Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division
PHOUNGEUN THOUNSAVATH, Plaintiff and Counterdefendant-Appellee,
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant and Counterplaintiff-Appellant.
from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 2014 CH 02511,
Honorable Kathleen M. Pantle, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Justices concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 The plaintiff, Phoungeun Thounsavath, filed a complaint for
declaratory judgment against the defendant, State Farm Mutual
Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm). The plaintiff
sought a declaration that, as applied to her, the driver
exclusion endorsement in the automobile liability policies
issued to her by State Farm violated section 143a-2 of the
Illinois Insurance Code (Insurance Code) (215 ILCS 5/143a-2
(West 2012)) and the public policy of Illinois. State Farm
answered the complaint and filed a counterclaim for
declaratory judgment, seeking a declaration that the
plaintiff was not entitled to underinsured coverage under her
automobile liability policies with State Farm. The circuit
court denied State Farm's motion for summary judgment and
granted the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.
State Farm appeals.
2 On appeal, State Farm contends that, as to the plaintiff,
its driver exclusion endorsement does not violate section
7-317(b)(2) of the Illinois Safety and Family Financial
Responsibility Law (Financial Responsibility Law) (625 ILCS
5/7-317(b)(2) (West 2012)), section 143a-2 of the Insurance
Code, or Illinois public policy.
4 The facts are not in dispute. The plaintiff was injured
while a passenger in a vehicle driven by Clinton M. Evans. At
the time of the accident, Mr. Evans was insured by American
Access Insurance Company (AAIC), and the plaintiff was
insured by State Farm under two automobile liability
policies. The plaintiff made a claim against Mr. Evans for
her personal injuries, which was paid by AAIC in the amount
of $20, 000.
5 The plaintiff then filed an underinsured motorist claim
with State Farm. State Farm denied coverage under the
following provision contained in both of the automobile
liability policies it issued to the plaintiff: "
'IT IS AGREED WE SHALL NOT BE LIABLE AND NO
LIABILITY OR OBLIGATION OF ANY KIND SHALL ATTACH TO
US FOR BODILY INJURY, LOSS OR
DAMAGE UNDER ANY OF THE COVERAGES OF THIS POLICY WHILE ANY
MOTOR VEHICLE IS OPERATED BY: CLINTON M. EVANS' "
(Emphasis in original.)
6 On May 27, 2015, the circuit court denied State Farm's
motion for summary judgment. The court found that while named
driver exclusions are recognized in Illinois, the issue was
whether such exclusions may be used to deny coverage to the
named insured. The court determined that such exclusions do
not override the plain language of section 7-317(b)(2) of the
Financial Responsibility Act and denied State Farm's
motion for summary judgment. Thereafter, the plaintiff filed
her motion for summary judgment, which was granted by the
circuit court on May 4, 2016.
7 On May 10, 2016, State Farm filed its notice of appeal from
the May 27, 2015, and May 4, 2016, orders of the circuit
9 I. Standards of Review
10 We review the granting of summary judgment, the
construction of an insurance policy and the construction of a
statute de novo. Goldstein v. Grinnell ...