Monday, June 9, 2014

A Slew of Additional Post-Koken Cases of Note Gathered From Materials from PAAJ's 32nd Annual Pennsylvania Automobile Law CLE

Below is a recitation of additional Post-Koken cases noted in the written materials handed out at the Pennsylvania Association for Justice's 32nd Annual Pennsylvania Automobile Law CLE seminar on May 29, 2014 in Philadelphia.


These cases will be added to the Post-Koken Scorecard which can always be freely accessed by going to the Tort Talk blog at www.TortTalk.com and scrolling down the right hand column and clicking on the date noted under "Post-Koken Scorecard." 
Here is a quick LINK to the Post-Koken Scorecard for your easy reference now.



CASES IN FAVOR OF CONSOLIDATION OF POST-KOKEN CLAIMS

Chester County

Allen v. Schreiber, et al., No. 3787-2012 (C.P. Chester July 2, 2013 Mahon, J.)(By Order without Opinion, trial court overruled UIM carrier’s Preliminary Objections seeking to sever UIM and negligence claims.).

 

Delaware County

Gallo v. Maiale & Grange Ins. Co., No. 2012-05963 (C.P. Delaware August 12, 2013 Fizzano-Cannon, J.)(Plaintiff sued third party tortfeasor and UIM carrier under one Complaint. By Order without Opinion, trial court denied UIM carrier’s motion for summary judgment which sought dismissal on the grounds that the UIM claim was not ripe as the Plaintiff had not yet secured a settlement or verdict against the third party defendant driver.)

 

Schuylkill County

Post v. Schnerring & Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., No. S-1887-2012 (C.P. Schuylkill Oct. 22, 2013 Dolbin, J.)(By Order without Opinion, court denied UIM carrier’s motion to sever Plaintiff’s negligence and UIM claims.)

 

 

CASES IN FAVOR OF SEVERANCE OF POST-KOKEN CLAIMS

Philadelphia County

Giddings v. Poe & Metropolitan Ins. Group, Oct. Term, 2011 No. 02393 (C.P. Phila. April 26, 2012 Lachman, J.)(Following Sehl v. Neff decision by Judge Tereshko, trial court granted UIM carrier’s motion to sever UIM claims from negligence claims; court also cites law that negligence claim against defendant driver is wholly separate from UIM claim;  court also cites failure of plaintiff to allege joint and several liability;  court also cites potential confusion of issues and prejudice if joinder allowed.).

 

Nguyen v. Dorvil & Erie Ins. Exch., Oct. Term, 2011 No. 03880 (C.P. Phila. May 20, 2012 Lachman, J.)(Following Sehl v. Neff decision by Judge Tereshko, trial court granted UIM carrier’s motion to sever UIM claims from negligence claims; court also cites law that negligence claim against defendant driver is wholly separate from UIM claim;  court also cites failure of plaintiff to allege joint and several liability;  court also cites potential confusion of issues and prejudice if joinder allowed.).

 

Rios v. Parker & Allstate Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co, Nov. Term, 2011 No. 01208 (C.P. Phila. March 1, 2012 Lachman, J.)(Following Sehl v. Neff decision by Judge Tereshko, trial court granted UIM carrier’s motion to sever UIM claims from negligence claims; court also cites law that negligence claim against defendant driver is wholly separate from UIM claim;  court also cites failure of plaintiff to allege joint and several liability;  court also cites potential confusion of issues and prejudice if joinder allowed.).

 

Silver v. Wood, April Term, 2013 No. 00276 (C.P. Phila. Sept. 20, 2013 Lachman, J.)(Following Sehl v. Neff decision by Judge Tereshko, trial court denied plaintiff’s Petition to Amend Complaint to Add Additional Defendant, holding that negligence claim against defendant driver is wholly separate from UIM claim;  court also cites failure of plaintiff to allege joint and several liability;  court also cites potential confusion of issues and prejudice if joinder allowed.).

 

 

CASES IN FAVOR OF CONSOLIDATION OF BAD FAITH AND UIM CLAIMS

Western District Federal Court

Cooper v. MetLife Auto and Home, No. 687-2013 (W.D.Pa. Aug. 6, 2013 Conti, J.)(Court denied UIM carrier’s motion to sever and stay bad faith claim for failure to establish that bifurcation was appropriate.  Court found that the issues in the UIM and bad faith claims were not significantly different, many of the witnesses would be the same in both trials, and any minor prejudice that might exist was outweighed by the court’s obligation to promote the expeditious resolution of a case.).



Clinton County

Wentzel v. Swinehart & State Farm Ins. Co., No. 375-10CV (C.P. Clinton Co. June 3, 2010 Williamson, P.J.)(By Order without Opinion, court denied UIM carrier’s motion to sever bad faith claims pending resolution of UIM claims.).

 

Luzerne County

Schuckers v. Penn National Mut. Cas. Ins. Co., No. 9080 of 2011 (C.P. Luz. Co. Nov. 6, 2012 Amesbury, J.)(Court denied motion to sever and stay bad faith claims pending resolution of UIM claims by noting there would be a “severance of the case by application of law” in that the UIM case would be tried first followed by a bench trial on the bad faith claim.  Court also denied the UIM carrier’s motion to stay bad faith discovery, noting that UIM carrier had the right to protect non-discoverable information and that the UIM carrier’s conclusions or opinions regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the Plaintiff’s case would be protected from disclosure until the completion of the UIM claim; cites Judge Wettick’s decision in Gunn v. Auto. Ins. Co. of Hartford.).

 



VENUE IN LAWSUITS AGAINST UIM CARRIERS

Otto v. Erie Ins. Exch., No. 13-CV-06722 (E.D.Pa. March 31, 2014 Brody, J.)(Plaintiff sued UIM carrier in Eastern District.  Erie forum selection clause provides that “[s]uit must be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction in the county and state of [plaintiff’s] legal domicile at the time of the accident.”  Plaintiff resided in Montgomery County and sued in Eastern District Federal Court.  UIM carrier’s motion to dismiss pursuant to forum non conveniens doctrine arguing that only the Montgomery Court of Common Pleas was the proper venue was rejected as the Eastern District Federal Court was a court of competent jurisdiction that covered Montgomery County.).

 

 

EVIDENCE OF “INSURANCE” AT TRIAL

Pelc v. Burkell & State Farm, No. A.D. 2009 483 (C.P. Crawford Sept. 23, 2013)(Plaintiff filed suit against third party tortfeasor and UIM carrier.  Plaintiff settled with tortfeasor prior to trial and proceeded to trial against UIM carrier.  On the basis of Pa.R.E. 411, UIM carrier filed motion in limine to preclude Plaintiff from identifying UIM carrier by name at trial and to preclude evidence pertaining to the details of the Plaintiff’s auto insurance coverage, the UIM policy limits, and the Plaintiff’s settlement with the third party defendant.  Motion in Limine denied with respect to request that UIM carrier not be identified at trial.  However, the Motion in Limine as to the remaining issues was granted as the court found that the relevancy of that more specific insurance information was outweighed by the risk of unfair prejudice and the increased potential of confusing the issues and misleading the jury.).

 

  

Source:  32nd Annual Pennsylvania Automobile Law CLE Seminar Written Materials:  “Update on Current Pennsylvania ‘Koken’ Cases” by Leonard A. Sloane, Esq., Michael J. Davey, Esq., and Matthew J. Bilker of the Media/West Chester, PA law firm of Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C.

No comments:

Post a Comment