The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN JONES, District Judge
THE BACKGROUND OF THIS ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS:
Pending before the Court are cross-motions for Summary Judgment
filed by Plaintiff Unitrin Auto & Home Insurance Company
("Unitrin" or "Plaintiff") and by Defendant Tammy A. Heister
("Heister" or "Defendant"). (Rec. Docs. 11 and 13).
Diversity jurisdiction in this Court is proper pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1332.
For the following reasons, we will grant the Plaintiff's Motion
for Summary Judgment and deny Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment. STANDARD OF REVIEW:
Summary judgment is appropriate if "there is no genuine issue
as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law." Fed .R. Civ. P. 56(c); see also
Turner v. Schering-Plough Corp., 901 F.2d 335, 340 (3d Cir.
1990). The party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of
showing "there is no genuine issue for trial." Young v.
Quinlan, 960 F.2d 351, 357 (3d Cir. 1992). Summary judgment
should not be granted when there is a disagreement about the
facts or the proper inferences which a fact finder could draw
from them. Peterson v. Lehigh Valley Dist. Council,
676 F.2d 81, 84 (3d Cir. 1982).
Initially, the moving party has a burden of demonstrating the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corporation
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). This may be met by the
moving party pointing out to the court that there is an absence
of evidence to support an essential element as to which the
non-moving party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Id. at
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that, where such a
motion is made and properly supported, the non-moving party must
then show by affidavits, pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, that there is a genuine
issue for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). The United States Supreme Court has commented that this requirement is tantamount to the
non-moving party making a sufficient showing as to the essential
elements of their case that a reasonable jury could find in its
favor. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-23.
It is important to note that "the non-moving party cannot rely
upon conclusory allegations in its pleadings or in memoranda and
briefs to establish a genuine issue of material fact." Pastore
v. Bell Tel. Co. of Pa., 24 F.3d 508, 511 (3d Cir. 1994)
(citation omitted). However, all inferences "should be drawn in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and where the
non-moving party's evidence contradicts the movant's, then the
non-movant's must be taken as true." Big Apple BMW, Inc. v. BMW
of N. Am., Inc., 974 F.2d 1358, 1363 (3d Cir. 1992), cert.
denied, 507 U.S. 912 (1993) (citations omitted).
Still, "the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute
between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly
supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that
there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986) (emphasis in
original). "As to materiality, the substantive law will identify
which facts are material." Id. at 248. A dispute is considered
to be genuine only if "the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. STATEMENT OF MATERIAL FACTS:
In the main, the facts of this case are undisputed. On March
29, 2004 at approximately 1:10 a.m., Defendant was injured in an
automobile accident when the vehicle in which she was a front
seat passenger was struck by a tractor trailer in South
Middletown Township, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. As a result
of the accident, Defendant suffered significant and severe
injuries. At the time of the accident, Defendant was insured by
an automobile policy number CV705534 issued by Plaintiff (the
"Policy"). The Policy included liability insurance for Defendant
in the amount of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.
The Policy also indicated that it did not provide underinsured
motorist ("UIM") benefits as a result of Defendant having signed
a form provided by Plaintiff entitled "Rejection of Underinsured
Motorist Protection" ("UIM rejection waiver form") on August 24,
2003. (Rec. Doc. 13, Ex. A). This UIM rejection waiver form
REJECTION OF UNDERINSURED MOTORIST INSURANCE
By signing this waiver, I am rejecting underinsured
motorist coverage under this policy, for myself, and
all relatives residing in my household. Underinsured
coverage protects me and relatives living in my
household for losses and damages suffered if injury
is caused by the negligence of a driver who does not
have enough insurance to pay for all losses and
damages. I knowingly and voluntarily reject this
coverage. By rejecting this coverage, I am also
signing the waiver on pg. 10 rejecting stacked limits of
underinsured motorist coverage.
(Rec. Doc. 13, Ex. B) (emphasis added). On that same date,
Defendant also signed a form rejecting stacked UIM coverage
("stacked UIM waiver form").
Defendant's parents purchased a similar policy from the
Plaintiff which was issued to number CV893989 (the "Parents'
Policy"). On or about July 20, 2003 Defendant's parents signed a
form entitled "Rejection of Underinsured Motorist Protection"
that was identical to above-excerpted UIM rejection waiver form
signed by Defendant. Defendant's parents also signed a stacked
UIM waiver form. It is of course not disputed that both policies
as just described are governed by the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle
Financial Responsibility Law ("MVFRL"), codified at 75 Pa. Cons.
Stat. § 1701 et seq.
Subsequent to signing these forms, Defendant made claims
against Plaintiff under both her Policy and the Parents' Policy
for UIM benefits stemming from the March 2004 accident. In light
of the aforementioned signed waivers from Defendant and her
parents, Plaintiff filed this action seeking a declaratory relief
that it need not pay UIM or UIM stacking benefits to Defendant.
Defendant contends that the UIM rejection waiver forms are
invalid because they do not comply with the ...