By Ben Present
Of the Legal Staff
The state Superior Court has denied re-argument in the appeal of a venue decision it issued in litigation between Penn State and its insurer over the extent to which the university may claim coverage for claims made by accusers of Jerry Sandusky.
The case, between Penn State and Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance Co., has turned into a protracted venue dispute, which, if you count the Superior Court’s April 25 order, has seen five rulings against the university.
The result, it seems, is that the coverage issues will play out in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
Penn State and PMA have been in court since January of last year after the first civil suit naming the university was filed by an accuser of Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach and convicted serial child molester at the center of the scandal.
The litigation is over PMA's responsibility to provide coverage for Penn State's court costs and damages related to that claim. PMA, one of the university's general liability carriers for decades, first filed suit in Philadelphia in January 2012 seeking to limit coverage; Penn State has twice filed cases in Centre County, alleging breach of contract and other claims. Both have been steered to the First Judicial District.
Most recently, a Philadelphia judge directed Penn State’s second lawsuit, which was filed after the Superior Court’s initial ruling, to Philadelphia. Though it is not an injunction, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Gary S. Glazer’s April 11 order appears to be its functional equivalent.
In a footnote to his order, Glazer said: "If the parties file any additional coverage actions involving similar underlying claims against [Penn State], they shall file them in Philadelphia County.”
Glazer also denied a motion for sanctions filed by PMA, in which the insurer asked the court to force Penn State to pay its legal fees and costs in connection with legal work on the venue dispute after the Superior Court had already ruled in PMA's favor.
Ben Present can be contacted at 215-557-2315 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @BPresentTLI.