A Pennsylvania judge has granted a motion by Penn State’s insurance company to have its civil case against the university played out in Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court.
In a brief order Wednesday, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Arnold L. New granted a motion by Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance Company to both have its lawsuit against the school heard in a Philadelphia courtroom, and to have a separate suit pending in the Centre County Court of Common Pleas transferred to the Philadelphia venue.
The insurance company filed suit in Philadelphia back on Jan. 31 seeking declaratory judgment against Penn State that would limit defense costs relating to a civil suit Penn State is facing by an alleged victim of Jerry Sandusky, the former university assistant football coach charged with molesting 10 young boys during the prior two decades.
Sandusky’s criminal trial is scheduled to begin in early June.
Following the filing of the insurance company’s lawsuit, Penn State filed its own civil action against its insurer alleging a breach of contract relating to the claims denial. Penn State, which is located in Centre County, Pa., also desired to have any litigation to be played out on its home turf.
The Legal Intelligencer reported that under Pennsylvania’s Rules of Civil Procedure, the Philadelphia court was authorized to transfer the Penn State suit filed in Centre County to Philadelphia County because the insurance company filed suit first and because the two cases are “mirror images” of each other.
“Indeed, the two actions represent a single dispute over PMA’s obligations to PSU,” the insurance company had said, according to the Legal Intelligencer article. “Requiring the parties to litigate the same issues in two forums would be a waste of judicial and the parties’ resources and would give rise to an unavoidable risk of inconsistent rulings.”
The insurance company had contended that the facts and legal issues in both cases were identical.
The court docket sheet in the case shows that Penn State had filed a motion to transfer venue of the Philadelphia case to Centre County back on March 9.
As for the criminal charges against Sandusky, the judge presiding over that case earlier this week denied a defense motion to dismiss the child sex-abuse charges against the former assistant football coach.
Jury selection for the criminal case is expected to begin June 5.