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ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY v. LEITER

February 23, 2004.

ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff
v.
PAMELA E. LEITER, Administratrix of The Estate of BRENT A. LEITER, deceased, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN E. JONES, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This is Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings filed by the plaintiff, Allstate Insurance Company ("Plaintiff" or "Allstate"), which seeks a declaratory judgment pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2201 et. seq., that it is not obligated to pay underinsured motorist benefits to the Estate of Brent A. Leiter pursuant to an insurance policy issued to Charles D. Leiter.

This Court has jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

  For the reasons that follow, we hold that Allstate is not obligated to pay benefits to the Estate of Brent A. Leiter. Accordingly, we shall grant the motion for Page 2 judgment on the pleadings.

 PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

  Allstate initiated this action on June 9, 2003, by filing a declaratory judgment complaint. On July 17, 2003, Allstate filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings and supporting brief. The defendant, Pamela E. Leiter, Administratrix of the Estate of Brent A. Leiter ("Defendant"), filed a brief in opposition to Allstate's motion on July 25, 2003. This matter became ripe for disposition on August 4, 2003, when Allstate filed a reply brief in support of its motion.

 STANDARD OF REVIEW:

  "After the pleadings are closed but within such time as not to delay the trial, any party may move for judgment on the pleadings." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). In considering a motion for judgment on the pleadings, we must accept all factual averments as true and must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. See U.S. Fidelity and Guar. Co. v. Tierney Assoc., Inc., 213 F. Supp.2d 468, 469(M.D. Pa. 2002)(citins Society Hill Civic Association 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." Id. (citing Jablonski v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 863 F.2d 289, 290-01(3d Cir. 1988); see also Page 3 Institute for Scientific Info., Inc. v. Gordon & Breach, Science Publishers, Inc., 931 F.2d 1002, 1005 (3d Cir 1991)).

  Here, there is no dispute as to the facts alleged within the Complaint and Defendant agrees that no additional facts need be disclosed in order to resolve the issues before us.

 STATEMENT OF RELEVANT FACTS:

  On March 11, 2001, Brent A. Leiter ("Decedent" or "Leiter") and Andrew J. Guizio ("Guizio") were occupants of a Chevrolet Baretta owned by Brent Leiter which was involved in a one car motor vehicle accident. Both men died as a result of injuries sustained in the accident.

  The Chevrolet Baretta, along with three other automobiles, was covered by an insurance policy issued to Charles D. Leiter, Brent Leiter's father, by Allstate. The policy provides for $100,000.00 of bodily injury liability insurance coverage, for $100,000.00 of underinsured motorist coverage and for stacking of the vehicles insured under the policy.

  Subsequent to the accident, the Pennsylvania State Police conducted an investigation regarding which occupant of the car was driving at the time of the accident. The investigation was inconclusive. The Administratrixes of the Estates of Brent A. Leiter ("the Estate of Leiter") and Andrew J. Guizio ("the Estate of Page 4 Guizio") each presented claims of bodily injury liability insurance coverage to Allstate claiming that they were entitled to the proceeds of the policy covering the vehicle. The Estate of Leiter insisted that Guizio was driving at the time of the accident and the Estate Guizio argued that Leiter was driving at the time of the accident.

  On April 8, 2002, in light of its position as a mere stakeholder in the dispute between the Estate of Leiter and Estate of Guizio, Allstate filed a complaint in interpleader against both the Estate of Leiter and the Estate of Guizio, tendering its $100,000 bodily injury limit of liability to the Court. The Estates were able to reach a mediated settlement in the action and agreed that the Estate of Leiter would receive ...


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