Plaintiff’s Class Certification Motion Denied as Vance and Foster Successfully Represent Client
RRD attorneys, Bradley J. Vance and Robert J. Foster, represented Discover Property & Casualty Insurance Company in a class action lawsuit. The action was filed in Lackawanna County and removed to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania over the objections of Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleged he was entitled to underinsured motorist benefits due to defects in the waiver form executed by the insured. Plaintiff ’s counsel sought to certify a class of all individuals injured in a motor vehicle accident while occupying a vehicle insured by Discover where underinsured motorist benefits have been waived. The complaint proposed that all underinsured motorist claims would be resolved by a special master appointed by the Court. Judge Robert Mariani denied the Motion for Class Certification. Judge Mariani rejected the argument that the class would be defined by the number of insureds. Since only four potential underinsured claims could be identified, Judge Mariani ruled that the numerosity requirement had not been met. Judge Mariani also found that the predominance requirement was not satisifed. Even though each potential class member had one common legal issue (the validity of the waiver) the court agreed with defense counsel’s argument that the unique elements of every underinsured motorist claim defeated predominance.