$ 100,000 on Klinger's policy covering the vehicle involved in the accident and $ 15,000 on his policy covering the motorcycle. On November 1, 1993, and again on November 22, 1993, Plaintiffs' counsel sent correspondence to State Farm's attorney, demanding a tender of the policy limits.
However, counsel failed to notify State Farm of the arbitrators' decision and of the letters of demand from Plaintiffs. In fact, from November 18, 1993 to January 20, 1994, a State Farm claims representative, Timothy Spader, attempted unsuccessfully to reach its counsel in order to determine whether a decision had been reached on the coverage question. On January 20, 1994, in a conversation between Spader and Plaintiffs' attorney concerning' another matter, Spader learned of the October 27, 1993 arbitration decision.
The next day, Plaintiffs' counsel sent Spader a copy of the arbitrators' coverage award, along with copies of his November 1 and 22 letters to State Farm's attorney, and offered to supply State Farm with medical and work loss records for each Plaintiff.
On February 3, 1994, State Farm's counsel finally informed Spader of the arbitration result, and advised that a letter detailing the status of the case would follow. When no letter had been received by February 23, 1994, Spader went to the office of State Farm's attorney and obtained the Plaintiffs' medical records, which allegedly amounted to only five pages. On February 24, 1994, State Farm requested that Plaintiffs' counsel provide all of Plaintiffs' medical and work loss records.
On March 18, 1994, in a letter to counsel, the board of arbitrators scheduled a hearing for June 28, 1994 to determine damages. The letter was not sent to State Farm.
Throughout April and May, 1994, various correspondence and documents were exchanged between Plaintiffs' attorney and Edward T. McMerty, who had replaced Spader. During this time, State Farm's counsel had not informed it that the hearing on damages had been set. On May 18, 1994, McMerty completed his evaluation and recommended that State Farm tender policy limits to Klinger.
On June 22, 1994, the State Farm claims superintendent contacted its counsel in connection with completing a claim committee report. She was informed, for the first time, that the arbitration hearing on damages was scheduled for June 28, 1994. State Farm then made an unsuccessful attempt to continue the arbitration hearing. The arbitrators determined that Klinger's damages were $ 380,000, and therefore awarded him the policy limits of $ 115,000. They also determined that Neyer's damages were $ 85,000, and, after deducting $ 15,000 received from Allstate, awarded her $ 70,000. State Farm produced no witnesses and introduced no evidence at the hearing.
On August 2, 1994, the amount owed to each Plaintiff was sent to their counsel. Klinger instituted this action on August 3, 1994 in the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, and it was removed here on August 30, 1994. Neyer's claim was filed in state court on August 12, 1994, and removed here on September 14, 1994.
II. Law and Discussion
A. Standard for Summary Judgment
Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986). In reviewing the evidence, facts and inferences must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S. Ct. 1348, 1356, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538, 553 (1986). Summary judgment must be entered in favor of the moving party "where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party. . . ." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586-87, 106 S. Ct. at 1356, 89 L. Ed. 2d at 552 (citations omitted).
When a moving party has carried his or her burden under Rule 56, the nonmoving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts. . . ." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586-87, 106 S. Ct. at 1356, 89 L. Ed. 2d at 552 (citations omitted). The nonmoving party "must present affirmative evidence in order to defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment", and cannot "simply reassert factually unsupported allegations contained in [the] pleadings." Williams v. Borough of West Chester, 891 F.2d 458, 460 (3d Cir. 1989) (emphasis in original) (citation omitted). However, "if the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 249-50, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2511, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 212 (1986) (internal citations omitted).
B. Plaintiffs' Motions for Partial Summary Judgment
In their motions for partial summary judgment, Plaintiffs seek a ruling that State Farm's counsel's
neglect, if any, is binding upon Defendant State Farm and, therefore, Defendant State Farm cannot call Attorney Robert Davis to offer an expert opinion that [counsel's] neglect is not binding upon Defendant State Farm.