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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

BANKERS STANDARD INSURANCE COMPANY v. GERRA

ATTENTION: It is possible that this information may no longer be current and therefore may be inaccurate. The index contains both open and closed cases and is not a complete list of cases in which an ACE Insurance Group company is involved. This information is provided to give interested persons an idea of the issues disputed in the indexed cases. For a full understanding of a case, one should read the rest of the court file, including the response. For the most up-to-date and complete information on a case, visit www.pacer.gov or contact the clerk of the relevant court.

Case Number: 
2:15-cv-06734 Search Pacer
ACE Group party(s): 
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
Eastern District of Louisiana
Date Filed: 
Dec 11 2015

COMPLAINT FOR
DECLARATORY JUDGMENT

NOW INTO COURT, through undersigned counsel, comes Complainant, Bankers
Standard Insurance Company (“Bankers”) who, pursuant to the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28
U.S.C. § 2201 et seq., sets forth the following Complaint for Declaratory Judgment:

I.

PARTIES

A. Complainant, Bankers, is an insurer domiciled in the Commonwealth of

Pennsylvania with its principal place of business also within the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania. Bankers is domiciled at 1601 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and its
principal place of business is located at 436 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bankers
issued a policy of automobile insurance numbered 268-02-86-14A[1] to Ralph A. Gerra, Jr., (the
“Policy”) which policy provided insurance coverage for Defendant herein, and which’s policy’s


limits of insurance for the claims made by Defendant total five hundred thousand dollars
($500,000.00).

B. Made defendant herein is Emily Gerra, (“Gerra”), a natural person of full age of
majority domiciled in the State of Louisiana. Gerra is domiciled at 632 Hagan Avenue, New
Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana. Gerra is an insured under the policy of insurance issued by
Bankers and described above.

II.

PERSONAL JURISDICTION

This Court has general personal jurisdiction over Gerra as Gerra is domiciled within this
judicial district.

III.

SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION

This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this dispute pursuant to the Declaratory
Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201 et seq. and pursuant to this Court’s diversity jurisdiction, 28
U.S.C. § 1332. Complainant is domiciled in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Defendant
is domiciled in the State of Louisiana. Moreover, as an action for declaratory judgment on a
contract of insurance, the value of the rights to be adjudicated by this Court is the relevant
insurance policy’s limit of coverage, $500,000.00. This exceeds the amount-in-controversy
requirement of $75,000.00 for diversity jurisdiction.

IV.

VENUE

Venue is proper within this judicial district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(1) as Gerra

resides within the Eastern District of Louisiana.

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V.

ALLEGATIONS OF FACT

Gerra was involved in a motor vehicle accident on January 5, 2015 wherein she sustained
personal injuries. Gerra sought medical treatment for these injuries. Gerra also recovered
$15,000.00 in insurance proceeds from the automotive liability policy of the tortfeasor driver.

VI.

The Policy issued by Bankers was issued in the State of New York. The Policy provides
coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, (“UM/UIM”), as well as Personal
Injury Protection, (“PIP”), as mandated by the laws of the State of New York. Gerra’s PIP
coverage was primary for any medical treatment rendered to Gerra as a result of the accident.
However, when Gerra sought medical treatment for her injuries, Gerra’s medical bills were paid
by her primary health insurer, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, (“BCBS”), pursuant to negotiated rates
between BCBS and Gerra’s healthcare providers.

VII.

Bankers paid Gerra $5,000.00 as an unconditional tender under Gerra’s UM/UIM
coverage. Bankers tendered this amount based on the following rationales: 1) Gerra’s medical
bills were covered by PIP, 2) Gerra’s general damages were covered by UM/UIM, 3) Bankers
evaluated Gerra’s general damages at $20,000.00, and 4) Bankers, as UM/UIM insurer, was
entitled to a credit of $15,000.00 for the liability insurance proceeds Gerra received from the
tortfeasor driver’s insurance.

VIII.

The Policy’s relevant provisions prohibit recovery under multiple coverages and prohibit
recovery under one coverage for losses primarily falling under another coverage:

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Case 2:15-cv-06734-LMA-DEK Document 1 Filed 12/14/15 Page 4 of 6

An eligible insured person shall not recover duplicate benefits for
the same elements of loss under this coverage or any other
mandatory first-party motor vehicle or no-fault motor vehicle
insurance coverage issued in compliance with the laws of another
state

IX.

COUNT ONE
DECLARATORY JUDGMENT AS TO COVERAGE

Gerra has claimed that she is entitled to the full value of medical treatment rendered to
her, as well as lost wages and general damages, under both the UM/UIM coverage and PIP
coverage of the Policy. She has demanded payment from Bankers for same.

X.

Bankers requests a declaratory judgment from this Court pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 57
that, pursuant to the Policy, Gerra’s medical treatment and lost wages (special damages) are
exclusively covered under the Policy’s PIP coverage.

XI.

Bankers further requests a declaratory judgment from this Court pursuant to Fed. R. Civ.
P. 57 that, pursuant to the Policy, any general damages Gerra sustained are exclusively covered
under the Policy’s UM/UIM coverage.

XII.

COUNT TWO

DECLARATORY JUDGMENT AS TO LIABILITY FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT

Gerra has elected to submit bills for treatment related to the motor vehicle accident to her
health insurer, BCBS, in lieu of Bankers under her PIP coverage. PIP coverage under the Policy
is primary for all medical treatment relating to a motor vehicle accident.


XIII.

Gerra’s health insurance coverage with BCBS and PIP coverage with Bankers are both
first-party sources of insurance benefits. BCBS and Bankers are also both obligated to the same
thing—payment for the medical treatment rendered to Gerra as a result of the motor vehicle
accident.

XIV.

Bankers requests a declaratory judgment from this Court pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 57
that the obligation for payment of Gerra’s medical bills for treatment relating to the motor
vehicle accident is a solidary obligation, as defined by Louisiana Civil Code article 1794 et seq.,
as to BCBS and Bankers.

XV.

Bankers further requests a declaratory judgment from this Court pursuant to Fed. R. Civ.
P. 57 that payment of Gerra’s medical bills by BCBS for treatment relating to the motor vehicle
accident represents satisfaction of a solidary obligation, and Bankers is not liable to Plaintiff for
any medical treatment payment obligations satisfied by BCBS.

XVI.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, premises considered, Complainant, Bankers Standard Insurance

Company, requests this Complaint be deemed good and sufficient, and, after due proceedings
had, that there by judgment by this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2201 et seq. and Fed. R. Civ.
P. 57 in the following particulars:

  1. Judgment declaring that Defendant, Emily Gerra’s medical treatment and lost
    wages relating to the motor vehicle accident of January 5, 2015 are exclusively covered under

the Bankers Insurance Policy’s PIP coverage;

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  1. Judgment declaring that Defendant, Emily Gerra’s general damages relating to the
    motor vehicle accident of January 5, 2015, if any, are exclusively covered under the Bankers
    Insurance Policy’s UM/UIM coverage;
  2. Judgment declaring that the obligation for payment of Defendant, Emily Gerra’s
    medical bills for treatment relating to the motor vehicle accident of January 5, 2015 is a solidary
    obligation, as defined by Louisiana Civil Code article 1794 et seq., as to Gerra’s health insurer,
    Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and Bankers; and
  3. Judgment declaring that payment of Defendant, Emily Gerra’s medical bills by
    Gerra’s health insurer, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, for treatment relating to the motor vehicle
    accident of January 5, 2015 represents satisfaction of a solidary obligation, and Bankers is not
    liable to Plaintiff for any treatment payment obligations satisfied by Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Bankers also requests all costs of this proceeding as well as general equitable relief,
attorney’s fees, expert fees, and any other relief reasonable under the premises.

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The provided text is an excerpt from a document filed in this case. For a full understanding of the case, one should read the complete court file, including the response.

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