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Larry W. Christian and Sandra A. Christian v. the First Liberty Insurance J. Rambo Corporation Also T/A

March 16, 2011

LARRY W. CHRISTIAN AND SANDRA A. CHRISTIAN,
PLAINTIFFS
v.
THE FIRST LIBERTY INSURANCE J. RAMBO CORPORATION ALSO T/A LIBERTY MUTUAL, AND JOHN DOE, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sylvia H. Rambo United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM

Before the court is Plaintiffs Larry W. Christian's and Sandra A. Christian's motion to consolidate. (Doc. 14). For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.

I. Background

A. Facts

1. Parties

Plaintiff Larry W. Christian ("Christian") is a tractor-trailer operator married to Sandra A. Christian, both of whom reside in Virginia.

Defendant First Liberty Mutual Corporation ("Liberty Mutual") is an insurance company incorporated in the state of Massachusetts. Liberty Mutual provided uninsured motorist coverage to the Christians from November 23, 2009, to November 23, 2010.

In a separate action, Civ. No. 1:10-CV-0019, the Christians seek recovery from two other sources. Defendants in that action are truck owner Martini Inc. ("Martini") and their tractor-trailer operator, Earnest Compton ("Compton").

2. The Accident

On January 30, 2008, Christian was driving a tractor-trailer northbound on Interstate 81 near Shippensburg Borough in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, and was third in a series of five tractor-trailers driving in a line. Martini's truck, driven by Compton, was first in the series. Plaintiffs contend that Compton's negligent driving caused a loose beer barrel from his truck to go soaring into the windshield of Christian's truck, causing permanent injuries to Christian.

Plaintiffs believe Compton will defend himself by claiming the accident was unavoidable because a small SUV, the driver of which is unknown to either party, cut Compton off as it merged onto the highway. To the court's knowledge, discovery has not commenced in this case, and thus, the factual arguments are based on mere speculation. However, Plaintiffs point to a police report which states that another truck driver, Michael L. Conlee, saw a small SUV merge onto the highway at the time of the accident.

Plaintiffs, in the event that a jury finds that the unknown SUV driver contributed to the cause of the accident, seek uninsured motorist coverage from Liberty Mutual. Thus, Plaintiffs filed the instant motion to consolidate their tort claims against the Third-Party Defendants with their contractual claim against Liberty Mutual.

B. Procedural Posture

On January 5, 2010, the Christians filed various tort claims against Compton and Martini alleging that Compton's negligent driving caused the accident that led to Christian's injuries. (See Christian v. Martini, Inc. et al,1:10-cv-00019, Doc. 1.) Martini and Compton joined several other trucking companies and drivers involved in the accident as Third Party Defendants in the ...


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