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Foster v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co.

United States District Court, Third Circuit

January 6, 2014

FOSTER, ET AL.
v.
USAA CASUALTY INSURANCE CO.

MEMORANDUM

R. BARCLAY SURRICK, J.

Presently before the Court is Defendant USAA Casualty Insurance Company’s Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 20.) For the following reasons, Defendant’s Motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History

On September 13, 2010, Plaintiffs Ronald T. Foster and Olga L. Foster, residents of Pennsylvania, filed a Complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County against Defendant USAA Casualty Insurance Company, a Texas corporation with its principal place of business in Texas. (Compl., Notice of Removal Ex. A, ECF No. 1.) The Complaint included claims by Ronald Foster for breach of contract and bad faith, and by Olga Foster for loss of consortium. (Id.) On September 28, 2010, Defendant removed the action to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 and 1441, et seq. (Notice of Removal.) On March 7, 2011, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint. (Am. Compl., ECF No. 9.) In the Amended Complaint, Ronald Foster set forth claims against Defendant for breach of contract and bad faith related to his insurance contract with Defendant. (Am. Compl.) The Amended Complaint did not include the claim by Olga Foster for loss of consortium. (Am. Compl.)[1] On May 2, 2011, Defendant filed a counterclaim seeking a declaratory judgment against Plaintiffs, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2201. (Def.’s Answer, ECF No. 12.) On August 19, 2011, Defendant filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment. (Def.’s Mot., ECF No. 20.) Plaintiff filed a response in opposition to the Motion on September 20, 2011. (Pl.’s Opp’n, ECF No. 21.) Defendant replied to Plaintiff’s Opposition on October 22, 2011. (Def.’s Reply, ECF No. 25.)

B. Factual History

On March 28, 2008, Defendant quoted Plaintiff a price for an insurance policy that would cover three automobiles: a 1999 Dodge Dakota; a 1998 Chevrolet Malibu; and a 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier. (Def.’s Mot. Ex. B.) In obtaining this price quote, Plaintiff filled out an online form and spoke with Defendant’s representative over the phone. (Foster Dep. 12-20, Def.’s Mot. Ex. C.) At the time, Plaintiff also owned a 1986 Yamaha motorcycle that was covered under a separate GEICO insurance policy. (Id. at 39, 86.) On April 16, 2008, Defendant issued an automobile insurance policy (the “Policy”) to Plaintiff with effective dates of April 17, 2008 to October 17, 2008. (Policy Packet 2-3, Def.’s Mot. Ex. E.) The Policy provided insurance coverage for the vehicles that Plaintiff had originally inquired about: a 1999 Dodge Dakota; a 1998 Chevrolet Malibu; and a 2000 Chevrolet Cavalier (the “Covered Vehicles”). (Id. at 6.) The Policy included underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage “stacked” for the Covered Vehicles with policy limits of $100, 000 per person and $300, 000 per occurrence. (Id. at 6.)

Defendant mailed the Policy to Plaintiff on April 16, 2008. (Webb Dep., Def.’s Mot. Ex. F.) The materials sent to Plaintiff included: (1) a cover letter; (2) insurance cards for each of the Covered Vehicles; (3) declarations pages; (4) supplemental information pages reflecting premium discounts and credits; (5) policy provisions describing the terms, conditions, and exclusions applicable to Plaintiff’s coverage; and (6) various information forms, not considered a part of the Policy, but required by Pennsylvania law. (Policy Packet.) The cover letter to the materials said: “Refer to your Declarations Page and endorsements to verify that coverages, limits, deductibles and other policy details are correct and meet your insurance needs. Required information forms are also enclosed for your review.” (Id. at 2.)

Within the materials sent to Plaintiff was Form 5100PA(01), entitled “PENNSYLVANIA AUTO POLICY[.]” (Id. at 22 (emphasis in original).) The first page of Form 5100PA(01) said “READ YOUR POLICY, DECLARATIONS AND ENDORSEMENTS CAREFULLY” and “[t]he automobile insurance contract between the named insured and the company shown on the Declarations page consists of this policy plus the Declarations pages and any applicable endorsements.” (Id.) Part C of this form described the UIM coverage available to Plaintiff and listed the following exclusion:

B. We do not provide UIM Coverage for BI sustained by any covered person while occupying, or when struck by, any motor vehicle owned by you or any family member which is not insured for UIM Coverage under this or any other policy. This includes a trailer of any type used with that vehicle.

(Id. at 36-38.) Also included in the materials sent to Plaintiff was Form A100PA(03), entitled “AMENDMENT OF POLICY PROVISIONS PENNSYLVANIA[.]” (Id. at 11 (emphasis in original).) The first line of Form A100PA(03) stated “[t]his Amendment forms a part of the auto policy to which it is attached, and it modifies that policy as follows:[.]” (Id. at 11.) One of the listed modifications referenced UIM coverage stating,

Exclusion B. is replaced by the following: We do not provide UIM Coverage for BI sustained by any covered person while occupying, or when struck by, any motor vehicle owned or regularly used by you or any family member which is not insured for UIM Coverage under this policy. This includes a trailer of any type used with that vehicle.

(Id. at 14.) Form A100PA(03) appeared before Form 5100PA(01) in the materials sent to Plaintiff. (Id.) The entire Policy Packet was stapled together. (Webb Dep. 159.) Plaintiff states that based on the documents in the Policy Packet, he believed that the Policy was made up of Form 5100PA(01), the declarations page, and any endorsements. (See Foster Aff. ¶ 2, ECF No. 22.) Plaintiff advises that he carefully reviewed Form 5100PA(01), the declarations pages, and the document titled as an endorsement. (Id. at ¶ 13.) He does not recall reading Form A100PA(03) (Foster Dep. 42-43), and he did not think Form A100PA(03) was part of his Policy (Foster Aff. ¶ 60).

On September 13, 2008, Defendant renewed Plaintiff’s Policy, with effective dates of October 17, 2008 to April 17, 2009. (Webb. Dep. 163.) On the same date, Defendant sent Plaintiff a packet of materials related to his renewal. (Def.’s Mot. Ex. G.) On March 11, 2009, Defendant again renewed Plaintiff’s Policy, with effective dates of April 17, 2009 to October 17, 2009. ...


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