Tuesday, April 24, 2018

UIM Carrier's Post-Koken Motion for Severance/Bifurcation of Trial Denied in Lehigh County

In the Post-Koken Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas case of Holland v. Yankauskas and Erie Insurance Exchange, No. 2015-C-1866 (C.P. Lehigh Co. Nov. 2, 2017 Reichley, J.), the court denied the UIM carrier’s Motion for Severance in which the carrier requested a separate trial.   The Motion was denied without prejudice to the carrier's right to restate the Motion closer to trial.

While noting that it had the power under 213 to order separate trials of any parties or issues in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice, the court felt, at this early juncture of the case (which was still in the discovery phase), that it was not established that there was a need to bifurcate the trial at that point.  
In so ruling, the court noted that it recognized the “additional challenges posed by presenting both issues concurrently to one jury.”   However, the court also noted that appropriate jury instructions could be provided if necessary in a joint trial to clarify and distinguish the issues with respect to each Defendant.
In the end, the court denied the Motion without prejudice to the carrier's right to restate the Motion at the conclusion of discovery.  

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this detailed Order may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney Richard (Ricky) E. Santee of the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania law firm of Shay, Santee & Kelhart for bringing this case to my attention.

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