Friday, October 1, 2010

Another Luzerne County Post-Koken Decision in Favor of Consolidation of Claims

On September 21, 2010, Judge Joseph M. Cosgrove of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas issued an Opinion and Order in the post-Koken case of Borthwick v. Webb and GEICO, No. 2735 - Civil - 2010 (Luz. Co. 2010 Cosgrove, J.), denying the Preliminary Objections of Defendant GEICO, the UIM carrier, seeking a severance of the first party claims against it(breach of contract (UIM) and Bad Faith) from the third party liability claims, and, in the alternative a severance of the UIM claims and Bad Faith claims filed against GEICO.

In his Opinion, Judge Cosgrove noted that “[t]hese questions are hardly novel, having been addressed by courts throughout this Commonwealth (including this Court) with increasing frequencies….”

In this regard, the Court, by footnote, cited my article, “A Growing Need for Guidance,” from the June 29, 2010 Legal Intelligencer [Pennsylvania Law Weekly]. The Court noted that, in that article, the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas was noted to be consistent in refusing requests to sever underinsured or uninsured motorist claims from the third party liability case.

Judge Cosgrove found that there was nothing in the record in the Borthwick case before him which persuaded him to hold otherwise. As such, he denied the Preliminary Objections of the UIM carrier seeking a severance of the claims presented.

Anyone desiring a copy of this Opinion may contact me at

I thank the prevailing Plaintiff's attorney, James J. Conaboy, Esquire of the Scranton law firm of Abrahamsen, Conaboy & Abrahamsen for forwarding this decision to my attention for inclusion in the Post-Koken Scorecard.

The Post-Koken Scorecard can be accessed by scrolling down the right-hand column of Tort Talk and clicking on the date under "Post-Koken Scorecard." I plan to update the Scorecard over the weekend.

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