Thursday, March 17, 2011

Forum Selection Clause Upheld in Allegheny County Post-Koken Case

I recently came across an Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas decision in the case of Lowry v. Aliquo and Erie Insurance Exchange, 159 PLJ 35 (Alleg. Co. 2010, Strassburger, J.), in which the Court enforced the carrier’s forum selection clause for a UIM claim and transferred the action to Butler County.

In this case matter, Erie filed Preliminary Objections based upon venue to the Plaintiff’s Complaint. The Erie policy provided that the insured was required to file suit against Erie in the county in which the insured resided. In this case, the insured resided in Butler County.

The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas determined that Erie’s forum selection clause was valid. Accordingly, the case was transferred to Butler County.

The Allegheny Court also noted that the trial courts in Butler County have ruled that a UIM claim should be severed from the claim against the tortfeasor. As such, the Court in Allegheny County also severed the UIM claim from the claim against the tortfeasor and transferred only the UIM claim to Butler County.

I send thanks to Attorney Tom McDonnell of the Pittsburgh law firm of Summers McDonnell for bringing this case to my attention.

Anyone desiring a copy of this case may contact me at dancummins@comcast.net.

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