Civil Procedure Keyed to Friedenthal
Provident Tradesmen Bank v. Patterson
Dutcher let Cionci borrow his car. Cionci, Harris and Lynch were in Dutcher’s car when it collided with a truck driven by Smith. Cionci, Lynch and Smith were killed and Harris was badly injured. All individuals as Plaintiffs or Plaintiff’s decedents (Lynch, Harris, Smith) as well as Dutcher were residents of Pennsylvania. Provident Tradesmen Bank, the administrator of Lynch’s estate and Plaintiff in the present action sued Cionci’s estate and settled for $50,000. The settlement was unsatisfied because Cionci’s estate did not have any money. Smith and Harris’ estates brought state court actions against Cionci’s estate and Lynch’s estate, which were still pending. Dutcher has an insurance policy with Lumbermens Mutual Casualty Company (“Lumbermens”) with a limit of $100,000. The insurance company refused to defend on the grounds that Cionci was not covered as an insured under the policy because he did not have permission from Dutcher to drive the car. Plaintiffs’ decedents sued Cionci’s estate and Lumbermens in federal court in Pennsylvania, based on diversity, seeking a declaration that Cionci was driving with permission and was thus covered under the insurance policy. The District Court found in favor of the two estates. Defendant appealed, arguing non-liability on Pennsylvania state law grounds. The Court of Appeals reversed on the grounds that Dutcher was an indispensable party and should have been joined. Because Dutcher’s joinder in the action would have destroyed diversity, the case should be dismissed. Plaintiff appealed.
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