INSURANCE-LIQUOR LIABILITY COVERAGE-LIMITS

November 17th, 2017 by Rieders Travis in Insurance

Good v. Frankie & Eddie’s Hanover Inn, LLP, 2017 Pa. Super. LEXIS 727 (September 21, 2017) Musmanno, J.  Florence A. Good (“Good”), individually and as executrix of the Estate of Barry D. Good, deceased (“the Estate”), appeals from the Order denying Good’s Motion for Summary Judgment in a declaratory judgment action against Frankie & Eddie’s Hanover Inn, LLP (“Hanover Inn”), and RCA Insurance Group (“RCA”), on behalf of State National Insurance Company, and denying as moot RCA’s Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment.  We affirm.

On April 4, 2012, at approximately 10:56 p.m., Barry D. Good (“the Deceased”) was fatally injured when a Ford F250, driven by Francis Lynch (“Lynch”), collided with the Deceased’s Kawasaki Vulcan Motorcycle. At the time of the accident, Lynch was driving under the influence of alcohol, which had been served to him at Hanover Inn.

On the date of the accident, Hanover Inn was covered by a commercial insurance policy (“the Policy”) issued by RCA. The Policy includes a Liquor Liability Coverage Form, which provides for liquor liability coverage with an “Aggregate Limit,” as well as an “Each Common Cause Limit.” The Declarations page of the Policy specifies that the liquor liability coverage limit for “Each Occurrence” is $500,000, and the “Aggregate” limit is $1,000,000.

During the pendency of the wrongful death and survival action, a dispute arose regarding the applicable amount of coverage under the Policy. The parties entered into a settlement agreement for the underlying action, whereby RCA agreed to pay the undisputed amount of $500,000 on behalf of Hanover Inn. The parties also agreed that a court of competent jurisdiction would resolve the dispute pertaining to the remaining $500,000. An additional $15,000 was paid by Safe Auto Insurance Company, on behalf of Lynch, for bodily injury.

On June 17, 2013, Good filed a Complaint, seeking relief in the nature of a declaratory judgment that the applicable liability limit is the $1,000,000 “Aggregate Limit,” resulting in an additional payment of $500,000.

Upon review, we conclude that the trial court’s interpretation is sound and free of legal error, and we affirm on this basis as to Good’s claims.

Attorney Cliff Rieders

Attorney Cliff RiedersCliff Rieders is a Nationally Board Certified Trial Lawyer practicing personal injury law. A large part of his practice involves multi-district litigation, including cases related to pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and medical devices. He is admitted in several state and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is the past regional president of the Federal Bar Association and is a life member of the distinguished American Law Institute, which promulgates proposed rules adopted by many state courts. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, he served on the Board for 15 years.

Not only has Rieders held many highly esteemed, leadership positions, he authored legislation related to the Patient Safety Authority and the Mcare Act, which governs medical and hospital liability actions in Pennsylvania. He authored texts upon which both practitioners and judges rely, including Pennsylvania Malpractice Laws and Forms, and Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania, the latter governing auto and truck collisions in Pennsylvania. In addition, he wrote several books on the practice of law in Pennsylvania regarding wrongful death and survivor actions, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice claims and worker rights, among others. Rieders also serves as a resource to practitioners as a regular speaker for Celesq, an arm of the world’s largest legal publisher, Thomson Reuters West Publishing.

As recognition of his wide range of contribution to his profession and of his dedication to protecting the rights of his clients, he received numerous awards, among them the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, the Milton D. Rosenberg Award, the B’nai B’rith Justice Award, and awards of recognition from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. [ Attorney Bio ]

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