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Sackett UM/UIM stacking clarification expected from Pennsylvania Supreme Court.


On August 8, 2016, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to hear the insured’s appeal of Toner v. Travelers, 137 A.3d 583 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2016), which decision was previously summarized in the April 2016 edition of this this firm’s liability eNotes.  In short, in Toner, a panel of the Superior Court held that, under a policy with a standard (“non-finite”) after-acquired vehicle provision, new rejection of stacking forms were not required when additional vehicles were added to an auto policy.  That decision seemed consistent with prior Supreme Court rulings, but was perhaps inconsistent with other Superior Court decisions, including Bumbarger v Peerless, 93 A.3d 872 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2014).  For a more thorough summary of the Superior Court’s decision in Toner, please visit: http://www.tthlaw.com/index.php?id=955.

Via its forthcoming decision in Toner, there is a fair chance that the Supreme Court will now clarify the Sackett line of cases once and for all.  It is hoped that the Court’s statement of the issue to be addressed, which the Court “rephrased for clarity,” does not reflect some pre-judgment of the matter.  The Supreme Court identified the issue to be addressed as follows: “Whether the Superior Court correctly determined that an insured, who signed a UM/UIM stacking waiver at the inception of a single vehicle policy, was not entitled to stack UM /UIM benefits, even though the carrier failed to obtain stacking waivers when second and third vehicles were added to the policy?”  SeeToner v. Travelers, No. 170 WAL 2016 (Pa. Sept. 8, 2016).  Of course the very issue is whether or not new forms were required—if not, then there was no “failure” to obtain them.

Questions about this case can be directed to Pete Speaker, at (717) 255-7644 or pspeaker@tthlaw.com, or to Kevin McNamara, at (717) 237-7100 or kmcnamara@tthlaw.com.