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The Superior Court upheld an insurance policy's venue clause requiring a consumer to file suit in the county in which he or she lives.

January 1, 2010
O'Hara v. First Liberty Ins. Corp., 2009 Pa. Super. 214 (Pa. Super. Nov. 9, 2009) (Kelly, J.)

The Superior Court upheld an insurance policy's venue clause requiring a consumer to file suit in the county in which he or she lives, addressing an issue of first impression created by the abolition of the Pennsylvania's Insurance Department's arbitration requirement for uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance policies. Prior to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's 2005 Koken decision, insurance carriers were required to arbitrate UM/UIM claims. The Koken Court held that the state Insurance Department did not have the authority to mandate arbitration. The forum selection clause at issue provides that a suit "must be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction in the county and state of your legal domicile at the time of the accident." Upholding the clause, the court notes that the forum selection clause uses clear and unambiguous language and, therefore, is "required to give effect to that language[.]'" The court rejected the plaintiffs' argument that the clause is unenforceable because it conflicts with Rule of Civil Procedure 2179 and Pennsylvania's policy of allowing a plaintiff his choice of forum.

Case Law Alert - 1st Qtr 2010

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