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Harvey v. Liberty Mutual Group, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

March 26, 2014

EDWARD HARVEY, Plaintiff,
v.
LIBERTY MUTUAL GROUP, INC., OHIO CASUALTY CORPORATION, AND THE NETHERLANDS INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants

Decided: March 25, 2014.

Page 667

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 668

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 669

For EDWARD HARVEY, Plaintiff: STEPHEN KARP, LEAD ATTORNEY, KARP & HART, P.C., WEST CHESTER, PA.

For LIBERTY MUTUAL GROUP, INC., OHIO CASUALTY CORPORATION, THE NETHERLANDS INSURANCE COMPANY, INCORRECTLY DESIGNATED AS NETHERLANDS INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants: LOUIS E. BRICKLIN, LEAD ATTORNEY, CHESTER F. DARLINGTON, BENNETT BRICKLIN & SALTZBURG LLC, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

OPINION

Page 670

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

JOYNER, J.

Before the Court are Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 13), Plaintiffs' Response thereto (Doc. No. 15), and Defendants' Reply in further support thereof (Doc. No. 16). For the following reasons, the Court hereby GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.

II. BACKGROUND

The stipulated facts, as agreed to by the parties, are as follows. On September 30, 2008, Plaintiff Edward Harvey was involved in an automobile accident in East Goshen Township in Pennsylvania. He was rear-ended by a vehicle being driven by Kyle Smedley, who is not a party to the present action, while waiting for a traffic light at the intersection of Paoli Pike and East Boot Road. At the time of the accident, Mr. Harvey was driving a vehicle owned by his employer, Spanpro Services Group, and was in the course of employment.

Mr. Smedley was insured by Erie Insurance and had a liability insurance policy with a limit of $250,000.00. Mr. Smedley was also insured by an Erie Insurance umbrella insurance policy with a $2 million limit of liability. Thus, Mr. Smedley had $2,250,000.00 in total liability coverage for the accident.

Mr. Harvey asserted a liability claim in the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County against Mr. Smedley for personal injuries and lost wages sustained as a result of the accident. Mr. Harvey, Mr. Smedley, and Erie Insurance decided to proceed to binding arbitration in lieu of resolving the dispute in the Court of Common Pleas. On May 21, 2012, they entered into a binding arbitration agreement, which contained the following provisions:

3. The parties agree to discontinue the lawsuit, and the provisions contained herein are the manner in which the dispute which underlies the lawsuit will be resolved.
. . .
8. The payment resulting from an award in this matter of the arbitrator shall be a low of $0.00 and no more than $1,350,000.00. The award will be amended to reflect the above described perimeters to the extent it falls outside of them.
9. The binding high figure of $1,350,000.00 restricts the amount of the award for purposes of this arbitration only; it is not intended to have any preclusive effect on any subsequent proceeding including any underinsured motorist claim or arbitration relating to the accident of September 30, 2008. (Def. Mot. for Summ. Judgement at Ex. B).

After an arbitration hearing, the arbitrator entered an award of $680,000.00 in favor of Mr. Harvey. (Def. Ex. C).

At the time of the accident, Spanpro Services Group was insured under an automobile insurance policy issued by the Netherlands Insurance Company (" Netherlands" ). The Netherlands policy ...


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