Matsyuk v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co.Annotate this Case
The Supreme Court consolidated "Matsyuk v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company" and "Weismann v. Safeco Insurance Company of Illinois" for the purpose of clarifying the pro rata sharing rule announced in several precedential cases, including "Mahler v. Szucs" (957 P.2d 632). The rule is based on the "common fund" exception to the "American rule" on attorney fees. The rule requires personal injury protection (PIP) insurers to share pro rata in the attorney fees incurred by injured persons when the PIP insurer wins at trial. Plaintiffs in these cases recovered PIP funds as insureds under policies held by the tortfeasors. They incurred attorney fees arising from the recovery of the liability insurance. The insurance companies attempted to offset the funds expended under PIP policies by reducing plaintiffs' award under the tortfeasors' liability insurance. The Court of Appeals held that neither plaintiff was entitled to recoup a pro rata share of attorney fees. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed the appellate court, holding that the pro rata fee sharing rule applied in this context.