Monday, September 19, 2022

Pennsylvania Superior Court Again Finds Regular Use Exclusion to Be Unenforceable

In the case of Jones v. Erie Insurance Exchange, No. 690 WDA 2022 (Pa. Super. Sept. 7, 2022 Stabile, J., Murray, J., and McLaughlin, J.) (Op. by Murray, J.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed a trial court’s decision entering judgment on the pleadings in favor of the carrier based upon the carrier’s argument that the Plaintiff’s UIM claims were barred by the regular use exclusion. The Superior Court reversed, found the regular use exclusion to be unenforceable, and remanded the case for further proceedings.

In its decision, the Pennsylvania Superior Court determined that the carrier’s regular use exclusion violated the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law.

In this decision, the Jones’ court cited and relied upon the Pennsylvania Superior Court’s previous decision in the case of Rush v. Erie Insurance Exchange, in which the regular use exclusion was also found to be unenforceable.

Note that the Rush decision is currently pending before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for a decision. According to an article on that case, oral arguments in the Rush case remain to be scheduled.

Please click HERE to view Tort Talk Blog posts referencing the Rush decision.

In the Jones case, the Pennsylvania Superior Court again agreed with the Plaintiffs’ argument that the regular use exclusion was unenforceable in light of the Rush decision.

In this Jones case, the Plaintiff sought UIM coverage under his own personal automobile insurance policy for injuries he sustained in an accident that occurred while driving his employer’s vehicle. When the carrier denied the claim, the Plaintiff filed a Complaint asserting that the Plaintiff had breached its contract. It was noted that, at the time of the trial court’s Opinion, the Superior Court had not yet issued its Rush decision.

After the trial court ruled in the Jones case, the Plaintiffs appealed the decision but the matter was stayed in anticipation of the Superior Court’s decision in the Rush case.

In the end, the Pennsylvania Superior Court in the Jones case remanded that matter back to the trial court for further proceedings.

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

Source: “Article – “Regular Use Exclusion in Auto Policies is Unenforceable, Pa. Appeals Court Says,” by Aleeza Ferman. Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Sept. 8, 2022).

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