Monday, May 21, 2012

Judge Caputo of Federal Middle District Addresses UM/UIM Rejection Form Issue

In his recent decision in the case of Glazer v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., NO. 3:10-cv-1366 (M.D. Pa. May 17, 2012 Caputo, J.), Judge A. Richard Caputo of the Federal Middle District Court of Pennsylvania held that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decisions regarding Section 1738 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) in Sackett v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 919 A.2d 194 (Pa. 2007) (Sackett I), modified on reargument, 940 A.2d 329 (Pa. 2007) (Sackett II) do not apply to the requirements of Section 1731 relating to the outright rejection of uninsured and underinsured motorist benefits.

The Glazer Court held that the Section 1731 rejection form applies throughout the lifetime of the insured's policy as established by the Pennsylvania Superior Court's decision in the case of Smith v. Hartford Ins. Co., 849 A.2d 277 (Pa. Super. 2004).

Therefore, the Glazer decision reaffirms that, when a new car is added to a policy where uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage was already rejected, there is no requirement that a new rejection form be obtained.

Stated otherwise, Judge Caputo applied the Smith decision to rule that a new rejection form is not mandated every single time a new car is added to the policy.  In contrast, under the Sackett decisions, new form are required under Section 1738 regarding stacking whenever uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage had already been previously purchased by the insured and new vehicles are added.

I send thanks to Attorney Paul Oven of the Moosic law firm of Dougherty, Leventhal & Price for bringing the Glazer decision to my attention and to Attorney Scott Cooper of the Harrisburg law firm of Schmidt Kramer for explanatory commentary on this decision.

Anyone desiring a copy of the Glazer decision may click this LINK.

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