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Scott Cooper
Scott Cooper
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Pennsylvania Federal District Court Decides Important Underinsured Motorist Stacking Issue

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In Glazer v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., NO. 3:10-cv-1366 (M.D. Pa. May 17, 2012) Judge Caputo in the Middle District of Pennsylvania held last week that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court opinions regarding Section 1738 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) in Sackett v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 919 A.2d 194 (Pa. 2007) (Sackett I), modified on reargument, 940 A.2d 329 (Pa. 2007) (Sackett II) do not apply to the requirements of Section 1731 relating to the outright rejection of uninsured and underinsured motorist benefits. The Court finds that the Section 1731 rejection form applies throughout the lifetime of the insured’s policy as established by the Pennsylvania Superior Court in Smith v. Hartford Ins. Co., 849 A.2d 277 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2004). Thus, when a new car is added to a policy where uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage was already rejected, there is no requirement that a new rejection form be obtained.

In Glazer, the insured was involved in an accident on October 12, 2005 while operating his parent’s policy which was issued in 1994. When the policy was issued uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage was rejected. A valid rejection form rejecting the coverage was signed by the insureds. Over the next several years cars were added, deleted and replaced on the policy. When Glazer was injured in the accident there was more than one vehicle on the original single car policy. Glazer argued that he was entitled to underinsured motorist coverage because every time a new car was added to the policy a new rejection form had to be signed.

Judge Caputo applies the Smith opinion and holds that a new rejection form is not mandated every single time a new car is added to the policy. The only such requirement exists regarding stacking under Section 1738 where uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage was already purchased.

For a copy of the Opinion please contact Scott Cooper at Schmidt Kramer in Harrisburg.

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