Amicus Curiae Brief on Behalf of PDI and PADC
Marshall Dennehey’s appellate attorneys filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Pennsylvania Defense Institute and Pennsylvania Association of Defense Counsel in a case pending in the Pennsylvania Superior Court that involved interpretation of a “regular use” exclusion that commonly appears in underinsured motorist coverage in automobile policies. The Superior Court enforced the exclusion, as PDI and PADC had requested. The plaintiff regularly used a company vehicle for his daily work. But one or two days before the accident, the specific vehicle he had been driving was taken out of service for repairs, and his employer rented a replacement vehicle for the plaintiff’s use. The insurer denied the UIM claim, based on the “regular use” exclusion, because the plaintiff was driving a company vehicle, which was his regular practice. The plaintiff countered that the vehicle he was operating at the time of the accident had not, in fact, been made “regularly” available to him because he only began using it a day or two prior. Relying on its prior decision in Brink v. Erie Ins. Group, 940 A.2d 528 (Pa. Super. 2008), which held that the “regular use” exclusion properly barred coverage for a plaintiff injured in a “fleet vehicle,” even though the plaintiff may have driven a different specific vehicle each day, the Rawl court held that the employer’s temporary rental of a replacement vehicle triggered application of the “regular use” exclusion and barred coverage. “Stated simply,” Rawl explains, “it does not matter whether Mr. Rawl had regular use of a particular vehicle furnished by his employer, but whether he regularly used a vehicle supplied by his employer.” The court, therefore, affirmed the trial court’s award of summary judgment to the carrier.