Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Judge Zulick Allows for Severance and Stay of Bad Faith Claims in Monroe Co. Post-Koken Matter

Judge Arthur Zulick

In his recent decision in the case of Comrie v. Atlantic State Ins. Co., PICS Case No. 14-096 (C.P. Monroe Co. May 29, 2014 Zulick, J.), Judge Arthur Zulick of the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas granted a UIM carrier’s Motion to Sever and Stay the bad faith portion of the claims asserted in a post-Koken matter.  
 
In Comrie, the Plaintiff filed a breach of contract UIM claim along with a companion bad faith claim following a motor vehicle accident.  
 
In granting the Motion to Sever and Stay the Bad Faith Claim, the Court noted that, while a UIM claim is decided by a jury in state court, a bad faith claim is decided by the Court after a bench trial.  

Judge Zulick noted that if the cases had been tried together, evidence pertaining to the allegations of bad faith in handling the UIM claim would not be relevant to a jury’s determination of the UIM liability and damages claims.   Judge Zulick more specifically stated that the handling of the claims presented occurred after the collision and had nothing to do with the collision itself.  
In addition to ruling that the UIM count would be severed from the bad faith count, Judge Zulick also held that discovery and trial of the bad faith claims would be stayed pending the settlement for verdict or further order in the UIM claim.

I do not have a copy of this one.  Anyone desiring a copy of this case may contact the Pennsylvania Instant Case Service of the Pennsylvania Law Weekly by calling 1-800-276-7427 and providing the above noted PICS Case No. along with a payment of a small fee.  

Source: "Case Digests," Pennsylvania Law Weekly (June, 2014).


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