Forry Ullman Obtains Defense Verdit In Post-Koken Uim Jury Trial In Philadelphia County

By Karl L. Stefan, Esquire

On Tuesday, March 22, 2010, a Philadelphia Common Pleas jury entered a defense verdict in the first Post-Koken decision in Philadelphia County involving Progressive Insurance in the case of Horwitz v. Progressive Halcyon Insurance Company. Karl Stefan, Esquire and Leonard Sabato, Esquire acted as counsel for Progressive.

This case involved an underinsured motorists claim against Progressive Halcyon Insurance Company only, since plaintiffs had previously settled their action against the tortfeasor for his liability limits of $15,000.00.

The case was tried to a jury pursuant to a Binding Agreement between the parties wherein it was agreed that all medical evidence would be submitted by way of records and reports, in lieu of live testimony. The Binding Agreement also provided for a cap on damages and the waiver by both parties of any right of appeal from the jury’s decision.

At trial, the jury was advised that the lawsuit involved an underinsured motorists action commenced by the plaintiffs against Progressive. However, the jury was not provided with any information regarding premiums paid, the amount of liability coverage available to or recovered by the plaintiffs, or the limits of underinsured motorists coverage under the Progressive policy.

Progressive stipulated to liability on the part of the tortfeasor, and the case was therefore litigated only on the issues of causation and damages. Following a two-day trial, the jury entered a verdict in favor of the defendant, finding that the accident was not a factual cause for the injuries/damages claimed by the plaintiffs. Progressive chose not to obtain an IME of the husband-plaintiff. Notwithstanding plaintiffs’ arguments that the injury was uncontroverted, the jury still found that the accident was not the cause of any injuries to plaintiff. For any questions or further details regarding this important decision, please contact Karl L. Stefan, Esquire.