Review of Court Decisions - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 47, No. 1
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
INSURANCE-UNDERINSURED MOTORIST BENEFITS-ENFORCEMENT OF ARBITRATION AGREEMENT -DECLARATORY JUDGMENT-PENNSYLVANIA
The appellate court vacated a lower court's order granting a motion for declaratory judgment because declaratory judgment actions are precluded in Pennsylvania on matters within the jurisdiction of the arbitrators. In so doing, the court enforced the parties' arbitration agreement and instructed the trial court to direct the parties to proceed to arbitration.
Barry Scott Mason died as a result of injuries sustained when the motorcycle he was operating was struck by a truck. Mason's motorcycle was uninsured at the time of the accident, but Mason himself was insured because of his status as a member of his stepfather's residence under two policies of motor vehicle insurance issued by Erie Insurance Exchange to Donald Bechtel. Each policy provided for $25,000 in underinsured motorist coverage. After settling the wrongful death and survival actions he instituted against the owner I operator of the truck for the limits of the applicable liability coverage, Bechtel filed a claim against Erie for $50,000 in underinsured benefits. Pursuant to the terms of the insurance policies issued by Erie, Bechtel designated his arbitrator.