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January 30, 2023

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Anti-Stacking Language Now Unenforceable in Oregon UM/UIM Claims

Anti-stacking language is included routinely in personal auto policies, but the Supreme Court of Oregon has ruled at least one policy’s language is not enforceable. Batten v. State Farm, 368 Ore. 538 (September 17, 2021), concerned four different uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) claims. Each insured had multiple policies with State Farm that all contained the anti-stacking language below. 

If Other Uninsured Motor Vehicle Coverage of Any Kind Applies

  1. If Uninsured Motor Vehicle Bodily Injury and Property Damage Coverage provided by this policy and Uninsured Motor Vehicle Coverage of any kind provided by one or more other vehicle policies issued to you or any resident relative by the State Farm Companies apply to the same bodily injury or property damage, then:

    1. such Uninsured Motor Vehicle Coverage limits of such policies will not be added together to determine the most that may be paid

    2. the maximum amount that may be paid from all such policies combined is the single highest applicable limit provided by any one of the policies. We may choose one or more policies from which to make payment. 

State Farm applied this language and paid the highest limit provided by any one of the policies. The insureds asserted the anti-stacking language was unenforceable because it conflicted with the model UM/UIM policy in ORS 742.504. The model policy had been amended in 2015 and the insureds argued the amendment invalidated anti-stacking language. Batten agreed, noting prior to 2015 the model policy had expressly authorized anti-stacking provisions just as State Farm’s policies contained. However, by removing that language from the model policy, the legislature had broadened the coverage available to the insureds. The anti-stacking language was unenforceable.

© 2023 Wilson ElserNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 281

About this Author

Michael Lowry Las Vegas Retail Manufacturing Attorney Wilson Elser Law Firm

Michael Lowry has an active litigation and defense practice, with clients among the country’s largest and most recognizable brands in several industries, such as retail, restaurant and hospitality, commercial transportation, manufacturing and more. As a member of the firm’s emergency response team, when transportation clients face a catastrophic event, Michael and other members of Wilson Elser’s 24/7 go-team arrive on the scene to help gather and preserve information that may be critical to the client’s defense, as well as liaison at the scene with investigating...