Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Monroe County Post-Koken Consolidation vs. Severance Issue Uncovered

In an Order handed down back on July 11, 2012 in the case of Cocuzza v. Castro, No. 406-Civil-2012 (C.P. Monroe Co. July 11, 2012 Zulick, J.), Judge Arthur L. Zulick came down on the side of consolidation of claims in terms of post-Koken matters when the Court denied the UIM carrier’s Preliminary Objections.

Judge Arthur L. Zulick
Monroe County
In his Opinion, Judge Zulick confirmed that there was no appellate decision on the issue presented of consolidation versus severance as of that date (and as of this date for that matter). The Court also noted that there was a split of authority and an arguable majority rule in favor of bifurcation at that point in time of July of 2012 when this Cocuzza decision was handed down.

However, Judge Zulick found that allowing the case to proceed through discovery in a consolidated fashion would save judicial resources and avoid unnecessary delay and expenses to the parties. Accordingly, Judge Zulick ruled in favor of consolidation and noted that his “decision is without prejudice to any party bringing an appropriate Motion to Sever or Bifurcate after discovery is complete and the case is ready to proceed to trial.”

This is the only reported decision I have come across to date out of Monroe County. If anyone is in possession of any other cases out of that county, or any other county that has not yet been reported here on Tort Talk, I would appreciate it if you could please let me know and provide me with a copy of the decision.  In this way, we can all work together to stay apprised as to the lastest status of the decisions on these novel Post-Koken issues.

Anyone desiring a copy of this decision of Cocuzza v. Castro may contact me at dancummins@comcast.net.

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