November 28, 2006
MARY ALICE SMITH, )
) Appeal from the
Plaintiff-Appellant, ) Circuit Court of
v. ) Cook County.
STATE FARM INSURANCE COMPANIES, )
Defendant-Appellee. ) Barbara J. Disko,
) Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE SOUTH delivered the opinion of the court:
This appeal arises from an order of the circuit court which granted summary judgment in
favor of defendant, State Farm Insurance Companies (State Farm), and against plaintiff, Mary
Alice Smith, on the grounds that she had released her right to bring a claim for State Farm’s
alleged vexatious and unreasonable delay in handling her uninsured motorist claim by virtue of the
parties’ arbitration agreement.
In December 2001, plaintiff was involved in an accident wherein she was struck and
injured by a hit-and-run driver. She was insured by State Farm under an $100,000 uninsured
motorist policy and subsequently filed a claim. On or about August 15, 2003, State Farm offered
to settle her claim under her uninsured motorist policy for $13,000. She rejected that offer and
retained an attorney, who on December 9, 2003, demanded arbitration pursuant to State Farm’s
insurance policy requirements for uninsured motorist coverage. On or about October 25, 2004,