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Danks v. Geico General Insurance Co.

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

April 29, 2013

JOHN J. DANKS, III, Plaintiff,
v.
GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, a foreign corporation, Defendant.

Date Submitted: April 18, 2013

Upon Consideration of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.

Gary S. Nitsche, Esquire, WEIK, NITSCHE & DOUGHERTY, Wilmington, Delaware. Attorney for the Plaintiff.

Dawn Becker, Esquire and Michael K. DeSantis, Esquire, LAW OFFICE OF DAWN L. BECKER, Wilmington, Delaware. Attorneys for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Charles E. Butler Judge.

INTRODUCTION

We are called upon here to sort out the rights of a party to insurance coverage after a motorcycle accident in April of 2011. The insurance provider has moved for summary judgment asserting that the circumstances fall within an accepted policy exclusion. For the reasons articulated below, the Court agrees and defendant's motion for summary judgment is hereby GRANTED.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a Delaware resident who owned a motorcycle that he insured through Progressive Direct Insurance Company ("Progressive"). The policy contained the standard, required "no fault" Personal Injury Protection ("PIP") coverage of $15, 000/30, 000 per individual or incident, the minimum insurance required under 19 Del. C. §2118.

On April 30, 2011 plaintiff was injured in a collision with another vehicle while driving his motorcycle on the Delaware Memorial Bridge.[1] Plaintiff sought PIP coverage from his carrier and Progressive duly paid out PIP benefits under its policy of insurance.

Plaintiff also owned 3 household vehicles that he insured separately through GEICO General Insurance Company ("GEICO"). On these 3 vehicles, plaintiff maintained coverage substantially in excess of the coverage mandated by statute. The coverage on these 3 vehicles was $100, 000/300, 000 per individual or incident.[2] So if Mr. Danks' injuries had been sustained as a result of a collision while he was driving one of his other vehicles, it appears certain that the GEICO PIP policies then in effect would have been required to respond to a claim for coverage. Alas, on this day, he was driving his motorcycle, insured with the minimums and he sustained injuries substantially more costly than those minimums.

After using up his Progressive coverage, plaintiff called upon GEICO to cover his injuries pursuant to this latter policy of insurance. On July 21, 2011, GEICO demurred, relying upon an exclusion that provided that "You and members of your household are not covered if injured while in, or through being struck by, a motor vehicle covered by another Delaware no-fault policy."[3]

Plaintiff has now filed suit for declaratory judgment, seeking a court ruling that GEICO's refusal to cover his losses is against ...


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