Thursday, February 18, 2016

Another Luzerne County Post-Koken Decision in Favor of Consolidation During Discovery (But Leaving the Door Ajar for Bifurcation Later at Trial)

In a recent February 11, 2016 Order without Opinion in the case of Rhoades v. Johnson and Erie Insurance Company, No. 9659 - CV - 2015 (C.P. Luz. Co. Feb. 11, 2016 Amesbury, J.), Judge William H. Amesbury of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas denied the Defendant UIM carrier's Preliminary Objections/Motion to Sever filed in response to a Post-Koken Complaint.

This matter arose out of a motor vehicle accident during which the Defendant tortfeasor driver was allegedly driving under the influence.

The Defendant UIM carrier filed Preliminary Objections asserting a misjoinder of negligence claims against the alleged tortfeasor and UIM breach of contract claims under a single Complaint.  The carrier combined the Preliminary Objections with a Motion to Sever pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 213 asserting, in part, that it would be prejudicial for the UIM carrier to have to proceed through the same jury trial with the inflammatory facts associated with a Co-Defendant accused of a DUI and facing punitive damages.

Judge William H. Amesbury
Luzerne County
Following the trend in Luzerne County, Judge Amesbury denied the Preliminary Objections of the UIM carrier Defendant but noted in his Order that "Defendant Erie Insurance Company retains the right to file a Motion to Sever with the Trial Judge."

Anyone desiring a copy of this Order only may contact me at

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