Log In

Gaudina v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co.

2014 IL App (1st) 131264 (Ill. App., 2014)

Words & Phrases

Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Definitions Insured

Trial Judge

Hon. LeRoy Martin

Appellate Judge

Justice Palmer


Plaintiff did not primarily reside with his wife at time of accident and thus was not an insured..

Fact Summary

At the hearing on the motions for summary judgment on March 18, 2013, the circuit court held that the definition of “spouse” in the policy was not ambiguous and it should assess whether a person was a “spouse” for purposes of coverage at the time of the accident. Considering the undisputed facts, the circuit court concluded that Rife’s residence was not Gaudina’s primary residence at the time of the accident, based on the admissions of both Gaudina and Rife, and, consequently, Gaudina was not covered under Rife’s underinsured motorist policy. The court also held that damages under section 155 were not appropriate. The circuit court entered an order granting State Farm’s motion for summary judgment against both claims in Gaudina’s complaint, denying Gaudina’s motion for summary judgment, and entering judgment in favor of State Farm. Gaudina filed a timely notice of appeal. Appellate court affirmed.

In his deposition, Gaudina testified that he and Rife married in 2006 and had one child in 2007. Gaudina moved from Kansas to Rife’s house in Crystal Lake, Illinois, when they got married. In approximately February 2007, they moved into a house at 774 Chisholm Trail in Roselle, Illinois. The title to the Chisholm Trail house was in Rife’s name only and Gaudina did not contribute money to the purchase of the house, although he helped renovate it. Gaudina testified that in September 2008, Rife told Gaudina to leave the household; he had quit his job and had been unemployed for a long period of time, which Rife was unhappy about. Gaudina testified that Rife told him to leave until he found a job because Rife felt that she was holding him back. Gaudina testified that Rife “finally had enough” and told him “[g]o out and find something. Get your life together. And come back.” Gaudina testified that he intended to return at some point and resume permanently living there with Rife, and the couple had attended marital counseling.

¶ 9  When he left, Gaudina took some clothes and toiletries. He testified that he left most of his clothes, pictures, other toiletries, and a few pieces of furniture at the Chisholm Trail house. He also testified that he would spend one or two nights a week at the house, or stop by to visit his daughter in the afternoon if he was in the area. He had a garage door opener for the house. Initially, he and Rife opened a joint checking account, but they got separate accounts when they separated in September 2008. He did not pay child support and he and his wife never filed for divorce. His name was taken off the utility bills when he left, and he did not pay any household expenses during the time he was not living there, except for the cable bill.

¶ 10  Gaudina testified that he lived in his car at first, and then rented a room in a townhouse in Lake Barrington, Illinois, in October 2008, and retrieved more of his clothes from the Chisholm Trail address. Gaudina testified that he eventually found employment as a driver for the limousine company in early 2009, but Rife did not ask him to return to the house because “she wanted to see if it was going to work.” He believed that the W-2 statements from his job were sent to a post office box that he kept or to the Chisholm Trail address. He lived at the Lake Barrington townhouse until the accident in December 2009. At the time of the accident, Gaudina had a Kansas driver’s license, but he later changed to an Illinois license, and the Illinois license listed the address in Lake Barrington. He affirmed that a January 2010 explanation of benefits from his health insurance provider listed the Lake Barrington address and that he had provided the address. He also used the Lake Barrington address for his workers’ compensation claim relating to the December 8, 2009 accident. He testified that he had an insurance policy through State Farm for the car he owned, but he did not know whether it was in effect at the time of the accident.

¶ 11  Immediately following the accident, Gaudina was hospitalized. He testified that he then went to the live at the Chisholm Trail address because Rife offered to provide care for him as he recuperated. He was hospitalized two times thereafter because of complications. He and Rife moved his belongings out of the Lake Barrington address at some point after the accident. Ultimately, Rife again asked Gaudina to leave the Chisholm Trail house on December 15, 2010, because his failure to find employment was causing her stress. He lived in his car and in homeless shelters, and he later lived in a rented office in Elgin.

¶ 12  At the time of the deposition, Gaudina was living with his daughter, for whom he was the primary caregiver, in a house on Flamingo Drive in Roselle. He had lived there since August 2011 and shared the house with a few other men. In answer to an interrogatory requesting all residences that Gaudina had maintained since 2007, Gaudina listed the address on Chisholm Trail in Roselle, the townhouse in Lake Barrington, and the house in Flamingo Drive in Roselle.