Monday, August 20, 2018

Gist of the Action Doctrine Held to Bar Negligence Claim

In the case of Weiss v. Nazareth Mutual Insurance Company, No. 6293-Civil-2017 (C.P. Monroe Co. July 5, 2018 Williamson, J.), Judge David J. Williamson of the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas granted Preliminary Objections under the gist of the action doctrine in a case arising out of an insurance claim following a fire loss.  

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff claimed that, following the fire, the Plaintiff’s property was burglarized.   As such, the Plaintiff submitted a claim to the insurance carrier with respect to the personal property that was allegedly stolen.   In his Complaint, the Plaintiff asserted that the carrier had not acted upon his claim for some of the lost personal property.  

The Complaint additionally contained claims against a remediation company who worked on the premises following the fire.   The Plaintiff alleged that the remediation company removed some of the Plaintiff’s property during the remediation project and never returned it to the Plaintiff.   That remediation company filed various Preliminary Objections to the Complaint.  

Judge David J. Williamson
Monroe County
In part, the remediation company asserted that the Plaintiff’s claims of negligence were barred by the gist of the action doctrine.   Judge Williamson agreed, finding that this case was primarily a contract action and that the allegations of the negligence claim were nearly identical to those pled in the contract claim.  As such, the negligence claim was stricken from the Complaint on the basis of the gist of the action doctrine.  

In another notable decision in this Opinion, the court dismissed the Plaintiff’s claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress after finding that the Plaintiff had failed to assert any physical harm as required by the elements of that cause of action. 

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

Source:  “Digest of Recent Cases.”  Pennsylvania Law Weekly (July 24, 2018).  

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