Monday, November 3, 2014

Post-Koken Decision in Favor of Consolidation Out of Schuylkill County

In a recent Post-Koken decision out of Schuylkill County in the case of Wall v. Ebersole, Erie Ins., and Donegal Ins., No. S-495-2014 (C.P. Schuylkill Co. Oct. 29, 2014 Miller, J.), Judge Charles M. Miller denied a second-level UIM carrier's request for a severance of claims and a directive to the Plaintiff to file a separate, later suit against the second-level UIM carrier once the liability claims and first-level UIM claims were concluded.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff alleged serious injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident and sued, under one caption, the third party tortfeasor, a first-level UIM carrier, and a second-level UIM carrier.

The second-level UIM carrier filed Preliminary Objections seeking to have the claims asserted against it severed out from the other claims.

The Court denied the carrier's Preliminary Objections and rejected that carrier's arguments pertaining to the danger of improper references to insurance at trial.  The court also noted that the interest of judicial economy would be served by keeping all of the cases consolidated.  In support of his decision, Judge Miller cited the previous Post-Koken decision by Judge Domalakes, his colleague on the Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas, in the case of Foster v. Naresh and Atlantic States Ins. Co., S-2298-2013 [I will attempt to secure a copy of that decision for dissemination here].

Notably, Judge Miller also stated in his decision in the Wall case that "Plaintiff cannot complain of the right of three defense attorneys to ask questions during the course of the trial, because the Plaintiffs have joined all three Defendants.  Likewise, the carriers cannot object that their due process rights were violated."

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this case may contact me at

I send thanks to Attorney Mike Pisanchyn of the prevailing Plaintiff's attorney's firm of the Pisanchyn Law Firm for forwarding this case to my attention.  The Opinion and Order lists Attorney Lee Albright of that office as the attorney of record.

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