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BILLIE JEANNE CRICHTON ZOOK v. ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY (01/10/86)

filed: January 10, 1986.

BILLIE JEANNE CRICHTON ZOOK, APPELLEE,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLANT



Appeals from the Judgment of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, at No. GD84-21225 (Appeal No. 030 Pittsburgh, 1985) and from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, at No. GD84-21224 (Appeal No. 031 Pittsburgh, 1985)

COUNSEL

Daniel R. Gigler, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Theodore E. Breault, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Olszewski, Popovich and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Montgomery

[ 349 Pa. Super. Page 329]

The instant case arose out of an automobile accident which occurred on or about November 12, 1978. The general subject in dispute in this case involves the "stacking" of uninsured motorist coverage under an automobile insurance policy, a matter which has been the subject of significant litigation and appellate review. The particular issue on appeal however, is one of procedure, and involves the right of the insurer to a trial de novo, following the appeal from an arbitration award. The same issue appears to have

[ 349 Pa. Super. Page 330]

    arisen in at least one prior appeal, but, because of the procedural setting in that case, the problem was not resolved. See Hillen v. Allstate Insurance Company, 300 Pa. Super. 149, 446 A.2d 273 (1982).

The record shows that the Appellee, Billie Jean Crichton Zook and her son were injured in a motor vehicle collision. The Appellee thereafter sought payment of damages from Appellant, Allstate Insurance Company, pursuant to the uninsured motorist coverage contained in the automobile insurance policy which the Appellant had issued to the Appellee. The policy in question covered more than one vehicle, and the Appellee sought more than the amount provided under the uninsured motorist provision with respect to any one vehicle.

The parties could not resolve the claim of the insured, so the Appellee instituted a claim pursuant to the arbitration procedures of the American Arbitration Association. Such action was based upon the following provisions of the applicable insurance policy, which are highly relevant in the resolution of the instant appeal:

If We Cannot Agree

If we or you don't agree on your right to receive any damages or the amount, then upon the written request of either the disagreement will be settled by arbitration. Arbitration will take place under the rules of the American Arbitration Association unless we or you object. Then, you'll select one arbitrator and we will select another. The two arbitrators will select a third. If they can't agree on a third arbitrator within 30 days, the judge of the court of record in the county of jurisdiction where arbitration is pending will appoint the third arbitrator. You will pay the arbitrator you select and we will pay the one we select. The expense of the third arbitrator and all other expenses of arbitration will be shared equally. When we arbitrate, the ...


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