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Matthews v. Erie Ins. Grp.

Pennsylvania Superior Court

January 12, 2021

The plaintiff in a motor-vehicle-accident case appealed from an order of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas that sustained the defendant’s preliminary objections because the venue should have been in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. In Matthews v. Erie Ins. Grp., the Superior Court agreed. The plaintiff sued because the defendant insurance company, which insured his car, refused to pay on underinsured motorist coverage. The policy issued did not have a valid waiver of underinsured motorist coverage, and under 75 Pa.C.S. ยง 1731(c.1), the remedy would be for “reformation” of the contract to include UIM. Here, the defendant’s standard UIM contained a clause establishing that venue in any legal action involving the UIM coverage would be the county in which the plaintiff is domiciled, which was Bucks County. The Court held that the remedy under Section 1731(c.1) was equitable and allowed the trial court to reform any relevant term of the contract and not just add UIM to the policy’s existing terms. And there was also a declaratory action being litigated in Bucks County. As a result, the proper venue was Bucks County.

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