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Melissa and Patrick Markhorst v. Liberty Mutual Mid-Atlantic Insurance Company

Client: Liberty Mutual Mid-Atlantic Insurance Company

Court: Superior Court of New Jersey, Burlington County

Brief Attorney: Edward F. Kuhn, III, Esq.

**Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances**

Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in Montgomery County, PA for injuries she suffered in a car accident. Plaintiff agreed to a binding arbitration with high/low parameters. The high was the defendant’s liability policy limits of $100,000. Plaintiff then filed a separate lawsuit for underinsured benefits from Liberty Mutual in Burlington County, NJ.

Plaintiff was awarded less than the defendant’s policy limits in the Montgomery County binding arbitration. Liberty then moved for summary judgment arguing that Plaintiff should be collaterally estopped from further pursing her underinsured claim against Liberty Mutual since the defendant’s policy limits were not exhausted.

The trial court agreed with our position that Plaintiff was barred by the collateral estoppel doctrine as Plaintiff has a full and complete opportunity to present her case to the arbitrator and the amount of Plaintiff’s damages were found below the defendant’s policy limits. As such, Plaintiff’s underinsured claim against Liberty Mutual was dismissed.

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