Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Plaintiff-Favorable Decision Out of Lancaster County Applying Gallagher v. GEICO Decision

Another Plaintiff-favorable Gallagher decision has been uncovered, this one out of the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas.

In the case of Donegal Mut. Ins. Co. v. Krautsack, No. CI-19-04904 (C.P. Lanc. Co. Aug. 28, 2020 Ashworth, J.), the court granted the Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and denied the carrier's cross-motion for summary judgment relative to issues surrounding the application of a household exclusion in an automobile insurance policy.

This case arose out of a motorcycle accident and a question of the application of a household exclusion contained in one of multiple policies in a household.

The Plaintiff argued that Gallagher should be read as eradicating the household exclusion across the board.  The carrier asserted that Gallagher should be limited to its facts and that the facts in Gallagher were distinguishable from the facts in this case.

This Lancaster County Court applied the Gallagher v. GEICO decision literally and noted that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court "unequivocally" held that household exclusions are unenforceable as a matter of law as they violate the requirements set forth in Pennsylvania's Motor Vehicle Responsibility Law that a carrier secure a written waiver or rejection of stacked UIM coverage for such waiver or rejection to be valid.

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

I send thanks to Attorney Scott Cooper of the Harrisburg, PA law firm of Schmidt Kramer for bringing this case to my attention.

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