Monday, March 11, 2013

Superior Court's Latest Opinion on Stacking

Here is a LINK to the Pennsylvania Superior Court's latest decision on the issue of stacked UM coverage in the case of Bumbarger v. Peerless Ins. Co., 2013 Pa.Super. 47 (Pa.Super. March 8, 2013 Musmanno, J., Wecht, J., and Colville, J.)(Colville, J., dissenting)(Opinion by Wecht, J.).

In this case, the Plaintiff was involved in an accident with an uninsured driver and filed suit against her own carrier for uninsured motorists benefits.  An issue arose as to whether or not the Plaintiff was entitled to stacked coverage. 

The Plaintiff had waived stacked coverage when she originally purchased the policy for coverage on two vehicles.  She eventually later separately added two more vehicles to the policy but the carrier never obtained additional waivers of stacked coverage from the Plaintiff insured.  One of the additional vehicles was added under an endorsement to the policy and, when the fourth vehicle was added to the policy, it was not by way of an endorsement.

The Plaintiff contended that pursuant to the Sackett decisions, the carrier was required to obtain additional waivers of stacking from its insured when the third and fourth vehicles were added to the policy.  The Plaintiff asserted that the carrier breached the policy by failing to allow for stacked coverage.

If it was deemed by the court that the coverage need not be stacked, the Plaintiff would be entitled to $25,000 in coverage.  If stacked coverage was found to be warranted, the stacked coverage would have been $100,000.

After reviewing the law on the issue as applied to the particular facts presented, the court ruled that new waiver of stacking forms were required and that the failure to secure the waivers resulted in the Plaintiff being entitled to stacked coverage.

As this issue is somewhat convoluted, I have provided a link to the opinion above if you wish to review the same.  Here is a LINK to Judge Colville's dissenting opinion.

I send thanks to The Legal Intelligencer/Pennsylvania Law Weekly reporter Ben Present for bringing this case to my attention.

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