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State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Bierman

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fifth District

September 10, 2019

STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
BRITTANY BIERMAN, as Special Administrator of the Estate of Blake Edward Miller, Deceased, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Marion County. No. 17-MR-48 Honorable Michael D. McHaney, Judge, presiding.

          Attorney for Appellant Eric L. Terlizzi,

          Attorneys for Appellee Elizaveta Klementieva, Frank C. Stevens, Taylor Miller LLC

          PRESIDING JUSTICE OVERSTREET delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Cates and Moore concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          OVERSTREET PRESIDING JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 The decedent, Blake Edward Miller, died as a result of injuries he sustained in a collision involving a nonowned, uninsured vehicle. The plaintiff, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm), brought action against Brittany Bierman, as special administrator of Blake's estate, seeking a declaratory judgment that it owed no coverage for Blake's injuries. State Farm asserted that Blake was not an "insured" for purposes of uninsured motorist coverage and medical payments coverage under three policies of automobile liability insurance issued by State Farm to Winnie Robertson, Blake's former stepmother. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the circuit court entered summary judgment in favor of State Farm. Brittany appeals the circuit court's order. For the following reasons, we reverse the circuit court's order, and we remand for further proceedings.

         ¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 3 On June 18, 2016, Blake, a passenger in a nonowned, uninsured vehicle driven by Jared Simcox, was critically injured in a one-vehicle collision, and on July 6, 2016, Blake died from his injuries. On the date of the accident, Blake had been living rent-free with Winnie in her home in Sandoval, Illinois, for approximately six months. Blake, born in 1986, was the biological son of Jodie Ramsey and David Miller. David was married to Winnie from 1993 until 2003, when they divorced, but David continued to periodically reside with Winnie postdivorce until his death in 2009. Winnie never adopted Blake.

         ¶ 4 Winnie was a named insured pursuant to three State Farm insurance policies, each of which provided uninsured motorist coverage to insureds thereunder. Specifically, State Farm issued policies of motor vehicle insurance to Winnie for a 2000 Ford F-150 pickup truck, another 2000 Ford F-150 pickup truck, and a 2006 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and the policies were in effect on the date of the automobile accident. All three policies provided uninsured motorist coverage of $100, 000 per person/$300, 000 per accident. The two policies issued to the Ford pickup trucks also included medical payments coverage of $10, 000.

         ¶ 5 The policies provided, in pertinent part:

         "DEFINITONS

Non-Owned Car means a car that is in the lawful possession of you or any resident relative and that neither:
1. is owned by:
a. you;
b. any resident relative;
c. any other person who resides primarily in your household; or
d. an employer of any person described in a., b., or c. above; nor
2. has been operated by, rented by, or in the possession of:
a. you; or
b. any resident relative
during any part of each of the 31 or more consecutive days immediately prior to the date of the accident or loss.
Resident Relative means a person, other than you, who resides primarily with the first person shown as a named insured on the Declarations Page and who is:
1. related to that named insured or his or her spouse by blood, marriage, or adoption, including an unmarried and unemancipated child of either who is away at school and otherwise maintains his or her primary residence with that named insured; or
2. a ward or a foster child of that named insured, his or her spouse, or a person ...

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