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Kline v. Travelers Personal Security Insurance Co.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

November 18, 2019

BRADLEY E. KLINE Appellee
v.
TRAVELERS PERSONAL SECURITY INSURANCE COMPANY Appellant BRADLEY E. KLINE Appellant
v.
TRAVELERS PERSONAL SECURITY INSURANCE COMPANY Appellee

          Appeal from the Order Entered December 18, 2018 In the Court of Common Pleas of York County Civil Division at No(s): 2015-SU-003883-89

          BEFORE: GANTMAN, P.J.E., McLAUGHLIN, J., and FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E.

          OPINION

          GANTMAN, P.J.E.

         Appellant/Cross-Appellee, Bradley E. Kline, and Appellee/Cross-Appellant, Travelers Personal Security Insurance Company ("Travelers"), appeal from the order entered in the York County Court of Common Pleas, in this declaratory judgment action, that granted partial summary judgment in favor of Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline, granted in part and denied in part Travelers' cross-motion for summary judgment, and entered final judgment against Travelers in the amount of $100, 000.00, plus interests and costs. For the following reasons, we vacate and remand with instructions.

         In its opinion, the trial court sets forth the relevant facts of this appeal as follows:

[Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] brought this action as a result of the injuries he sustained while operating his motor vehicle. This action concerns an issue related to an automobile insurance policy entered into between [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] and [Travelers], and an issue related to an automobile insurance policy entered into between [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline]'s mother and [Travelers]. The first issue is before this [c]ourt on both [parties'] Cross Motions for Summary Judgment. It concerns a dispute as to whether [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] is entitled to stack underinsured motorist benefits where [Travelers] did not issue new rejection of stacking waiver forms upon [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] adding two vehicles to his insurance policy. The second issue is before this [c]ourt on [Travelers'] Motion for Summary Judgment. It concerns whether [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] is entitled to stacked benefits under the insurance policy entered into between his mother and [Travelers]. The following facts were stipulated by the parties:
[Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] applied for an automobile insurance policy ("the Policy") with [Travelers] in August of 2002. At the time, [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] selected uninsured motorist benefits ("UM") and underinsured motorist benefits ("UIM") in the amount of $50, 000 each person/$100, 000 each accident. [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] rejected stacked UIM coverage by signing a rejection of stacking waiver form. [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline's] Policy covered one vehicle at its inception, a 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix. The 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix was later replaced by a 2002 Pontiac Firebird.
On or about June 6, 2007, [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] added a 2001 Pontiac Montana to the Policy. By doing so, [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] increased the number of covered vehicles from one to two. [Appellant/Cross-
Appellee Kline] notified his insurance agent and an amended Automobile Policy Declaration sheet was issued reflecting the addition to the vehicle to the Policy. [Travelers] did not present [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] with a new stacking rejection form when the 2001 Pontiac Montana was added to the Policy. The 2001 Pontiac Montana was later replaced by a 2008 Chevrolet Uplander.
On or about August 11, 2011, [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] added a 2003 Pontiac Vibe to the Policy. By doing so, [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] increased the number of covered vehicles from two to three. [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] notified his insurance agent and an amended Automobile Policy Declarations sheet was issued reflecting the addition of the vehicle to the Policy. [Travelers] did not present [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] with a new stacking rejection form when the 2003 Pontiac Vibe was added to the Policy.
The Automobile Policy Declarations sheets reflected non-stacked UM and UIM coverage benefits of $50, 000 each person/$100, 000 each accident from the date of [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline's] Policy's inception to the date of the subject motor vehicle accident.
Section J of the Policy ("Section J") states, in pertinent part:
"Your covered auto" means:
1. Any vehicle shown in the Declarations.
2. Any of the following types of vehicles on the date you become the owner:
a. a private passenger auto; or b. a pickup or van.

         This provision (J.2) applies only if:

a. you acquire the vehicle during the policy period;
b. you ask us to insure it within 30 days after you become the owner; and
c. with respect to a pickup or van, no other insurance policy provides coverage for that vehicle.
If the vehicle you acquire replaces one shown in the Declarations, it will have the same coverage as the vehicle it replaced. You must ask us to insure a replacement vehicle within 30 days only if: a. you wish to add or continue Damage to Your Auto Coverages; or
b. it is a pickup or van used in any "business" other than farming or ranching.
If the vehicle you acquire is in addition to any shown in the Declarations, it will have the broadest coverage we now provide for any vehicle shown in the Declarations.
([Declaratory Judgment Complaint, Exhibit "B"; R.R. at 30a-31a]). All three of the vehicles covered at the time of the motor vehicle accident constituted "covered autos" as defined by Section J.
On September 18, 2012, [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] was involved in a motor vehicle accident while operating the 2003 Pontiac Vibe. [He] asserted a UIM claim under the Policy as a result of the injuries he sustained. [Travelers] tendered the non-stacked UIM coverage limits of $50, 000.
Miriam Kline is the mother of [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline]. At all relevant times, Miriam Kline insured a Chevrolet Cruze with [Travelers] under a different policy. At the time of the motor vehicle accident, Miriam Kline had stacked UIM coverage on her policy in the amount of $100, 000 each person/$300, 000 each accident. [Appellant/Cross-Appellee Kline] resided with Miriam Kline at all relevant times.

(Trial Court Opinion, filed December 18, 2018, at 2-4) (internal citations to record, some internal quotations omitted, some emphasis added). Ms. Kline's policy contained a "household vehicle exclusion" that reads in pertinent part:

B. We do not provide [UM] or [UIM] Coverage for bodily injury sustained:
* * *
2. By a "family member": ...

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