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Parker v. USAA Casualty Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage

May 31, 2018

ALVIN PARKER, Plaintiff,
v.
USAA CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY a/k/a GEICO and ABC CORPSS1-100, Defendants.

          Teresa Gerlock Hanni, Esq. Michael Glassman & Associates LLC Laurel Wood Corporate Center Counsel for Plaintiff

          Lindsay L. Andreuzzi, Esq. Marni Sabrina Berger, Esq. Post & Schnell PC Four Penn Center, Counsel for Defendant USAA Casualty Insurance Company

          Colleen M. Ready, Esq. Margolis Edelstein Counsel for Defendant Government Employees Insurance Company

          OPINION

          RENÉE MARIE BUMB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court upon cross motions for partial summary judgment filed by co-defendants USAA Casualty Insurance Company (“USAA”) and Government Employees Insurance Company (“GEICO”) concerning the allocation of underinsured motorist coverage (“UIM”) between themselves. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant GEICO's motion and deny USAA's cross motion.[1]

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         The instant dispute involves only legal questions concerning the application and interpretation of the GEICO insurance policy at issue. For the purposes of the pending cross motions, the following facts are undisputed.

         Plaintiff Alvin Parker Jr. was injured in an auto accident on October 20, 2013. Parker Jr. was driving his mother's vehicle when another driver crashed into him. At the relevant time, Parker Jr.'s mother had automobile insurance coverage with Defendant GEICO, and Parker Jr. had automobile insurance coverage with Defendant USAA. It is undisputed that under the terms of the insurance policies, GEICO is the primary insurer, and USAA is the excess insurer with regard to the accident at issue.

         The other driver was determined to be at fault, and his insurance company settled with Parker Jr. for $100, 000, which was the limit of the other driver's policy. It is undisputed that the other driver is an underinsured motorist for the purposes of this suit.

         The GEICO policy provides UIM coverage up to $100, 000. Plaintiff's USAA policy provides UIM coverage up to $300, 000.

         This suit was removed to this Court on the basis of diversity of citizenship on May 5, 2017. The Complaint asserts four counts: (1) breach of contract / claim for UIM benefits and (2) bad faith denial of insurance benefits against USAA; and (3) breach of contract / claim for UIM benefits and (4) bad faith denial of insurance benefits against GEICO.

         The bad faith counts-- Counts 2 and 4-- were dismissed without prejudice on May 24, 2017.

         GEICO presently moves for summary judgment on the breach of contract claim against it; and USAA cross moves for summary judgment on the same claim. Plaintiff Parker Jr. has filed no papers in response to either motion. The parties do not dispute that Parker Jr. is owed $200, 000.00 (in addition to the $100, 000 he received from the underinsured motorist's insurer), and so the Court presumes that Parker Jr. takes no position as to how GEICO and USAA allocate between themselves payment of the $200, 000.00.

         II. Summary ...


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