United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Robin Busby (”Busby”) brings this diversity
action against defendants Steadfast Insurance Co.
(“Steadfast”) and USAA Casualty Insurance Co.
(“USAA”) for breach of contract and for bad faith
under Pennsylvania law for failure to pay certain claims of
Busby arising out of serious injuries she suffered as a
passenger in a motor vehicle on the Schuylkill Expressway in
the court are the cross-motions of the parties for partial
summary judgment under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary
judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). A dispute is genuine
if the evidence is such that a reasonable factfinder could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party. See Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 254 (1986). We view
the facts and draw all inferences in favor of the nonmoving
party. See In re Flat Glass Antitrust Litig., 385
F.3d 350, 357 (3d Cir. 2004).
judgment is granted where there is insufficient record
evidence for a reasonable factfinder to find for the
nonmovant. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. “The
mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the
[nonmoving party]'s position will be insufficient; there
must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for
[that party].” Id. In addition, Rule 56(e)(2)
provides “[i]f a party fails to properly support an
assertion of fact or fails to properly address another
party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the
court may . . . consider the fact undisputed for the purposes
of the motion.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2).
parties have stipulated to the relevant facts. On October 29,
2016, Busby was a passenger in the backseat of a 2013 Nissan
Altima driven by Thomas Curtain, who Busby had hired as a
driver through Lyft, Inc. (“Lyft”). Curtain was
traveling eastbound on the Schuylkill Expressway in the
left-hand lane near mile marker 334.3. The traffic came to a
stop in front of Curtain's vehicle. Curtain drove his
vehicle into the rear of the car in front of him which was
stopped in traffic.
Curtain hit the car in front of him, a 2005 Dodge Grand
Caravan driven by Gerald Crossley collided with the rear of
Curtain's vehicle. Curtain's vehicle was equipped
with an event data recorder which recorded “two
separate events.” The data was retrieved and analyzed
by plaintiff's and defendants' respective experts.
The data established that approximately one second had passed
between the two crashes. The data also demonstrated that
Curtain had been travelling in the left lane for at least six
seconds before Crossley hit the rear of Curtain's car.
Curtain's car was not moving and had come to a complete
stop at the time it was rear-ended by Crossley.
result of the first impact, Busby had a delta force of 18
applied to her, that is, the vehicle's speed was abruptly
reduced by 18 miles per hour due to the impact. As a result of
the second impact, the delta force applied to her was 13,
that is, the speed of Curtain's vehicle was accelerated
forward by 13 miles per hour due to the impact. To date,
Busby's treating physicians have attributed her injuries
to “the incident” or “the accident”
and have not opined as to which injuries were caused by the
first as opposed to the second impact.
time in question, the Steadfast policy provided liability
coverage for Lyft drivers like Curtain as well as uninsured
or underinsured motorist benefits for passengers such as
Busby using Lyft. The limits of coverage were an aggregate
one million dollars for both liability and uninsured or
underinsured motorist (“UIM”) claims for
“each accident.” The Steadfast policy defines
“accident” as follows: “Accident includes
continuous or repeated exposure to the same conditions
resulting in ‘bodily injury' or ‘property
damage.'” The policy further states that
“[r]egardless of the number of covered
‘autos,' ‘insureds,' premiums paid,
claims made or vehicles involved in the ‘accident',
[sic] the most we will pay for the total of all damages . . .
combined resulting from any one ‘accident' is the
Limit of Insurance for Covered Autos Liability Coverage shown
in the Declarations.”
“Pennsylvania Underinsured Motorists Coverage”
endorsement to the Steadfast policy similarly provides that
“[r]egardless of the number of covered ‘motor
vehicles,' ‘insureds,' premiums paid, claims
made or vehicles involved in the ‘accident,' the
most we will pay for all damages resulting from any one
‘accident' is the Limit of Insurance for
Underinsured Motorists Coverage shown in the Schedule or
addition to the benefits under the Steadfast policy, Busby
had UIM coverage under her personal automobile policy with
USAA. The USAA policy provides UIM coverage of $100, 000 per
person and $300, 000 per “accident” with stacking
on Busby's two covered vehicles for a total of $200, 000
in UIM coverage per person and $600, 000 per accident. The
USAA policy does not define “accident.” In the
“LIMIT OF LIABILITY” section related to UIM
benefits, the USAA policy states that for bodily injury
sustained by the insured or a family member:
(1) Our maximum limit of liability for all resulting damages
including, but not limited to, all direct, derivative, or
consequential damages recoverable by any persons is the limit
of liability shown on the Declarations for “each
person” for UIM Coverage multiplied by ...