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Provident Tradesmens Bank & Trust Co. v. Patterson

United States Supreme Court
390 U.S. 102 (1968)


Edward Dutcher loaned his car to Donald Cionci so Cionci could run an errand. With John Lynch in the car, Cionci made a detour from the errand, and while on the detour, ran into a truck, killing himself, Lynch, and the truck driver. Dutcher had a car insurance policy with Lumbermens Mutual Casualty Company (Lumbermens), which had declined to defend itself in a tort action based on the accident because it believed that Cionci had not had permission to use the car and thus was not covered for the accident. Provident Tradesmens Bank (Provident) (plaintiff), the administrator of Lynch’s estate, brought a diversity suit against Lumbermens and the estate of Cionci (defendants), seeking a declaratory ruling that Cionci had Dutcher’s permission to use the car, and was thus covered by the Lumbermens policy. The district court found that Cionci had permission to use the car. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed the ruling on the grounds that Dutcher had to be joined in order for the case to be heard. The defendants appealed.

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