Penn State, Insurer To Duke It Out In Philadelphia
Penn State suffered a legal setback last week, as the Commonwealth Superior Court determined its trial against the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association Insurance Company — which Penn State anticipates will pay for the Sandusky victim settlements — will be held in Philadelphia County*, not Centre County [PDF].
Since the waning months of 2011, Rodney Erickson has affirmed that Penn State’s liability insurance would cover settlements with Jerry Sandusky’s victims. However, in January 2012, its insurer, Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance Company (PMA), declared that “it believed its obligation under the policy to defend and indemnify Penn State was more limited than Penn State had claimed” and it filed its claim in Philadelphia County. The University filed a countersuit in Centre County and accused PMA of acting in bad faith.
When, in February 2012, PMA attempted to resolves the lawsuits in Philadelphia, Penn State responded that the cases had minimal ties to the Delaware Valley. After the case was heard in the Appeals Court (and the legal system ruled in PMA’s favor), the matter made its way to the Superior Court. This court supported earlier decisions that “PMA filed its action with the Philadelphia Commerce Court Program, which specializes in such actions, and thus would be a more efficient venue than the Centre County courts.” The Superior Court also refutes other claims that Penn State has made to move its case against PMA to Cente County.
In a concurring opinion [PDF], Judge Strassburger puts forth that because many Centre County judges have had strong ties to Penn State and possibly the Second Mile, it would be better to have the case heard in Philadelphia County.
*Philadelphia County shares the same land as the City of Philadelphia.