Tort Talkers may recall that I previously reported on the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas decision in Hopkins v. Erie Insurance Company regarding the analysis of a statute of limitations argument in a UIM case. See THIS POST for more background on the case and issue presented.
Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the lower court decision last Friday, April 19, 2013 in Hopkins v. Erie Insurance Company, 2013 Pa.Super. 90, 35 EDA 2012 (Pa.Super. 2013 Gantman, Allen, and Ott, JJ.)(Opinion by Allen, J.)(Concurrence by Gantman, J.).
The Superior Court held that a UIM cause of
action accrues when the third party case settled and not when the contract
was allegedly breached when Erie denied the claim. In so ruling ,the Superior Court followed the
reasoning of the united States Court of Appeals of the Third Circuit in State
Farm v. Rosenthal, 484 F.3d 251 (3d Cir. 2007).
Ultimately, the Superior Court held that "the
four-year statute of limitations on underinsured motorist claims begins to
run when the insured settles with, or secures a judgment against,
the underinsured owner or operator."
The court also found that there
was no error in the trial court declining to equitably toll the statute of
Anyone wishing to view the Opinion may click this link:
I send thanks to Attorney Joe Walsh of Walsh Pancio in Lansdale, PA, Attorney Scott Cooper of Schmidt Kramer in Harrisburg, PA, and Attorney Paul Oven of the Moosic law firm of Dougherty, Leventhal & Price for bringing this case to my attention.