Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Third Division
THE CITY OF PARK RIDGE, a Municipal Corporation, and HIGH-LEVEL EXCESS POOL, Plaintiff-Appellant,
CLARENDON AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellee, and A.G., a minor, by her parents and the next friends, MARZENA SASSAK and GREGORY GORMAN Defendants.
from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 16 CH 00806 The
Honorable Sophia H. Hall Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
Presiding Justice Cobbs and Justice Howse concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 This interlocutory appeal arises from the trial court's
order, granting summary judgment to defendant Clarendon
American Insurance Company (Clarendon). On appeal, plaintiffs
City of Park Ridge (Park Ridge) and its excess carrier,
High-Level Excess Liability Pool (HELP), contend that the
trial court erroneously granted defendant's motion for
summary judgment because the court erred in determining that
emergency medical services fell within the scope of the
"Products-Completed Operations Hazard" provision
under the insurance policy, which affected how much Clarendon
would have to pay in two separate claims. We reverse the
trial court's order of summary judgment in
Clarendon's favor and remand the case for the trial court
to enter summary judgment for plaintiffs Park Ridge and HELP.
3 This insurance dispute arises out of monies paid to two
plaintiffs who sued Park Ridge for two separate occurrences.
In the first, defendants Marzena Sassak and Gregory Gorman
sued in federal court after a confrontational traffic stop
ended in personal injury. After a later, but related, suit
was filed on behalf of their minor child, Gorman settled his
case for an amount in excess of $600, 000, the first $250,
000 of which was paid by Park Ridge because it had a
self-insured retention in that amount. The remainder was paid
4 The second lawsuit involved allegations that Park Ridge
paramedics failed to provide any treatment whatsoever to a
15-year-old boy whose father summoned paramedics when he was
found to be unresponsive around 1:10 a.m. Some hours later,
the paramedics were summoned again, when the boy was
unresponsive and blue. He was transported to the hospital
where he was diagnosed as brain dead owing to a drug
overdose. He later died.
5 The deceased boy's mother, Jo Ann Abruzzo, filed a
survival action and wrongful death action, which was
dismissed by the trial court. The dismissal was affirmed by
the appellate court, only to be reversed by the Illinois
Supreme Court. The court determined that the Emergency
Medical Services (EMS) Systems Act (EMS Act) (210 ILCS
50/3.150(a) (West 2004)) applied to plaintiff's
allegations rather than sections of the Local Governmental
and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (Tort Immunity
Act) (745 ILCS 10/6-105, 6-106(a) (West 2004)) and remanded
the case for further proceedings. Abruzzo v. City of Park
Ridge, 231 Ill.2d 324, 348 (2008). All of these legal
peregrinations are fully explicated in our opinion which
affirmed the jury's subsequent verdict of $5, 187, 500.
See Abruzzo v. City of Park Ridge, 2013 IL App (1st)
122360. In that opinion, we found that the evidence
established a complete lack of any assessment, diagnosis,
treatment, or professional judgment by the responding
emergency medical technicians or paramedics in the first trip
to the family home. Part of that proof involved an admission
made by a Park Ridge lawyer in a reply brief in which the
city was claiming immunity because their paramedics provided
"no treatment" at the first stop.
6 When confronted with the sizeable judgment affirmed by this
court, Park Ridge made efforts to resolve the
Abruzzo case, but ran into resistance from
Clarendon, which sought to apply the monies paid in the
Gorman matters to a $2 million aggregate limit in its policy
with the city. After some negotiations, Park Ridge and HELP
agreed to provide the necessary funds to settle the case,
while leaving the matter of Clarendon's potential
contribution to be litigated later, with Park Ridge claiming
that Clarendon was obligated to pay its $2 million
"occurrence" limit and Clarendon claiming that the
money paid in the Gorman matter should have been subtracted
from its $2 million "aggregate" limit under another
section of the policy.
7 The Insurance Litigation
8 Appellants filed a three-count complaint against Clarendon.
Count I sought declaratory relief that Clarendon was
obligated to pay a $2 million occurrence limit in
Abruzzo because the facts of that case took it out
of the "aggregate" limit provided for
"Personal Injury, " "Public Officials'
Errors and Omissions, " or the "Products-Completed
Operations Hazard" as punctiliously detailed in the
relevant policy. Count II claimed a breach of contract owing
to the refusal to pay the $2 million. Count III sought
additional monies from Clarendon owing to its obligation to
indemnify and defend Park Ridge in the second Gorman suit,
alleging that the aggregate limit was not fully eroded in
Gorman I. Clarendon filed counterclaims, which were answered
by Park Ridge and HELP, and ultimately, the disputes
culminated with dueling motions for summary judgment, which
will be analyzed below.
9 The Clarendon Policy
10 We will recite the relevant portions of the Clarendon
policy before analyzing the trial court's interpretation
thereof which led to its contested ruling. The policy held
"[s]ubject to the other provisions of this policy, the
Company will pay on behalf of the Insured that portion of the
Ultimate Net Loss in excess of the Retained Amount, which the
Insured shall have become legally obligated to pay as damages
and related Claims Expense because of Bodily Injury, Property
Damage, Personal Injury or ...