Friday, January 17, 2014

Judge Hughes of Luzerne County Denies UIM Carrier's Preliminary Objections to Sever in DUI/Punitive Damages Case

In his recent Order without an Opinion in the Post-Koken case of  Hoinski v. Farrell and Erie Ins. Co., No. 7270-CV-2013 (C.P. Luz. Co. 2013 Hughes, J.), Judge Richard Hughes of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas denied Preliminary Objections filed by the UIM carrier seeking a severance of claims.

In doing so, the court followed the general rule in Luzerne County of keeping Post-Koken cases consolidated at least through discovery.

In this Hoinski case, the UIM carrier sought severance particularly in light of the fact that the tortfeasor was charged with a DUI and the Complaint sought punitive damages against the tortfeasor.  The UIM carrier argued that it would be too prejudicial to be coupled with such a co-defendant at trial.

Judge Richard Hughes
Luzerne County
Judge Hughes denied the Preliminary Objections for severance without prejudice to the UIM carrier's right to file a later motion for bifurcation with the trial judge.

Anyone wishing to review this Order may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney Ann Farias of the O'Donnell Law Offices for bringing this decision to my attention.

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