State Farm seeks dismissal from police officer's suit

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Oct 7, 2013

An insurance company seeks to be dismissed from a Washington Park police officer’s lawsuit alleging he is owed money for injuries from an automobile accident with an intoxicated driver.

According to the complaint filed April 23, police officer Donald Hubert Jr. claims he was working on April 7 around 5:30 a.m. when he attempted to stop co-defendant Jonathan D. Klein, who was allegedly driving erratically.

“Instead of complying with the lawful instructions of a police officer, defendant Klein recklessly, and while intoxicated, drove his motor vehicle into the police car of plaintiff, resulting in injuries to plaintiff Hubert,” the suit states.

According to the complaint, Hubert had a policy through State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company that was supposed to protect him if he got into a collision with an uninsured motorist at the time of the crash.

State Farm filed a motion to dismiss on Aug. 20 arguing that Hubert failed to state “facts giving rise to a cause of action, contractual or otherwise” in his complaint. It also states that punitive damages should be stricken because Hubert allegedly failed to include a factual basis establishing rights to such damages.

Hubert filed a motion to strike State Farm’s motion to dismiss on Aug. 22 through his attorney Thomas G. Maag of the Maag Law Firm, LLC, claiming State Farm is liable on all counts against it.

Hubert accuses State Farm of waiting too long to file its motion to dismiss. The motion to strike states that State Farm had 30 days, or until Aug. 1 to respond before the order was final.

State Farm replied to the motion to strike on Aug. 23 by filing a brief in support of the motion to set aside default ruling. State Farm argued that it was allowed to file the motion to dismiss later than 30 days.

“Motions to vacate default judgment under section 2-1301(e) are to be granted liberally in Illinois,” the brief states, “much like amendments to pleadings.”

State Farm argues that the complaint had its name entered as State Farm Mutual Insurance Company, which is a nonentity. Also, the service documents were delivered to a State Farm insurance sales agent who has no connection with anyone involved in the case, the insurer states.

“A court properly refuses to enforce a previous judgment against a defendant when the judgment does not name the parties appropriately,” the brief states.

State Farm also states that “language does not magically convert a non-final order into a final order,” alleging no final orders have been entered.

Hubert also names Washington Park as a defendant, blaming it for failing to secure workers’ compensation insurance and failing to provide him with a safe place to work.

He also names Mega Leasing Corporation as a defendant, blaming it for selling the alcohol to Klein, which allegedly caused him to become intoxicated.

Hubert seeks a judgment of more than $100,000, compensatory damages of more than $100,000, and punitive damages of more than $100,000.

On Sep. 27, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson scheduled a motion hearing for Nov. 12 at 9 a.m.

Martin K. Morrissey of Reed, Armstrong, Mudge & Morrissey, P.C. in Edwardsville represents State Farm.

Maag Law Firm, LLC is located in Wood River.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 13-L-213

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