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Thomas M. Weilacher and Melissa v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

April 25, 2013

THOMAS M. WEILACHER AND MELISSA WEILACHER, HUSBAND AND WIFE, APPELLANTS
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order entered on January 6, 2012 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, No. GD 10-017928

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Musmanno, J.:

BEFORE: MUSMANNO, WECHT and COLVILLE*fn1 , JJ.

OPINION BY MUSMANNO, J.:

Thomas M. Weilacher and Melissa Weilacher ("Melissa"), Husband and Wife (collectively "the Weilachers"), appeal from the trial court's Order denying their Motion for summary judgment and granting State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company's ("State Farm") Motion for summary judgment. We reverse and remand.

The trial court has set forth the stipulations of fact as agreed upon by the parties:

1. [The Weilachers] are the sole named insureds under a policy of automobile insurance with [State Farm], which policy number is 005 0085-F27 ("the mutual policy").

2. The mutual policy was in full force and effect on April 26, 2010.

3. [The Weilachers] have submitted a claim for underinsured motorist ["UIM"] coverage under the mutual policy for damages they sustained as the result of injuries suffered by [Melissa] in an accident on April 26, 2010[,] with Gwen Steger in Waterford, Erie County, Pennsylvania.

4. [The Weilachers] have submitted documentation to [State Farm] that the automobile liability insurance carrier for Gwen Steger has offered and they have accepted its limits of bodily injury liability to [the Weilachers]. [State Farm] has waived its right of subrogation with regard to [Gwen] Steger.

5. [The Weilachers] have asserted that the limit of liability of [UIM] coverage under the mutual policy for their claim is $500,000, stacked for two vehicles.

6. [State Farm] has asserted that the limit of liability of [UIM] coverage under the mutual policy for [the Weilachers'] claim is $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident, stacked for two vehicles.

7. ...

8. On June 27, 1994, [the Weilachers] made [an] application for an automobile policy with State Farm Fire and Casualty Company.

9. With that application, [the Weilachers] signed an "Important Notice," and a "Rejection of Underinsured Motorist Protection" form.

10. At the time of their application, [the Weilachers] (one or both of them) did not sign a written request selecting uninsured motorist ["UM"] coverage in an amount less than or equal to the bodily injury liability limits.

11. At the time of their application, [the Weilachers] (one or both of them) did not sign a written request selecting [UIM] coverage in an amount less than [or] equal to the bodily injury liability limits.

12. At the time of their application, State Farm Fire and Casualty Company had an "Acknowledgment of Selection" form by which a named insured could select [UIM] vehicle coverage limits in an amount less than or equal to the bodily injury liability limits, and required a named insured's signature.

13. At the time of their application, State Farm Fire and Casualty Company had an "Acknowledgment of Selection" form by which a named insured could select [UM] vehicle coverage limits in an amount less than or equal to the bodily injury liability limits, and required a named insured's signature.

14. At the time of their application, State Farm Fire and Casualty Company did not obtain an "Acknowledgment of Selection" form for either [UM] or [UIM] coverage signed by either of [the Weilachers].

15. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company issued a standard policy number S26 2204-F27 (the "standard policy") on June 27, 1994[,] to [the Weilachers].

16. The standard policy remained in effect until September 2, 1999.

17. During the period from June 27, 1994[,] to September 2, 1999, State Farm Fire and Casualty Company did not receive any requests to add [UM] or [UIM] coverage in any amount.

18. During the period from June 27, 1994[,] to September 2, 1999[,] State Farm Fire and Casualty Company did not receive any signed written request from [the Weilachers] (one or both of them) selecting [UM] coverage in an amount less than or equal to the bodily injury liability insurance amount.

19. During the period from June 27, 1994[,] to September 2, 1999, State Farm Fire and Casualty Company did not receive any signed written request from [the Weilachers] (one or both of them) selecting [UIM] coverage in an amount less than or equal to the bodily injury liability insurance amount.

20. On September 2, 1999, the mutual policy was "issued" by [State Farm] as documented in the "Echo Policy Transactions" form. The form makes reference to "state forms" being sent. On that date, [the Weilachers'] insurance coverage was transferred from the standard policy written by State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, to the mutual policy written by [State Farm]. The mutual policy was a new policy replacing the standard policy. [The ...


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