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The Erie County trial court in Brown v. Haas and State Farm, No. 11658 – 2011 (Connelly J. Erie Co. Oct. 31, 2011) recently dealt with severance versus consolidation of third party and underinsured motorist claims. The joint lawsuit was filed and the third party Haas filed Preliminary Objections seeking severance of the claims on the basis that the tortfeasor is prejudiced by the introduction of evidence of insurance in violation of Pennsylvania law when the two claims are joined. Haas also argued that the claims did not arise out of the same "occurrence" because one action was negligence and the other contract. The trial court finds that the two claims do not arise out of the same "occurrence" and grants the motion to sever.

Judge Connelly also grants State Farm's preliminary objections seeking to have the Bad Faith claim stricken. The trial court finds that Brown had not pled sufficient facts to proceed on a Bad Faith claim where there were no facts pled to show that State Farm's denial of underinsured benefits was frivolous or without a reasonable basis.

For a copy of the opinion feel free to contact Scott Cooper at SchmidtKramer Injury lawyers.

Scott B. Cooper

Schmidt Kramer PC
209 State Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
(717) 232-6300 – Telephone
(717) 232-6467 – Facsimile

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