Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

LONESATHIRATH v. AVIS RENT A CAR SYS.

October 24, 1995

KHONESAVAHN LONESATHIRATH ET AL.
v.
AVIS RENT A CAR SYSTEM, INC. AND CONTINENTAL CASUALTY CO.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PADOVA

 Padova, J.

 October 24, 1995

 Plaintiffs, the passengers and unauthorized driver of a vehicle rented from Defendant Avis Rent A Car System, Inc. (hereinafter "Avis"), were involved in an accident with another vehicle, in which one Plaintiff was killed and the others seriously injured. Because the tortfeasor was not insured, Plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that Defendants must provide to Plaintiffs $ 1,000,000 in uninsured motorist coverage. Presently before the Court are the parties' cross motions for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. For the reasons set out below, I will: (1) enter judgment in favor of Defendants with respect to Plaintiffs' claim that they are entitled to $ 1,000,000 in uninsured motorist coverage; and (2) enter judgment in favor of Plaintiffs with respect to their claim that Avis is required to provide uninsured motorist coverage to the unauthorized driver.

 I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

 The parties have stipulated to the following relevant facts. Pls.' Mot. Summ. J., Stip. Facts. On July 27, 1993, the Avis branch at Philadelphia International Airport rented a Chevrolet motor vehicle to Kevin Keomanivanh (hereinafter "the renter"). The Rental Agreement which the renter signed states that, for the purposes of understanding the Agreement's terms, "I, ME AND MY REFER TO THE PERSON WHO SIGNS THIS AGREEMENT. YOU AND YOUR REFER TO AVIS." (emphasis in original). At the time he signed the Rental Agreement, the renter accepted and paid an additional charge for Additional Liability Insurance in the amount of $ 1,000,000. The Rental Agreement states in relevant part:

 
(WHERE AVAILABLE) I'LL PAY FOR ADDITIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE COVERAGE IF AVAILABLE AND I ACCEPT IT. THE LIMITS OF LIABILITY PROTECTION WILL BE $ 1,000,000.00 FOR EACH PERSON FOR BODILY INJURY, DEATH, OR PROPERTY DAMAGE, BUT NOT MORE THAN $ 1,000,000.00 FOR EACH ACCIDENT, INSTEAD OF THE LIMITS IN THE PRECEDING PARAGRAPH ON LIABILITY INSURANCE. ALL OF THE OTHER TERMS OF THE PRECEDING PARAGRAPH APPLY TO THIS ADDITIONAL COVERAGE.

 The "preceding paragraph" referred to above, entitled Liability Insurance, states in relevant part:

 
ANYONE DRIVING THE CAR AS PERMITTED BY THIS AGREEMENT WILL BE PROTECTED AGAINST LIABILITY FOR CAUSING BODILY INJURY OR DEATH TO OTHERS OR DAMAGING [sic] TO PROPERTY OF SOMEONE OTHER THAN THE DRIVER AND/OR THE RENTER UP TO THE MINIMUM FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY LIMITS REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE LAW. . . . WHERE THE LAW EXTENDS COVERAGE TO A NON-PERMITTED DRIVER, THE SAME LIMITS SHALL APPLY. SUCH COVERAGE WILL BE PROVIDED BY YOU ACCORDING TO THE TERMS, AND SUBJECT TO ALL OF THE CONDITIONS, OF A STANDARD AUTOMOBILE LIABILITY INSURANCE POLICY, INCLUDING ALL REQUIREMENTS AS TO NOTICE AND COOPERATION ON MY PART, WHICH ARE HEREBY MADE A PART OF THIS AGREEMENT. YOU CAN PROVIDE COVERAGE UNDER A CERTIFICATE OF SELF-INSURANCE OR AN INSURANCE POLICY, OR BOTH, AS YOU CHOOSE. IN ANY CASE, A COPY OF THE POLICY AND/OR CERTIFICATE WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR MY INSPECTION AT YOUR MAIN OFFICE. I UNDERSTAND THAT UNLESS REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE LAW, YOU WILL NOT PROVIDE . . . (D) SUPPLEMENTARY NO-FAULT, NON-COMPULSORY UNINSURED OR UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE . . . . WHERE ANY OF THESE COVERAGES ARE REQUIRED OR IMPLIED BY LAW, THE LIMITS SHALL BE THE MINIMUM REQUIRED UNDER THE APPLICABLE STATUTE.

 The Additional Liability Insurance was provided by Defendant Continental Insurance Co. (hereinafter "Continental"). Continental issued a policy to Avis, and Avis, in turn, would enter into agreements with renters who would purchase the coverage on a case-by-case basis. At the time the renter signed the Rental Agreement, he was not given a copy of the Continental policy issued to Avis; the policy, however, was available for inspection at Avis' main office. Avis had prepared a brochure outlining the Additional Liability Insurance coverage, but that brochure was not part of the Rental Agreement or the Rental Agreement jacket.

 At all times relevant to this case, Avis was a self-insured entity, and as such was required to provide automobile coverage consistent with the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law ("MVFRL"), 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 1701-1799.7. The vehicle rented in this case was self-insured by Avis pursuant to § 1787 of the MVFRL.

 On or about August 1, 1993, the rental vehicle was involved in an accident in Florida, in which one occupant was killed and the other occupants were seriously injured. The individual who was driving the rental vehicle when the accident occurred (hereinafter "the unauthorized driver") was neither defined as a person who could drive the vehicle under the Rental Agreement, nor listed and paid for as an additional driver. At the time he rented the vehicle, the renter did not advise Avis that any other individual would be driving the rental vehicle.

 Plaintiffs in this action are the unauthorized driver, the estate of the deceased passenger, and the other passengers in the rental car at the time of the accident. *fn1" Because the tortfeasor (the driver of the other vehicle) was uninsured, Plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment from the Court that Defendants are obligated to provide Plaintiffs with $ 1,000,000 in uninsured motorist coverage. Defendants argue that under the applicable sections of the MVFRL, 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 1787, 1774 (West Supp. 1995), Avis is only required to provide uninsured motorist coverage in the amount of $ 15,000 per person and $ ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.