent repeated requests to do so. In its subsequent declaratory judgment action, plaintiff alleged defendant breached the parties' insurance contract where she failed to comply with the terms of the policy and, therefore, was barred from pursuing her UIM claim. In response, defendant filed a motion to dismiss, which was denied, and later filed a motion for summary judgment-both times arguing that the rules of the AAA regarding discovery superseded the requirements of her insurance policy; therefore, she was under no obligation to comply with plaintiff's discovery requests. Defendant's motion for summary judgment was denied, as was her motion to reconsider that finding. Plaintiff then filed a motion for summary judgment. The circuit court granted plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and denied defendant's motion to reconsider that finding. Defendant timely appealed.

         ¶ 4 ANALYSIS

         ¶ 5 On appeal, defendant maintains that the rules of the AAA governed the adjudication of the underlying insurance claim once she requested arbitration. More specifically, defendant argues that, because she simultaneously instituted arbitration proceedings when she submitted her UIM claim, only the arbitrator had the authority to order discovery pursuant to the AAA rules, not plaintiff. Defendant, therefore, insists that she was not obligated to comply with plaintiff's discovery requests. However, contrary to defendant's argument, the issue on appeal is not a discovery dispute per se. Rather, the issue is whether defendant was in breach of the parties' contract by failing to accommodate plaintiff's requests to provide executed HIPAA authorizations and to appear for an examination under oath.

         ¶ 6 Summary judgment is proper and should be granted "without delay if the pleadings, depositions, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." 735 ILCS 5/2-1005(c) (West 2010). When the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment, they conceded that there were no genuine issues of material fact and invited the court to decide the questions presented as a matter of law. American Family Mutual Insurance Co. v. Niebuhr, 369 Ill.App.3d 517, 522 (2006). We review an order granting summary judgment de novo. Bohner v. Ace American Insurance Co., 359 Ill.App.3d 621, 623 ...


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