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STATE FARM FIRE & CAS. CO. v. KEENAN

February 5, 1997

STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY CO., Plaintiff,
v.
EILEEN D. KEENAN, et. al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOYNER

 Joyner, J.

 February 5, 1997

 INTRODUCTION

 Plaintiff State Farm Fire and Casualty Company ("State Farm") brought this declaratory judgment action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2201 (West 1994), in order to determine its liability with respect to an accident involving a car which it had insured. State Farm now moves for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c), claiming that the insurance policy's coverage expressly excluded Frank Paul Mancuso ("Mancuso"), the person who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. State Farm argues that this exclusion warrants the entry of summary judgment in its favor. We agree with plaintiff's contention and accordingly, we grant summary judgment.

 BACKGROUND

 On August 23, 1995, Defendants William J. Brooks ("Brooks") and Frank Paul Mancuso ("Mancuso") were in an automobile accident in which Defendant Brooks was injured. Mancuso was driving a car insured by State Farm and leased by Mancuso's wife, Defendant Eileen D. Keenan ("Keenan"), from Defendant Ford Motor Credit Company ("FMCC"). State Farm denied coverage for the accident because Keenan had previously executed a named driver exclusion endorsement. This endorsement expressly excluded any accident which occurred while Mancuso was driving from the policy's coverage. *fn1" State Farm then initiated this declaratory judgment action against all four defendants but Defendant Brooks is the only defendant that has opposed the summary judgment motion. *fn2"

 Defendant Brooks makes two primary arguments in opposition to the motion for summary judgment. First, Brooks argues that the validity of the State Farm policy exclusion should be judged in accordance with New Jersey law. Second, Brooks claims that even if Pennsylvania law governs, the driver exclusion does not bar his recovery since State Farm was not in compliance with Pennsylvania statutory law when it excluded Mancuso from coverage.

 We disagree with defendant's contentions and find that State Farm properly excluded Mancuso from the scope of Keenan's policy. We further find that State Farm is not liable for any losses incurred as a result of the accident. Accordingly, we have granted plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.

 DISCUSSION

 I. Summary Judgment Standard

 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) authorizes the court to grant summary judgment if there is no genuine material issue of fact. In deciding the motion, the court is constrained to draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Gans v. Mundy, 762 F.2d 338, 340 (3d. Cir. 1985). If a reasonable jury could find in favor of the non-moving party, summary judgment will not be granted. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). Rather, the summary judgment standard requires the moving party to show that the case is so one-sided that it should prevail as a matter of law. Id. at 252. Nevertheless, the non-moving party must raise more than a scintilla of evidence in order to overcome a summary judgment motion. Williams v. Borough of West Chester, 891 F.2d 458, 460 (3d Cir. 1989). Further, the non-moving party cannot survive a summary judgment motion by relying on unsupported assertions. Id.

 II. Choice of Law

 In resolving choice of law questions, a district court must apply the law of the state in which it is located. Shuder v. McDonald's Corp, 859 F.2d 266, 269 (3d. Cir. 1988). Under Pennsylvania's choice of law rules, the court must use interest analysis, see Melville v. American Home Assurance 584 F.2d 1306, 1311 (3d. Cir. 1978); Compagnie des Bauxites v. Argonaut-Midwest Ins., 880 F.2d 685, 689 n.9 (3d. Cir. 1989), (interest analysis applies to contract actions), and apply a two-pronged test. Lejeune v. E.W. Bliss Co. & General Electric Co., 85 F.3d 1069, 1071 (3d. Cir 1996). This test requires the court to determine (1) whether there is a "true conflict" or a "false conflict" among the states whose laws may apply, and (2) which state has a greater interest in seeing its laws applied. Id. A true conflict occurs when the application of each state's laws furthers its own public policy but yields a different result from that of the other state(s). ...


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