of defendant's claim. Without considering whether or not the interpretation of these laws is really necessary to decide defendant's claim, we simply note that "once it is determined that a substantive dispute is arbitrable, normally the arbitrator has the authority to decide all matters necessary to dispose of the claim." Brennan, 574 A.2d at 583.
Brennan requires that the defendant has a right to have her UIM claim arbitrated if she is an insured, and McAlister requires that the question of whether or not defendant is an insured is to also be decided by arbitration. The arbitrators have authority to decide any question of law or fact which is presented in Reager's claim against Kemper. Therefore, Reager's claim must be decided by the arbitrators under the terms of the Policy.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court has considered the implications of Brennan for a factual situation strikingly similar to the instant case, and has reached the same conclusion. Erie Insurance Exchange v. Mason, 406 Pa.Super. 520, 594 A.2d 741 (1991), app. denied, 607 A.2d 253 (Pa. 1992).
Mason arose when Barry Scott Mason ("Mason") died as a result of injuries he received when the motorcycle he was operating was hit by a truck. At the time of the accident, Mason's motorcycle was uninsured. Mason, however, was insured, as a resident relative, on his stepfather's policy with Erie Insurance Exchange ("Erie"). Mason's estate settled the wrongful death and survival actions brought against the owner and operator of the truck for the limits of the applicable liability coverage, and then made a claim against Erie for UIM benefits.
Erie filed a declaratory judgment action in the state court, asking that Mason's failure to insure his own motorcycle preclude his recovery of UIM benefits under his stepfather's policy. Mason's estate responded by filing a motion to compel arbitration, arguing that the policy's arbitration clause required that the question be arbitrated.
The trial court denied the motion to compel arbitration and granted Erie's motion for a judgment on the pleadings, holding that Mason's failure to maintain insurance on his own motorcycle precluded him from recovering UIM benefits as a resident relative of his stepfather.
The Superior Court reversed. Relying on Brennan, the Superior Court found that the question raised by the declaratory judgment action "was a dispute which was clearly encompassed within the arbitration clause." Mason, 594 A.2d at 742. Therefore, the trial court never should have reached the merits of Erie's claim. The Superior Court ordered the trial court to dismiss the declaratory judgment action and direct the parties to proceed to arbitration pursuant to the terms of the insurance policy.
In its essential facts, Mason is indistinguishable from the instant case.
Case law and public policy considerations mandate that the question raised in plaintiff's declaratory judgment action must be decided by an arbitration panel chosen pursuant to the insurance policy between plaintiff and defendant's mother. Therefore, we grant defendant's motion to dismiss.
An appropriate order follows.
AND NOW, this 6th day of November, 1992, upon consideration of defendant's motion to dismiss and plaintiff's response thereto, it is hereby ORDERED that defendant's motion is GRANTED. Judgment is entered for defendant and against plaintiff.
BY THE COURT:
James T. Giles