purchase, george & murphey.

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Erie Insurance Claims Lawyer News 1760000 Award Upheld On Appeal

August 30, 2011

August 31, 2011, ERIE, PA — A Pennsylvania appeals court has upheld a ruling that found a Pennsylvania insurance company failed to live up to its promises and now must pay at least $1.7 million to make up for it. A nearly unanimous nine judge panel of the Superior Court upheld the ruling of local judge Michael Dunlavey that Penn-America Insurance Company failed to do the minimum things it promised to do to protect an Erie insurance customer.

In its ruling, the Pennsylvania Superior Court employed strong language that was harshly critical of the Pennsylvania insurance company, saying, “We find Penn-America’s argument tendentious, noteworthy more for its concern with the company’s financial interest than its recognition of Pennsylvania law.”

The case has its origins in a tragic St. Patrick’s Day accident in 2006 that left two young women and a young man dead and four children motherless. The driver who caused the accident had been served past the point of visible intoxication at Peccadillo’s nightclub in Erie and was then thrown out of the club by bouncers for fighting. The drunk driver had a blood alcohol content of .22 percent, nearly three times the legal limit, when he struck a car on Route 97 in Summit Township and killed the two young women who occupied it. The drunk’s friend and passenger was also killed.

Pennsylvania law holds bars liable for the harm caused when they serve visibly intoxicated patrons and those drunk people then go out in the community and harm innocents like the victims in this case. When the surviving family members hired a Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyer, the lawyers appropriately sued Peccadillo’s.

Peccadillo’s had an insurance policy with Penn-America Insurance Company and they asked the Pennsylvania insurance company to live up to its promises. In this case, the insurance company’s promises included a promise to defend Peccadillo from lawsuits like this one and, for covered losses, to pay compensation to victims on behalf of Peccadillo’s.

However, the insurance company, according to the Superior Court, ignored Pennsylvania law and the promises it made as part of an effort to avoid paying the large amounts of money involved in the case.

Fortunately for the surviving family members, their lawyers were dogged in their pursuit of justice and, ultimately, it was the lawyers for the victims who sued and were successful in forcing Penn America to make up for the harm it caused when it broke its own promises. Congratulations to Pennsylvania insurance lawyers Alan Pepicelli, Barbara Welton and Mark Homyak.

Contact a Pennsylvania Insurance Claims Attorney

The Pennsylvania insurance lawyers at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. have experience in fighting for our clients’ rights and have demonstrated an ability to successfully go toe-to-toe with large insurance companies. If you’re looking for an experienced Erie insurance claim lawyer to help you with your Pennsylvania insurance case, call for a free consult at 814-273-2010 or toll free at 814-273-2010 or fill out our on-line consult form.