The instant case does not further these interests because, inter alia, the underlying suit between defendant and the New Jersey tortfeasors (whom this statute was meant to protect) has been settled.
Because plaintiff cannot use the deemer statute to establish New Jersey's interest in this litigation, plaintiff's only remaining arguments consist of New Jersey's public policy concerning underinsured motorists and New Jersey's interest arising from the situs of the accident. These, however, are not enough to overcome the general presumption in § 193 that in an automobile insurance contract dispute courts should apply the law of the principal place of the insured vehicle, here Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania's interests in applying its own law to protect the Pennsylvania insured's expectation of underinsured motorist coverage under the Pennsylvania policy of commericial vehicle insurance far outweigh New Jersey's interest in the remaining dispute between a Pennsylvania resident and its Pennsylvania-issued liability insurer. We see no reason to alter the expectations the parties had when they entered into the insurance contract by changing the forum (a district court as opposed to an arbitration panel) and manner in which disputes would be resolved. We will apply Pennsylvania law in this case.
E. Dispute under Pennsylvania Law
The Third Circuit has held that "under Pennsylvania law, the determination of whether an issue must be submitted to arbitration depends on two factors: (1) whether the parties have entered into an agreement to arbitrate, and (2) whether the dispute falls within the scope of that agreement." Nationwide Ins. Co. of Columbus, OH v. Patterson, 953 F.2d 44, 46 (3d Cir. 1991) (citing Rocca v. Pennsylvania General Ins. Co., 358 Pa. Super. 67, 516 A.2d 772 (1986), appeal denied, 517 Pa. 594, 535 A.2d 83 (1987).
Clearly, in this case, the parties entered into an agreement to arbitrate because the arbitration clause was part of the insurance policy. With regard to the second provision we note that the parties in Patterson had similar language in their arbitration clause as to the present parties: the arbitration clause in Patterson provided that "if the insurance company and the insured 'do not agree about the insured's right to recover damages,' the dispute will be submitted to arbitration." Id. The court in Patterson cited with approval the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's ruling that ambiguities must be resolved against the insurance company as the drafter of the contract and that, in the absence of limiting language in the arbitration clause, there was no limit to the jurisdiction of the arbitrators. Id. at 47 (citing Brennan v. General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corp., 524 Pa. 542, 549, 574 A.2d 580 (1990) ("There is no limit to the jurisdiction of the arbitrators over what issues may be submitted and in fact the policy declares that all disputes between the insurance company and the insured will be arbitrated.")). The Third Circuit, relying on Brennan, held that because there was no limiting language in the arbitration clause, the insured had a right to have the dispute settled through arbitration. Id. at 49.
Like the courts in Patterson and Brennan, we find that a "review of the language of the arbitration clause reveals that arbitration is mandated whenever the insured and the insurer disagree as to when a party is legally entitled to recover damages." Brennan, 524 Pa. at 549. Since language of Aetna's arbitration clause does not exclude the issues presented by this litigation and, in fact, does not provide any limiting language, the arbitrators have jurisdiction to resolve this dispute. Because the parties made an agreement to arbitrate and the present dispute falls within the scope of that agreement, we find that the panel of arbitrators already appointed by the parties should settle this dispute. We will grant defendant's motion to dismiss.
II. Motion to Transfer
Because we granted defendant's motion to dismiss, we will dismiss the motion to transfer as moot.
The accompanying Order is entered.
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
U.S. District Judge
This matter having come before the court upon defendant Gail Sacchetti's motions to dismiss or, in the alternative, to transfer venue; and the court having considered the submissions of the parties; and for the reasons expressed in the Opinion of today's date; and for good cause shown;
IT IS this 16th day of April, 1996, hereby
ORDERED that defendant Gail Sacchetti's motion to dismiss plaintiff's Action for Declaratory Judgment be and hereby is GRANTED ; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that defendant Gail Sacchetti's motion to dismiss plaintiff's Amended Action for Declaratory Judgment be and hereby is GRANTED ; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that defendant Gail Sacchetti's motion to transfer venue be and hereby is DISMISSED as moot; and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's Amended Action for Declaratory Judgment be and hereby is DISMISSED against Keystone Insurance Co. ("Keystone") because plaintiff has not sought any relief against Keystone.
JEROME B. SIMANDLE
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE