AUSTIN L. CHERRY and LESLEY TAYLOR, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
ELEPHANT INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., d/b/a Elephant Auto Insurance, Defendant-Appellee.
from the Circuit Court of Massac County, No. 16-MR-10; the
Hon. Joseph Jackson, Judge, presiding.
R. Lambert and Stephen W. Stone, of Howerton, Dorris, Stone
& Lambert, of Marion, for appellants.
T. Madrid, of Shelton & Madrid, LLC, of St. Louis,
Missouri, for appellee.
JUSTICE WELCH delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Cates and Moore concurred in the judgment
1 The plaintiffs, Austin Cherry (Cherry) and Lesley Taylor
(Taylor), were injured when Cherry's vehicle was struck
by an underinsured driver on June 6, 2015, in Massac County,
Illinois. His vehicle was insured by the defendant, Elephant
Insurance Company (Elephant). Both plaintiffs settled their
bodily injury claims with the at-fault driver's
automobile insurer for $25, 000, though their damages far
exceeded that amount. The plaintiffs filed a complaint for
declaratory judgment against Elephant on February 9, 2016,
asking the circuit court to find that Elephant's policy
provides $300, 000 in underinsured motorist coverage to both
plaintiffs, as the policy allowed aggregation of the
liability limits of the underinsured motorist coverage on
four vehicles. The plaintiffs filed a motion for summary
judgment on July 13, 2016, and Elephant filed a motion for
summary judgment on August 30, 2016. On February 27, 2017,
the circuit court entered an order denying the
plaintiffs' motion and granting Elephant's motion.
For the following reasons, we reverse the judgment of the
2 At the time of the accident, Cherry was driving a 2008 Ford
Focus with Taylor as his passenger. Cherry was insured under
a policy issued by Elephant. At the plaintiffs' request,
Christy Parks, a product compliance specialist for Elephant,
sent them a certified copy of the policy on November 6, 2015.
This copy, which was attached to the plaintiffs'
complaint for declaratory judgment, included the declarations
page, cover page, and the policy details.
3 The policy was issued to Richard Cherry, Austin
Cherry's father, for a period extending from January 12,
2015, to January 12, 2016. The drivers listed on the policy
declaration page are Richard A. Cherry, Amy Cherry, Austin
Cherry, and Israel Cherry. On the next two sheets of the
declaration page, under "Coverage Outline, " the
policy shows four insured vehicles: the 2008 Ford Focus that
Cherry was driving at the time of the accident, a 2010 Kia
Soul, a 2010 Ford Flex, and a 2006 BMW 330. The policy
charged four separate premiums, one for each vehicle. The
coverage type and the corresponding limits of liability are
listed separately for each vehicle. Each vehicle under the
policy carried coverage for "uninsured/underinsured
motorist-bodily injury" with a limit listed as
"$25, 000/$50, 000." For clarity, the declaration
pages in their original formatting are included at the end of
4 Following the declaration pages, the policy has a cover
page titled "Illinois Personal Auto Policy." In the
bottom left corner, in smaller type, the page reads:
"READ YOUR POLICY, DECLARATIONS, AND ENDORSEMENTS
The automobile insurance contract between the named insured
and Elephant consists of this policy, plus the declarations
page and any applicable endorsements.
The policy provides the coverages, and amounts of insurance
are shown on the declarations when premium is charged."
table of contents, the first paragraph in the policy, titled
"AUTO POLICY, " states:
"This policy is a contract between the named insured
shown on the declarations page and us. This contract, the
declarations page, your Application and any endorsements that
apply to this contract contain all of the agreements between
you and us. If you pay the required premium when due, we will
provide the insurance described in this contract."
listing general definitions, the policy is divided into
parts. Part A describes liability coverage, part B describes
medical payments coverage, part C describes
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, part D describes
damage to an auto (collision coverage), and part E describes
roadside assistance coverage.
5 In part C's description of uninsured/underinsured
motorist coverage, under "LIMITS OF LIABILITY, "
the policy states:
"There will be no stacking or combining of coverage
afforded to more than one auto under this policy. The limit
of liability shown on the declarations page for the coverages
under Part C is the most we will pay regardless of the number
1. Claims made;
2. Covered ...