Superior Court dismisses Geico appeal in uninsured motorist claim

By Dee Thompson | Oct 26, 2017

HARRISBURG — The state Superior Court recently dismissed as moot an appeal Geico filed in a case involving an uninsured motorist claim and ordered a lower court to dismiss the appellee's case.

The original case, Judith Koerner v. Geico Casualty Co., was filed in the Pike County Court of Common Pleas on May 19, 2016.

Koerner was injured “when objects from an unknown and uninsured motorist forced [Koerner]’s car into a guardrail causing injuries to [Koerner]," according to the ruling. In this complaint, she alleged she was entitled to compensation under her insurance policy.

Koerner filed a complaint against Geico in July 2016, claiming the insurance company failed to comply with discovery and did not produce a representative for a deposition, written discovery requests or a recording of a call. 

Koerner asked for a declaratory judgment. In August 2016, Geico filed a motion to strike, and in October the court denied that motion, according to court records. Geico then appealed.

The first lawsuit was removed to federal court. 

“Judge (Richard P.) Conaboy dismissed Counts I and II of the Second Amended Complaint for breach of contract and common law bad faith on the basis that Geico had tendered the limits of Koerner’s uninsured motorist ('UM') coverage ($15,000). This was the full amount that Koerner could recover on a first-party UM claim,” according to the memorandum written by Judge Kate Ford Elliott. 

Conaboy kept in the third count, statutory bad faith.

Koerner continued to allege that she was entitled to declaratory relief but did not tender any new evidence. The Superior Court found that she could have filed a motion to compel or a motion for sanctions instead.

“Here, we agree with Geico that the matter is moot," Ford Elliott ruled. 

"Geico tendered the UM policy limits of $15,000 and complied with Koerner’s discovery requests. ... While Koerner sought a declaratory judgment that Geico was in violation of Pennsylvania law, all of the factual allegations related to Geico’s purported failure to comply with Koerner’s discovery requests in the underlying UM litigation”

The case was heard by Judges H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr., Anne E. Lazarus and Ford Elliott.

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