Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cumberland County Case in Favor of Severance of Post-Koken Claims

In the first Post-Koken decision (by Order only) on the issue of consolidation vs. severance of claims I have come across out of Cumberland County, Judge M.L. Ebert, Jr. has come down in favor of the severance of claims.

In Henry v. Amin and Westfield Ins. Co., No. 11-4881 Civil (C.P. Cumberland Sept. 1, 2011 Ebert, J.), the Plaintiff had combined a negligence claim against the tortfeasor with a breach of contract claim against the UIM carrier.  There was no bad faith claim presented.

Judge Ebert granted the tortfeasor's preliminary objections to the Complaint and Ordered that the claims be severed.  The court specifically directed the Plaintiff to file a separate Complaint for the UIM claim.

In his Order, Judge Ebert also directed that the Complaint against the tortfeasor for negligence would be tried first followed by a trial on the Complaint against the UIM carrier for UIM benefits. 


According to a review of the Post-Koken Scorecard here on TortTalk.com, the Cumberland County decision tips the scales ever so slightly with arguably at least 16 counties across the Commonwealth in favor of severance and 15 counties in favor of consolidation.  To date, there still has not been any appellate decision handed down on this issue.

The Post-Koken Scorecard can always be accessed by scrolling down the right hand column of the blog and clicking on the date listed under the label "Post-Koken Scorecard."



Anyone desiring a copy of Judge Ebert's Order in the case of Henry v. Amin and Westfield Ins. Co. may contact me at dancummins@comcast.net.

I thank the prevailing defense attorney, Donald L. Carmelite, Esq. of the Harrisburg Office of Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin, for forwarding this decision to my attention.

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