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Goddard v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

January 16, 2014

PHILLIP GODDARD
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY

Page 474

For PHILLIP GODDARD, Plaintiff: ELLIOTT TOLAN, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

For STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant: KATHERINE COLE DOUGLAS, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

OPINION

ORDER

THOMAS N. O'NEILL, JR., J.

AND NOW this 16th day of January, 2014, upon consideration of the motion for summary judgment by defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (Dkt. No. 35) and the response of plaintiff Phillip Goddard (Dkt. No. 36), and consistent with the accompanying memorandum of law, it is ORDERED that defendant's motion is GRANTED. JUDGMENT is entered in favor of defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and against plaintiff Phillip Goddard.

Page 475

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Phillip Goddard sued State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company for breach of contract and bad faith arising from defendant's refusal to pay uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) benefits to Goddard. Presently before me is defendant's second motion for summary judgment and plaintiff's response thereto.[1] For the reasons that follow, I will grant defendant's motion.

BACKGROUND

Goddard was in an automobile accident in Philadelphia on August 6, 1998 that occurred due to the negligence of an uninsured or underinsured driver. Dkt. No. 3 at ¶ ¶ 7-8. According to police reports, Goddard was on the Schuylkill Expressway when he was involved in two impacts. Dkt. No. 35 at ¶ 5. The first impact occurred when Michael Grant struck Goddard's car in the rear in heavy traffic and was described as minor. Id. This impact rendered Goddard's car temporarily inoperable and a second car driven by Michael Bogan then also struck Goddard's car in the rear. Id. It is unknown whether Michael Grant was insured for the 1998 accident; however, Michael Bogan, the driver of the second car that struck Goddard, carried $25,000.00 of liability coverage. Id. at ¶ 6. Goddard suffered injuries as a result of this accident and made a claim under the UM/UIM provision of his State Farm policy.[2] Id. at ¶ ¶ 7-10.

Goddard's State Farm policy contained a cooperation clause detailing the insured's duties after reporting a claim. Dkt. No. 35 at ¶ 8.[3] Between December, 1998 and

Page 476

February, 1999 Goddard failed to comply with State Farm's several requests for an independent medical examination. Dkt. No. 3 at ¶ 17; Dkt. No. 35 at 47-74. The parties selected a neutral arbitrator in Delaware on June 29, 2005 and between September, 2005 and February, 2007 State Farm revived its attempts to acquire a medical examination of Goddard to no avail. Dkt. No. 18-1 at 18; Dkt. No. 35-2 at 33-50. On September 22, 2005 State Farm conditioned the arbitration of Goddard's UM/UIM claim on his completion of a medical examination. Dkt. No. 35 at ¶ 46. After disciplinary action was taken against Goddard's attorney, Allen Feingold, Goddard obtained new counsel who contacted State Farm on February 2, 2007 requesting to proceed to arbitration.[4] Dkt. No. 3 at ΒΆ 18. State Farm ultimately denied Goddard's claim and closed his file in 2007, citing ...


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