United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
CONTINENTAL WESTERN INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant,
COUNTRY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant/Counter-Claimant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
declaratory judgment action arises from a vehicle accident
that occurred in September 2012. The accident resulted in
significant injuries to the passengers of both vehicles-and
three separate lawsuits, all of which have now settled. The
issue presently before this Court is which insurance
company's policy provided primary coverage for the Hamel
Fire Protection District (“Hamel Fire”), a
defendant in each of the three lawsuits.
November 9, 2017, Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant Continental
Western Insurance Company (“Continental”) filed a
Complaint for Declaratory Judgment against Country Mutual
Insurance Company (“Country Mutual”) (Doc. 1). On
June 13, 2018, Country Mutual filed a Counterclaim for
Declaratory Judgment (Doc. 25). Continental contends that
Country Mutual's policy provided primary coverage for its
insured, Hamel Fire, while Country Mutual claims
Continental's policy provided primary coverage for both
Hamel Fire and Country Mutual's insured, Alhambra-Hamel
Ambulance Service. Both insurance companies contend that the
other's policy provided primary coverage over and above
any coverage provided by its own policy.
has now moved for summary judgment on Counts I, II, and III
of its Complaint for Declaratory Judgment, as well as on
Counts I, II, and III of Country Mutual's Counterclaim
(Doc. 38). Country Mutual did not file a cross-motion for
summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below,
Continental's motion is granted.
The Underlying Accident
September 17, 2012, an ambulance responding to an emergency
call suddenly turned right from the left-hand lane of
southbound Interstate 55 in an attempt to go up the exit ramp
of a rest area for southbound traffic (Doc. 38-1). A
semi-truck owned by Specialized Transportation, Inc.
(“STI”) and driven by Daniel Eddinger was in the
right-hand land of the interstate (Id.). Unable to
stop, the truck struck the right side of the ambulance
ambulance, driven by Theodore Berg., Jr., was operated by
Alhambra-Hamel Ambulance Service. The Alhambra-Hamel
Ambulance Service is a joint enterprise formed in 1989 by
Hamel Fire and the Alhambra Fire Protection District
(“Alhambra Fire”) to provide ambulance service to
the residents of both fire districts (Doc. 49 at p. 14).
agreement between the Alhambra and Hamel fire protection
districts provided that “[a]ll property; both real and
personal, acquired by Alhambra and Hamel hereunder shall be
owned equally by them” (Id. at p. 15). Under
Section 3 of the Bylaws of the ambulance service, the
trustees agreed to “join funds, tax monies, clerical
and equipment to function as one service” called the
Alhambra-Hamel Ambulance Service (Id. at p. 21).
The Underlying Lawsuits
September 17, 2012 accident resulted in significant injuries
to passengers of both the ambulance and the semi-truck, as
well as three separate lawsuits filed in the Circuit Court of
Madison County, Illinois.
Conway, et al. v. Alhambra-Hamel Ambulance Services, et
al. (Doc. 38-1)
Conway, the co-driver and passenger in the semi at the time
of the accident, was seriously injured in the collision. He
filed suit asserting negligence claims against Alhambra Fire,
Hamel Fire, and Alhambra-Hamel Ambulance Service, alleging
Berg was their agent and driver acting within the scope of
his employment. He also sued Berg individually.
Eddinger v. Alhambra-Hamel Ambulance Service, et al.
the driver of the semi owned by STI, also suffered injuries
and filed suit against Berg, Alhambra-Hamel Ambulance
Service, Alhambra Fire, and Hamel Fire. His lawsuit alleged
Berg was an agent of the defendants and that, while acting
within the scope of his agency, he operated an ambulance
owned by Alhambra-Hamel Ambulance Service and caused the
ambulance to collide with the truck. Eddinger alleged claims
of negligence against each defendant.
Specialized Transportation, Inc. v. Alhambra-Hamel
Ambulance Service, et al. (the “STI Third-Party
lawsuit”) (Doc. 38-3)
Logue, a passenger in the ambulance, filed a lawsuit against
Eddinger and STI, titled Logue v. Eddinger, et al.
STI then filed a third-party complaint against Alhambra-Hamel
Ambulance Service, Alhambra Fire, and Hamel Fire. The STI
Third-Party Complaint denied liability to Logue but contended
that, if judgment was entered against STI and in favor of
Logue, STI was entitled to contribution from Alhambra Fire,
Hamel Fire, and/or Alhambra-Hamel Ambulance Service.
three cases have settled; the remaining issue is which
insurance company- Continental or Country Mutual-is
responsible for paying the defense fees incurred in defending
Hamel Fire in the three lawsuits.