Monday, April 22, 2013

Pennsylvania Superior Court Addresses Statute of Limitations for UIM Claim

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 limitations.

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.

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