Month: January 2020

Recent Developments on the Easy Resort to IME’s in First Party Medical Benefits Claims

In a ruling in late November 2019, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Sayles v. Allstate Ins. Co., ___ A.3d ___ , 58 MAP 2018, 2019 WL 6138409 (Pa. Nov. 20, 2019), ruled ineffective as against public policy, the standard language in PA auto policies that required insureds to attend PIP medical exams under terms of the auto policy.  (A typical policy provision states “If an accident or loss occurs, the following must be done for the terms of the policy to apply: Any person qualifying as an insured under any coverage part of this policy must … submit, as often as we reasonably require, to physical exams by physicians we select.”).  While many observers in the defense bar characterize this as “yet another victory” scored at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court by the plaintiff’s bar (a not-unreasonable observation), this case in fact is the culmination of a trend pre-dating the current make-up of the Supreme Court.  Also, there is concern expressed that the ruling now makes the selection of the medical examiner solely and exclusively within the purview of the court.  We think that is an overstatement of the ruling.

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Status of Long-Arm Jurisdiction in Pennsylvania Federal Courts

In June 2019, Judge Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania federal court held that the Pennsylvania statutory business registration scheme’s purported conferral of consent to general personal jurisdiction in exchange for a company’s ability to legally do business in Pennsylvania was unconstitutional under Due Process Clause.   Sullivan v. A.W. Chesterton, Inc., et al. (In re Asbestos Products Liab. Litig. (No. VI)), 384 F.Supp.3d 532 (E.D. Pa. 2019).  According to Judge Robreno,

In 2014, the [U.S.] Supreme Court decided the case of Daimler AG v. Bauman [571 U.S. 117, 134 S.Ct. 746, 187 L.Ed.2d 624 (2014)] which brought about a sea change in the jurisprudence of exercising general personal jurisdiction over a foreign corporation.  Daimler held that under the Due Process Clause, subjecting a foreign corporation to general jurisdiction in every state in which it “engages in a substantial, continuous, and systematic course of business” was “unacceptably grasping.”  Under Daimler, the exercise of general jurisdiction over a foreign defendant (except in extraordinary circumstances) was limited to where the corporation was “at home,” namely, the forums in which the foreign corporation is incorporated and where it maintains its principal place of business.

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