Tuesday, November 30, 2021

No Bad Faith Where Plaintiff Failed to Pay Premium and UIM Policy Was No Longer In Effect

In the case of Gonzales v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, No. CV 20-4193 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 21, 2021 Schmehl, J.), the court granted summary judgment in favor of the carrier in a breach of contract and bad faith claim in the UIM/medical payments context.

The court noted that summary judgment was entered in favor of the carrier on the basis that the insured failed make all payments necessary to keep the policy in effect.

Given that the policy was not in effect at the time of the incident at issue, the court found that the carrier could not have breached its coverage obligations.

The court noted that, given that the carrier was granted summary judgment on the breach of contract claim, it followed that carrier was also entitled to summary judgment on the bad faith claims as well.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney Lee Applebaum, the writer of the excellent Pennsylvania New Jersey Insurance Bad Faith Case Law blog for bringing this case to my attention. Attorney Applebaum is with the Philadelphia law firm of Fineman Krekstein & Harris.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Registration Now Open for Upcoming Tort Talk CLE via Zoom - December 21, 2021 at 12:30 p.m.


in conjunction with 



(Via ZOOM)

Tuesday, December 21, 2021
12:30 pm - 1:30 p.m.

Join Daniel E. Cummins, writer of the Tort Talk Blog (www.TortTalk.com), via Zoom for his hourlong review and analysis of the top civil litigation decisions and trends from over the past year or so.  Cases and trends in the areas of Auto Law, Premises Liability Law, Medical Malpractice Law, Pleadings Issues, Discovery Matters, and General Civil Litigation will be covered.


PADC Members - FREE

Non-Members - $45.00

To Register

Email David Cole, Executive Director of PADC

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Addresses Parameters of Coordinate Jurisdiction Rule

In the case of Rellick-Smith v. Rellick, No. 23 WAP 2020 (Pa. Oct. 20, 2021), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court addressed issues regarding the coordinate jurisdiction rule in terms of judges of the same jurisdiction overruling the decision of another judge from the same jurisdiction.

According to the Opinion, at the trial court level, one judge had first ruled that a defendant had waived a statute of limitations defense by failing to plead it, and a second trial court judge from the same court later allowed that defendant to amend the Answer and New Matter to plead the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense.    

At the Pennsylvania Supreme Court level, the Court in this decision found that a second judge’s Order allowing the amendment to a first judge’s Order necessarily conflicted with the first Order. The Supreme Court also found that the second decision by the second judge was actually precluded by the wording of the first Order that had been entered.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court additionally confirmed that the coordinate jurisdiction rule could not be avoided by any claims that the first Order was erroneous or that there had been some intervening change in the law.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

To view Justice Donohue's Concurring Opinion, please click HERE.

To view Chief Justice Baer's Dissenting Opinion, please click HERE.

To view Justice Mundy's Dissenting Opinion, please click HERE.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021






Grateful for your readership and your contributions to TortTalk.com

Thank you very much.

Dan Cummins

Source of image: Photo by Amy Shamblen on unsplash.com.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Sanctions Order Regarding Certificate of Merit Vacated on Appeal

In the case of Green v. The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, 2021 Pa. Super. 2009 (Pa. Super. Oct. 19, 2021 Bowes, J.), the court addressed the rules surrounding Certificate of Merit, the failure to produce one, and the possible sanctions as a result.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court described its opinion in this case as a “cautionary tale for attorneys or venture outside their area of expertise into unfamiliar specialized area of litigation without educating themselves on the applicable rules and law.”

This case arose out of a medical malpractice claim.

In its decision, the Pennsylvania Superior Court reviewed the current status of the law on sanctions under Pa.R.C.P. 1023.1 Pa.R.C.P. 1023.4 and Pa.R.C.P. 1042.

In the end, the appellate court vacated the trial court's entry of sanctions in the amount of over $84,000 and remanded the case for further analysis of the request for sanctions under the standard of review outlined in this case.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney Daniel J. Siegel of the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel in Havertown, Pennsylvania for bringing this case to my attention.

Source of image:  Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.com.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Another Victory for Carrier in Another Covid-19 Business Interruption Coverage Dispute

In the case of Warrick v. Aspen Am. Ins. Co., No. 2:21-CV-00250-WSS (W.D. Pa. Oct. 15, 2021 Stickman, J.), the court granted a Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss a Plaintiff’s claim for business interruption coverage based upon alleged COVID-19 losses.   

According to the Opinion, Warrick is a dentistry business.   During the COVID pandemic, the business had a policy with the Defendant insurance company, which included coverage for loss business income under covered circumstances.   

The court found that the governmental mitigation orders under the COVID-19 pandemic did not prohibit access to the Plaintiff’s premises and the Plaintiff’s alleged losses did not stem from direct physical damage to its property.  The court also found that there was no coverage under the business income, extra expenses, or civil authority provisions of the policy. 

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.”  Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Nov. 20, 2021). 

Source of image: Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels.com.

Friday, November 19, 2021