The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas I. Vanaskie, Chief Judge.
This is an action for Declaratory Judgment pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2201 and 2202, with jurisdiction based on the diversity
statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Presently pending before the Court is
plaintiff United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company's ("USF&G") motion
for judgment on the pleadings. (Dkt. Entry 5.) Defendant, Ceil Ann
Tierney ("Tierney"), the Corporate Secretary of Tierney Associates, Inc.
("Tierney Associates"), seeks underinsured motorist benefits under a
policy issued by USF&G to Tierney Associates. USF&G contends that Tierney
cannot recover because she was not riding in a covered vehicle at the
time of the accident and she is not identified as a named insured under
the terms of the policy. Tierney maintains that coverage should be
extended to her as an intended beneficiary based on her status as a
corporate officer. Because the policy at issue unambiguously identifies
Tierney Associates, Inc. as the named insured, and does not extend
coverage to corporate officers, USF&G's motion for judgment on the
pleadings will be granted.
On or a bout July 16, 2000, USF&G issued a renewal business automobile
policy to Tierney Associates, Inc., Policy No. BFA00000617571, with a
coverage period from July 16, 2000 to July 16, 2001. (Complaint, ¶
8.)*fn1 The policy included, inter alia, coverage pursuant to the
Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law, 75 Pa.C.S.A.
§ 1701, with limits for underinsurance motorist benefits in the
amount of $300,000. (Id.) During the policy period, Tierney was Corporate
Secretary of Tierney Associates. (Id., ¶ 10.)
On August 19, 2000, Tierney was injured in a motor vehicle accident
while a passenger in a car owned and operated by Edward Kupstas. (Id.,
¶ 11.) Tierney obtained recovery of the liability limits on the
policy covering Mr. Kupstas' vehicle, as well as the limits for
underinsurance coverage available to her under her personal automobile
insurance. (D's Br. in Opp. to Mot'n for Judgment on the Pleadings, p.
1.) Tierney claims entitlement to underinsured motorist benefits under
the USF&G policy issued to Tierney Associates.
On September 4, 2001, plaintiff moved for judgment on the pleadings
pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the F.R.C.P. In addition to the submission of
written briefs, the parties presented oral argument to the Court on
February 20, 2002. The issue before the Court is whether the policy
issued to Tierney Associates, Inc., a corporate entity, provides
underinsured motorist coverage to Ceil Ann Tierney based on her status as
a corporate officer.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), any party may move for
judgment after the pleadings are closed. Under Rule 12(c), a court must
accept all factual averments as true and draw all reasonable inferences
in favor of the non-moving party. See Society Hill Civic Ass'n v.
Harris, 632 F.2d 1045, 1054 (3d Cir. 1980). A party moving for judgment
on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) must demonstrate that there are no
disputed material facts and that judgment should be entered as a matter
of law. See Jablonski v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 863 F.2d 289,
290-91 (3d Cir. 1988); Institute for Scientific Info., Inc. v. Gordon &
Breach, Science Publishers, Inc. 931 F.2d 1002, 1005 (3rd Cir.), cert.
denied, 502 U.S. 909 (1991). Judgment may only be entered where "no set
of facts could be adduced to support the plaintiff's claim for relief."
Bryson v. Brand Insulations, Inc., 621 F.2d 556, 559 (3d Cir. 1980). The
parties are in agreement that the pleadings disclose the facts pertinent
to the resolution of the coverage issue.
USF&G issued a Business Automobile Policy to Tierney Associates. The
Business Automobile Policy Declarations indicate that the "Forms and
Endorsements Applicable to this policy" include, inter alia, the Business
Auto Coverage form (CA 00010797) and the Pennsylvania Underinsured
Motorist Coverage — Nonstacked Form (CA 2193198). (See Ex. A to the
Complaint.) The Business Coverage Auto Form states that "[t]hroughout
this policy the words `you' and `your' refer to the Named Insured shown
in the Declarations."*fn2 The Underinsured Motorists ("UIM") endorsement
on the policy in question identifies the "Named Insured" as "TIERNEY
ASSOCIATES, INC." (See Ex. "A" to Complaint.) Ceil Ann Tierney is not
identified anywhere on the policy, the UIM endorsement, or the policy's
declaration pages. The UIM endorsement to the policy provides that USF&G
"will pay all sums the `insured' is legally entitled to recover from the
owner or driver of an `underinsured motor vehicle.'" (Complaint, Ex.
"A", emphasis added.) The UIM endorsement then identifies the person
entitled to UIM coverage as follows:
A. Who Is An Insured
2. If you are an individual, any "family member."
As USF&G points out, "[h]istorically, Pennsylvania courts have
categorized Underinsured Motorist claimants . . . into three classes."
(Pl's Br. in Support of Mot'n for Judgment on the Pleadings, p. 3)
(citing Utica Mut. Ins. Co. v. Contrisciane, 504 Pa. 328, 473 A.2d 1005,
1010 (1984).) Generally, the three classes of intended insureds are:
Jeffrey v. Erie Ins. Exchange, 423 Pa. Super. 483, 621 A.2d 635, 644
(1993) (en banc), app. denied, 537 Pa. 651, 644 A.2d 736 (1994).
In the case at bar, it is undisputed that Tierney is neither a class II
insured — she was not in a covered vehicle at the time she was
injured; nor a class III insured — she is not claiming coverage
based on another's injuries. The dispute here is whether Tierney should
be regarded as a class I beneficiary. Observing that a corporation cannot
suffer bodily injury and that a corporation can only act through its
officers and employees, Tierney maintains that corporate officers must be
regarded as class I insureds in a corporate policy.
Resolution of Ms. Tierney's status is dependent upon an interpretation
of the insurance contract in the context of Pennsylvania law.*fn3 Of
course, decisions of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court are controlling.
Coviello, 233 F.3d at 713. But, as explained by our Court of Appeals,
"[i]f the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has not yet passed on the issue
before us, we must consider the pronouncements of the lower state
courts, as well as federal appeals and district court cases interpreting
state law." Id. In addition, decisions from other states may also be
considered. Boyanowski v. Capital Area Intermediate Unit, 215 F.3d 396,
406 (3d Cir. 2000).
Each party in this case advances a separate Pennsylvania Superior Court
opinion in support of its position. Further confounding the situation is
the fact that each Pennsylvania Superior Court decision was affirmed by
the Pennsylvania Supreme Court per curiam and without an opinion.
USF&G relies upon Hunyady v. Aetna Life & Cas., 396 Pa. Super. 476,
578 A.2d 1312 (1990), aff'd mem., 530 Pa. 25, 606 A.2d 897 (1992.) In
Hunyady, the underinsured motorist policy was issued in the name of a
corporation. The wife of the vice-president of the corporation, who was
injured while driving a car that she owned, sued to recover underinsured
benefits from the insurer of the corporate vehicles. In support of her
claim, the plaintiff asserted:
1) the policy's key language is ambiguous and
therefore must be construed against appellee; 2) her
husband was a named insured under the policy so she
reasonably expected coverage; and 3) the public policy
behind underinsured motorist coverage calls for such a
Id. at 478. The policy issued to the corporation in Hunyady contained the
D. WHO IS INSURED
1. You or any family member.
Id. at 477-78. It also included the following definitional language:
PART I — WORDS AND PHRASES WITH SPECIAL MEANING
— READ THEM CAREFULLY
The following words and phrases have special meaning
throughout this policy and appear in boldface type
A. "You" and "Your" mean the person or organization
shown as the named insured in ITEM ONE of the
Id. at 478. Item One of the declarations identified the named insured
as: VILSMEIER AUCTION CO. INC. AND INVESTMENT RECOVERY ASSOCIATES, INC.,
A WHOLLY OWNED SUBSIDIARY OF VILSMEIER AUCTION CO. INC. Id. Concluding
that the word "you" referred unambiguously to the corporation and not
corporate officers, such as Hunyady's husband, the trial court ruled in
favor of the insurance company.
On appeal, Mrs. Hunyady asserted that "the term `you' as used in the
policy is ambiguous because the corporate officers who had regular use of
listed on the schedule attached to the policy thought
`you' referred to them. . . ." Id. at 479. Observing that "[w]e must
construe the insurance policy as a whole and not in discrete units"
(citing Koval v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 366 Pa. Super. 415, 531 A.2d 487
(1987)), the Hunyady court affirmed the denial of coverage to the
vice-president's wife, finding:
The policy in its entirety, is not ambiguous, but
clearly states the corporation is the insured party.
For this reason, we also reject appellant's second
argument that she had a reasonable expectation of
coverage. Appellant, wife of an employee and corporate
officer of the company, was driving her personal
automobile, owned by her. Appellant's automobile was
covered by a separate carrier from whom appellant did
receive $100,000 in underinsured motorist benefits. We
fail to see how the policy language could possibly
have led appellant to believe she was covered by
appellee for the accident in which she was involved.
Therefore, we find her expectation of coverage by
appellee was unreasonable.
Appellant's final argument is public policy requires
appellee to provide the underinsured motorist benefits
to appellant because that is what the legislature
intended in enacting the Motor Vehicle Financial
Responsibility Law (MVFRL), 75 Pa.C.S. §§ 1701 et
seq. The MVFRL applies, however, to policies of
insurance which cover an injured claimant as the
insured party. Appellant cannot argue that the MVFRL
requires a carrier to provide underinsured motorist
benefits to parties not in the category of "insureds."
Since appellant is not an insured party under the
policy written for appellee, public policy
considerations do not come into play.
Id. at 479, 80.
Hunyady stands for the proposition that where, as here, the policy is
issued only to a corporation as the named insured, corporate officers are
not Class I beneficiaries.*fn4 Plainly, Hunyady favors the position
espoused by USF&G. Tierney, however, contends that the Superior Court's
earlier decision in Miller v. Royal Ins. Co., 354 Pa. Super. 20,
510 A.2d 1257 (1986), aff'd mem., 517 Pa. 306, 535 A.2d 1049 (1988),
compels a finding in her favor.
At first glance, the Superior Court's decision in Miller does seem to
favor Tierney. However, upon further review, the precedential value of
Miller for the issue subjudice is weak at best. In Miller, the court
reiterated that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in United Mutual Ins. Co.
v. Contrisciane, 504 Pa. 328, 473 A.2d 1005 (1984), "reserve[d] for
another day the questions of whether a `class one' insured may stack
coverages under a fleet policy, and whether the owner and/or officers of
a corporation are `class one' insureds under a policy issued in the name
of a corporation." Miller, 354 Pa.Super at 22. As in Hunyady, the
plaintiff in Miller was the wife of an officer of a corporation whose
vehicles were insured under a policy issued to the corporation. Unlike
Hunyady, Mrs. Miller was an occupant of a covered vehicle, and thus at
least a Class II benficiary, but sought to stack coverage on other
covered vehicles. Contrisciane suggested that only Class I beneficiaries
could stack coverage. Without setting forth the language of the policy
issued to the corporation, the Miller court simply declared that "[t]he
court below determined that appellee is a class one
insured. We agree,
however, this classification becomes irrelevant in light of our
determination that coverages under a fleet policy may not be stacked."
Id. at 22. In other words, the Superior Court agreed with the trial
court's finding that Mary Ann Miller, the wife of the corporate
secretary, was covered under the terms of a policy issued to a
corporation, but did not give even a hint of the rationale for this
conclusion. Instead, the Miller court was primarily concerned with the
stacking issue, and since it found stacking was not available in that
instance, the court determined that the issue surrounding the designation
of the class I insured was irrelevant. At best, the Miller court seemed
to imply that a policy issued in the name of a corporation could be
extended to cover the officers or employees of that corporation as class
I beneficiaries, but did not offer any suggestion as to the policy
language that would support such a finding.
Significantly, Hunyady expressly declined to attribute precedential
value to the suggestion in Miller that corporate officers are class I
insureds in a corporate policy, explaining:
We did not [in Miller] make a specific determination
as to whether the "class one" designation applied to
the claimant, wife of a corporate officer, who was
driving a company car at the time of her accident. We
found the classification to be irrelevant because we
held coverages under a fleet policy could not be
stacked, which is what the claimant sought.
Hunyady, 396 Pa.Super. at 480.
The Pennsylvania Superior Court also called the Miller decision into
question in Lastooka v. Aetna Ins. Co., 380 Pa. Super. 408, 552 A.2d 254
(1988). In Lastooka, the owner of a sole-proprietorship was fatally
injured while a passenger in a car driven by an uninsured woman. In that
case, the decedent's estate sought to recover under the uninsured
motorist provisions even though the decedent was not riding in a covered
vehicle at the time of the accident. The court in Lastooka determined
that there was coverage, but based its conclusion on very specific
facts. In particular, the court stressed:
At the time of the accident[,] the decedent was the
owner of Ram Construction Company, a sole
proprietorship. All of Ram Construction's business
vehicles, as well as the family's personal
automobiles, were titled under the name of Ram
Construction and insured under a business auto policy
issued by Aetna. The total number of vehicles insured
at the time of the accident was 28, five of which were
the personal vehicles of the family members. All
insurance premiums were paid by the deceased person
ally through a company account. Effective February
25, 1984, the endorsement to the policy had been
amended to include John Lastooka and Della Lastooka as
named insureds. The named insureds had already
included John M. Lastooka d/b/a Ram Construction
Company, Ram Construction Company and Ram Management
Id. at 410 (emphasis added). In reference to Miller, the Lastooka court
Miller is actually inconclusive on the matter.
Although the Miller opinion, in conclusory fashion,
states that the claimant was a class one insured, it
is not apparent, from the facts given in the opinion,
how the panel made this determination. It does not
appear that the claimant in Miller was a named
insured, or a family member of a named insured. (The
standard qualifications for class one status.)
However, the claimant was the wife of a corporate
officer, thus leaving open to speculation the
that the panel found the claimant a class
one insured based upon part of the unanswered question
posed in Contrisciane, that being, whether the
officers of a corporation are class one insureds under
a policy issued in the name of a corporation. See
Contrisciane, 473 A.2 d at 101 0. Regardless of the
panel's reasoning for finding the claimant a class one
insured in Miller, there is absolutely no indication
that the claimant there was a named insured who paid
Id. at 413 n. 1. The court went on to explain that, under Contrisciane,
payment of premiums suggested a "recognizable contractual relationship
with the insurer," id., adding:
The policy in question here covered 28 vehicles in
total, 23 of which were used in the business and five
others which were the personal vehicles of the
deceased, his wife and three daughters. Appellants'
decedent paid the premiums for the coverage of all of
the vehicles, both business and personal, albeit from
a Ram Construction account. Consequently, the policy
could be thought of as being a combined
business/personal auto policy. Appellee insurance
company was aware, or should have been aware when the
named insureds of the policy were amended to include
John and Della Lastooka, that the policy had or was
taking on a personal nature in addition to whatever
purely business nature it may have previously had.
Id. at 414.
The fact that the policy in Lastooka was amended to include the
deceased as a named insured surely distinguishes that case from the case
at bar. In addition, even if the policy in Lastooka had not been
amended, the named insured still would have been identified as "John M.
Lastooka d/b/a Ram Construction Company, Ram Construction Company and Ram
Management Corporation." In the instant matter, the named insured is
"Tierney Associates, Inc.," and nowhere in the USF&G policy is reference
made to Ms. Tierney herself.
More recently, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has followed the
rationale of Hunyady in holding that there need not be a class I
beneficiary in a UIM policy. For example, in Caron v. Reliance Ins. Co.,
703 A.2d 63 (Pa.Super. 1997), the court declined to find a corporate
employee to be a class I insured even though she had been designated as a
driver in a proposal for insurance. Interpreting the UIM endorsement that
is indistinguishable from that presented here, the Hon. Berle Schiller,
now a judge of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, concluded that the
employee "was not entitled to benefits as a class one insured because the
insurance policy's designation of `you' as the insured referred to Caron
International as the purchaser of the policy, not the drivers of the
covered vehicles." Id. at 68. Judge Schiller then concluded that "there
is nothing in Pennsylvania public policy which prohibits an insurer from
issuing a policy which insures a company's vehicles, but restricts the
extent of an employee's coverage to when he/she is operating one of those
vehicles." Id. at 69.
In Insurance Co. of Evanston v. Bowers, 758 A.2d 213 (Pa.Super.
2000), the Pennsylvania intermediate appellate court once again rejected
the contention that, because a corporation acts only through its officers
and agents, a class I beneficiary for UIM coverage must be recognized. In
Bowers, the plaintiff was the ward of a corporation engaged in providing
treatment services. He was operating a bicycle, and not a covered
vehicle, at the time of the accident giving rise to the litigation. The
treatment corporation had obtained a policy that contained UIM coverage
with the same pertinent policy provisions at issue
here. That is, the
"insured" was identified in the "Who Is An Insured" section as:
2. If you are an individual, any family member.
The injured party met the definition of "family member." The question
before the court was whether the term "you" was limited to the named
insured corporation. In answering this question in the affirmative, the
The policy language implicitly, if not explicitly,
distinguishes between corporations and natural
persons. Because [the insured corporation] is not an
individual the family member language is simply
inapplicable. We further reject the notion that such
an interpretation renders the UIM coverage illusory
because no party could ever make a claim. [The insured
corporation] purchased meaningful coverage because
each person who occupies a company vehicle is thereby
entitled to UIM coverage for that covered automobile.
The fact that an occupant qualifies as a class two
insured cannot also qualify as a class one insured
does not render the UIM coverage meaningless. The law
does not require every UIM policy to include each
class of coverage.
Id. at 217. The court went on to explain that the fact that the policy
identified as an insured "any family member," only "if you are an
individual," eliminated any possible ambiguity in the policy's inclusion
of coverage for family members. In this regard, the court observed that
"[t]he prevailing view of the majority of jurisdictions considering
similar language in business automobile policies, in varying contexts,
adhere to the simple principle that the term `family member' means
nothing when `you' is a corporation and refuse to extend coverage." Id.
Federal district courts in Pennsylvania considering the policy language
at issue in this case have similarly concluded that a corporate officer
is not a class one insured. See, e.g., Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v.
Salkin, 163 F. Supp.2d 512 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 12, 2001). Consistent with
Hunyady, it has been recognized that where it is clear that the term
"you" refers to a corporate entity, a policy term extending UIM coverage
to "you or any family member" does not warrant a determination that
corporate officers are class one beneficiaries. See, e.g., Ohio Cas.
Ins. Co. v. Aron, Civ. A. No. 91-58 05, 1992 WL 247290 (E.D. Pa. Sept.
25, 1992), aff'd mem., 993 F.2d 878 (3d Cir. 1993).
One case in particular that lends strong support for denial of coverage
here is West American Ins. Co. v. Griffith, Civ.A. No. 90-6034, 1991
WL24699 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 21, 1991), aff'd mem., 944 F.2d 899 (3d Cir.
1991). In Griffith, the policy was issued in the name of "R.G.
Construction, Inc.," a Subchapter S Corporation, of which the defendant
and his brother were the only shareholders. The face of the policy
identified the corporation as the named insured, and the policy covered
two trucks. Defendant was injured while riding his
motorcycle, a non-covered vehicle. As in this case, the policy identified
as an insured, "you," and "if you are an individual, any `family member.'"
(Emphasis added.) The Griffith court pointed out that "[t]he issue is
whether an underinsured motorist policy covering a corporation provides
personal coverage for the owners or officers of that corporation." Id. at
*2. The parties in Griffith presented the same arguments as those
advanced here. The insurance company contended that the policy provided
coverage only to the named insured, R.G. Construction, and to anyone
driving a covered vehicle. Griffith, on the other hand, asserted that the
term "you" in the policy provided coverage to him as president and
majority shareholder of the corporation. He also argued:
limiting the scope of the coverage under the `you'
term of the policy to the corporation would render the
policy coverage meaningless because a corporate entity
cannot suffer a bodily injury and therefore would
[not] derive any benefit from the insurance.
Id. The court found in favor of the insurance company, stating:
Griffith's interpretation cannot be reconciled with
the language of the policy or Pennsylvania
corporations law. In ordinary discourse, the term
"you" applies to a living person. But two provisions
of the policy make clear that West American intended
the term "you" to apply either to an individual or a
non-human entity. First, the definitions section of
the policy states that insurance may be extended to
"any person or organization qualifying as an insured
in the Who Is An Insured provision of the applicable
coverage." In addition, the "Who is Insured" section
defines the covered parties as "1. You" and "2. If you
are an individual, any family member." The latter
clause suggests that under this policy the term "you"
may refer to an inanimate entity such as a
Id. (emphasis added).
The terms of the policy at issue in this case parallel the policy terms
considered in Bowers, Hunyady and Griffith. In the declarations section
of the policy, "Tierney Associates, Inc." is clearly identified under the
heading "Named Insured." Under the heading "Who is an insured," the
policy specifically states, "1.) You; 2.) If you are an individual, any
`family member.'" (Emphasis added.) The Business Auto Coverage Form
specifies that the term "you" refers to the Named Insured shown in the
declarations. Thus, the policy clearly provides for a situation in which
an entity, and not an individual, is the named insured. Why else would
the policy use the language "if you are an individual?" In other words,
the case at bar addresses the alternative situation in which "you" does
not refer to an individual.
In Griffith, the defendant argued "that unless a corporate officer is
included in the `class one' coverage of the policy issued to R.G.
Construction, no living, physical entity would be able to have `class
one' coverage." Id. at *3. The court considered this contention to be
irrelevant, stating, "nothing in Contrisciane provides that every
uninsured or underinsured motorist policy must include each class of
coverage. The policy issued to R.G. Construction is a policy providing
class two and class three coverage only." Id.
This reasoning is equally applicable to the case at bar. For instance,
Tierney argues that "[t]o find that the policy at issue does not provide
underinsured benefits coverage to Defendant Ceil Ann Tierney allows
plaintiff to charge premiums and collect funds for coverage which does not
exist. The intended beneficiary of the policy is clearly at least the
corporate officers of Defendant Tierney Associates, Inc."
(D's Br. in Opp. to Mot'n for Judgment on the Pleadings, p. 12.) That is
simply not the case. Tierney would have been covered as a class two insured
had she been riding in a covered vehicle, as would any other individual,
regardless of their relation to the corporation. Since nothing in
Contrisciane mandates coverage for all three classes, the policy at
issue, like the one in Griffith, simply does not provide UIM coverage to
corporate officers when injured in an automobile accident involving
vehicles other than a covered vehicle.*fn6
In summary, there are persuasive intermediate appellate court decisions
that hold that corporate officers and directors are not necessarily
intended beneficiaries of policies of automobile insurance issued to
their corporations. As recognized by federal district court opinions in
Salkin, Aron, and Griffith, the Pennsylvania Superior Court decisions
compel the conclusion that where, as here, the policy plainly indicates
that the term "you" refers to the named insured corporation, and only the
named insured, a corporate officer is not a class one beneficiary under
the policy. Absent "`data that the highest court of the state would
decide otherwise,'" Boyanowski, 215 F.3d at 406, the Pennsylvania
Superior Court decisions should be followed.
Ms. Tierney has not cited a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that
would suggest that the Superior Court's rulings in Hunyady and Bowers are
out of step with Pennsylvania law. On the contrary, pronouncements of the
state's highest court support the conclusion that coverage is not
available here. Specifically, in Contrisciane, the court stated that
where the claimant "has no recognizable contractual relationship with the
insurer, . . . there is no basis upon which [the claimant] can reasonably
expect . . . coverage." 504 Pa. at 339, 473 A.2d at 1011. In this case,
there is nothing in the policy to indicate that corporate officers were
intended beneficiaries of the UIM coverage. There is nothing in the
policies that suggests a recognizable contractual relationship between the
insurer and Ms. Tierney. It is hornbook law that a corporate officer is
not a party to a contract between the corporate entity and another
Furthermore, as noted by Judge Schiller in Caron, 703 A.2d at ¶
9, "there is nothing in Pennsylvania public policy which
prohibits an insurer from issuing a policy which insures a company's
vehicles, but restricts the extent of an employee's coverage to when he/she
is operating one of those vehicles."
The conclusion reached in Hunyady, Caron, and Bowers is consistent with
the majority rule.*fn7 The cases from other jurisdictions, in
particular, recognize that where a policy clearly indicates that the named
insured is a corporation, the mere inclusion of reference to such
personal terms as "you" or "family member," does not make corporate
officers and directors class one beneficiaries. Concrete Services, 331
S.C. at 512; Seaco Ins. Co. v. Davis-Irish, 180 F. Supp.2d 235, 237
(D.Me. 2002) (policy included language identical to that presented here,
and court rejected contention that "it is reasonable to interpret the
`you' in a corporate policy as including the officers and employees").
"`Under Pennsylvania law, it is the province of the court to interpret
contracts of insurance.'" Salkin, 163 F. Supp.2d at 515. The court's goal
is "to ascertain the intent of the parties as manifested by the language
of the written instrument." Standard Venetian Blind Co. v. American
Empire Ins. Co., 503 Pa. 300, 469 A.2d 563, 566 (1983). "The court is to
read the insurance policy as a whole and construe it according to its
plain meaning." Salkin, 163 F. Supp.2d at 515.
Reading the insurance policy at issue in this case as a whole, and in
the context of the persuasive Pennsylvania Superior Court precedents, I
find that Ms. Tierney was not an "insured" under the USF&G policy at the
time she sustained the injuries for which she now seeks recovery.
Specifically, the policy in question afforded UIM coverage only if Ms.
Tierney had been injured while occupying a covered vehicle, a condition
not met here. Accordingly, USF&G's motion for judgment on the pleadings
will be granted. An appropriate Order follows.
NOW, THIS ___ DAY OF JULY, 2002, for the reasons set forth in the
foregoing Memorandum, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1. Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Dkt. Entry 5) is
2. The subject policy of insurance, Policy Number BFA00000617571, does
not provide cove rage to Ceil Ann Tierney for underinsured motorist
benefits for injuries sustained as a result of an automobile accident
that occurred on or about August 19, 2000.
3. The Clerk of Court is directed to enter judgment in favor of the
plaintiff and against the defendants.
4. The Clerk of Court is further directed to mark this matter CLOSED.