Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Another Transfer of Venue Post-Koken Case (Luzerne County)

In a recently produced decision (but not so recent decision--the Luzerne County Prothonotary only recently sent out the Court's Order due to a mix-up) by Judge William Amesbury of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas in the case of Walls v. Erie Ins. Co. and Muneshwar, No. 15095 of 2009 (Luz. Co. Feb. 24, 2010, Amesbury, J.), the court transfered a post-Koken case to its proper venue of Columbia County.

In this case, the Plaintiff resided in Columbia County and was involved in a Luzerne County car accident. The Plaintiff filed a lawsuit in Luzerne County against the tortfeasor and the UIM carrier.

The policy of the UIM carrier, Erie Insurance, provided that all UIM claims must be filed in the county of the Plaintiff's residence which, as noted, was Columbia county in this case.

Judge Amesbury rejected the Plaintiff's argument that, for purposes of judicial economy, all of the claims should be tried together and, since suit was proper against the tortfeasor in Luzerne County because that was where the accident occurred, then Luzerne County should be considered an appropriate venue.

In his Order, without Opinion, Judge Amesbury sustained the UIM carrier's preliminary objections on the basis of improper venue and cited the rationale in the case of Central Contracting Co. v. C.E. Youngdahl & Co., 209 A.2d 810 (Pa. 1965).

I thank the Erie Insurance defense attorney Robert T. Panowicz, of Panowicz Law Offices in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania for bringing this case to my attention.

Anyone desiring a copy of this case may contact me at

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