United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
ROBERT W. TONER
GEICO INSURANCE COMPANY
SANDRA MOORE WELLS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
action, alleging breach of an insurance contract, warrants
federal jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Plaintiff Robert
W. Toner (“Plaintiff”) commenced this action by
filing a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery
County, Pennsylvania on January 16, 2017. Complaint, Exhibit
A. On January 30, 2017, defendant GEICO Insurance Company
(“GEICO”) removed the action to this court based
on diversity jurisdiction. Civil Docket Report, Exhibit B.
GEICO moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that Plaintiff
had failed to state a claim upon which relief could be
granted. Exhibit B, doc no. 3. GEICO also argued that the
insurance policy at issue specifically excludes the coverage
sought by Plaintiff. Id. On July 6, 2017, the
Honorable Joel H. Slomsky entered an Order and Opinion
granting in part and denying in part GEICO's motion.
Exhibit B, doc. nos. 6 and 7. Specifically, Plaintiff's
bad faith claim was dismissed, but the breach of contract
claim survived. Id.
18, 2017, GEICO filed an Answer with Affirmative Defenses to
Plaintiff's Complaint. Answer, Exhibit C. On October 16,
2017, upon consent of the parties, Judge Slomsky referred
this matter to the undersigned “to conduct all
proceedings and order the entry of final judgment.”
Exhibit B, doc. no. 11. On November 2, 2017, this court
entered an order bifurcating the issue of coverage under the
GEICO policy from the issue of Plaintiff's alleged
damages, and setting a deadline for the filing of GEICO's
motion for summary judgment at issue herein. Exhibit B, doc.
no. 13; Order, Exhibit E. Plaintiff responded to the motion,
and on February 2, 2018, oral argument was held. The motion
is now ripe for decision. As set forth herein, the record
establishes that there is no genuine issue as to any material
fact related to GEICO's assertion that Plaintiff's
claim is specifically excluded by the language of the policy,
and the applicable exclusion requires that judgment be
entered in GEICO's favor as a matter of law.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
claims arise out of a motor vehicle accident which occurred
on March 25, 2015 in Palm Beach County, Florida. Exhibit A.
At that time, Plaintiff was operating a motorcycle that was
struck by another vehicle. Police Report, Exhibit F. As a
result of the accident, Plaintiff submitted a claim for
underinsured motorist benefits under a policy of insurance
issued by GEICO to his parents, Robert and Diann Toner.
Exhibit A. At all relevant times, Plaintiff was not a Named
Insured on the policy in question. GEICO Policy, Exhibit D.
Although Plaintiff's brother, Kevin M. Toner, was listed
as an Additional Driver on the policy, Plaintiff was not.
Coverage Under the Policy
Automobile Policy Amendment applicable to Underinsured
Motorist Coverage provided under the policy at issue
provides, in pertinent part:
LOSSES WE PAY
Under this coverage, we will pay damages for
bodily injury caused by an accident
which the insured is legally
entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an
underinsured motor vehicle arising
out of the ownership, maintenance or use of that motor
D, at 30 (emphasis in original).
Amendment expressly defines relevant terms:
2. Insured means:
(b) A household member;
(c) Any other person while
occupying an owned
(d) Any person who is entitled to recover damages because of
bodily injury sustained by an
insured under (a), (b) and (c)
Id. (emphasis in original).
policy defines “you” as “the policyholder
named in the declarations and his or her spouse if a resident
of the same household.” Id., at 5. As noted,
Plaintiff was not named as a policyholder on the declarations
sheet of the policy. Id., at 1. He is not the spouse
of either of the policyholders named on the declarations
sheet, who are his parents. Therefore, it is undisputed that
Plaintiff does not qualify as an insured on the policy as
policy defines “owned auto” as follows:
(a) a vehicle described in the policy for which a premium is
shown for these coverages;
(b) a trailer owned by
(c) a private passenger,
farm or utility
auto which you acquire ownership of during the
policy period or for which you
enter into a lease for a term of six months or more during
the policy period if,
(i) it replaces an owned auto as
defined in (a) above; or (ii) we insure all
farm and utility
autos owned or leased by
you on the date of the acquisition,
and you ask us to add it to the
policy no more than 30 days later;
(d) a temporary substitute auto.
D, at 5 (emphasis in original). The motorcycle that Plaintiff
was operating at the time of the accident was not listed as a
vehicle to which the policy applies, see Exhibit D,
at 1, and cannot otherwise be considered an “owned
auto” as that term is defined in the policy. Therefore,
Plaintiff does not qualify as an insured under the policy by
virtue of having occupied an “owned auto” at the
time of the accident.
Amendment defines “household member” as follows:
1. Household Member means a person
residing in your household who is:
(a) Your spouse; or
(b) A relative; or
(c) A minor in your custody or the
custody of a relative.
D, at 30 (emphasis in original). Thus, the parties agree
that, in order to qualify as an insured household member
under the policy, Plaintiff must establish that he was
residing at his parents' home in Huntington Valley,
Pennsylvania at the time of the accident.
Facts Pertaining to Plaintiff's Residence at the ...