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STATE FARM MUT. AUTO. INS. CO. v. SCHEIDLER

United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania


December 3, 1999

STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY
v.
DAVID SCHEIDLER AND RONALD SCHEIDLER.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ludwig, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM

In this declaratory judgment action, plaintiff State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company moves for summary judgment on the enforceability of the household exclusion clause in an automobile insurance policy issued to defendant David Scheidler's father. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.*fn1 The underlying claim is for uninsured motorist benefits. Jurisdiction is diversity. 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

Facts Based on Stipulation and Admissions*fn2

  1. On May 4, 1997, a motor vehicle owned and operated
    by David Scheidler was involved in a collision with
    an uninsured motorist.

  2. David Scheidler sustained injuries as a result of
    that accident.

  3. The uninsured motorist was at fault for the
    accident.

  4. The vehicle operated by David Scheidler on the
    date of the accident was a 1994 Plymouth Sundance
    owned by David Scheidler and insured under a policy
    of automobile insurance issued by State Farm Mutual
    Automobile Insurance Company, policy number
    8378-468-38.

  5. On the day of the accident, David Scheidler
    resided in the household of this father, Ronald
    Scheidler.

  6. Ronald Scheidler was the named insured on another
    State Farm policy of insurance covering a 1984 Ford
    LTD, policy number 8085-474-38.

  7. Ronald Scheidler's policy contained a "household
    exclusion" clause that states:

    There is no coverage for bodily injury to an
    insured under coverage U3:

    1. While occupying a motor vehicle owned by you,
    your spouse, or any other relative, if it is not
    insured for this coverage under this policy; . . .

  8. At the time of his accident, David Scheidler was a
    resident relative of Ronald Scheidler, and was
    occupying a vehicle which that he owned and that
    was not insured for uninsured motorist coverage
    under Ronald Scheidler's policy.

9. The household exclusion is clear and unambiguous.

  10. Both David Scheidler and Ronald Scheidler
    received reduced premiums in exchange for waiving
    stacked uninsured motorist coverage.

  11. The full uninsured motorist limits of $15,000
    available under David Scheidler's policy have
    already been paid to him.

Discussion

Troebs v. Nationwide Insurance, 98-3556, 1999 WL 79555 (E.D.Pa. Jan. 20, 1999), expresses my views on facts and a household exclusion virtually identical to the present case. The decision upheld the exclusion, rejecting the argument that such exclusions are unenforceable as against public policy. In making the same argument here, defendants cite State Farm v. Craley, No. 97-9019, 1998 WL 1077234, C.P. Berks (Dec. 28, 1998). For reasons set forth in Troebs, Craley appears to be at variance with the pertinent jurisprudence of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

ORDER

AND NOW, this 3rd day of December, 1999, the motion for summary judgment of plaintiff State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is granted, and this case is dismissed.

A memorandum accompanies this order.

The Rule 16 conference scheduled for December 7, 1999 is canceled.


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