Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Claims of Direct Liability To Plaintiff Asserted in a Joinder Complaint Found to be Barred by the Statute of Limitations

In the case of Brown-Papp v. Phillips, No. 2017-CV-0210 (C.P. Bradford Co. Mach 28, 2024 Beirne, P.J.), the court, following a jury trial, granted an Additional Defendant’s Motion to Vacate/Dismiss the Joinder Complaint filed against the Additional Defendant in a motor vehicle accident case based upon a finding that any effort by the joining party to assert direct claims against the Additional Defendant relative to the Plaintiff's personal injury claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations.

According to the Opinion, this case arose out a motor vehicle accident. The Plaintiff sued a defendant driver and a UIM carrier. The UIM carrier brought in a second driver allegedly involved in accident as an Additional Defendant in order to assert the credit for the liability insurance limits of that Additional Defendant.

The case proceeded through trial and, during the trial, the Additional Defendant preserved the statute of limitations arguments by way of a pre-trial motion, a Motion for a Nonsuit, and a Motion for a Directed Verdict. The trial court took all of those motions under advisement for a later decision and did not decide them during the course of the trial. 

The jury then entered a verdict finding each Defendant driver to be 50% responsible for the happening of the accident.

In a post-trial motion, the Additional Defendant reiterated the Motion to Vacate/Dismiss any effort by the Plaintiff to recover against the Additional Defendant under a statue of limitations argument. The Additional Defendant asserted that the Plaintiff never filed any direct claim against the Additional Defendant. Moreover, it was established that the UIM carrier had not brought the Additional Defendant into the case until after the statute of limitations had expired. 

In this decision, the court granted the Additional Defendant’s Motion to Vacate/Dismiss on the basis of the application of the statute of limitations.

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

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