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COPPAGE v. SMITH (ET AL. (04/18/55)

April 18, 1955

COPPAGE
v.
SMITH (ET AL., APPELLANT).



Appeal, No. 43, March T., 1955, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Jefferson County, April T., 1954, No. 189, in case of Ruth A. Coppage et vir, guardian of Raymond Coppage, Jr., et al. v. Claude Smith and Perry Bennett. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Jesse P. Long, for appellant.

Walter E. Morris, with him Edwin L. Snyder, Jr., for appellees.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 381 Pa. Page 401]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE JONES

The plaintiffs, Raymond D. Coppage and Ruth A. Coppage, his wife, and Raymond D. Coppage, in his own right and as guardian of their three minor children, filed their complaint in trespass in the court below against the defendants, Smith and Bennett, seeking to recover damages for personal injuries sustained in an automobile accident. The complaint was served on both of the defendants on December 21, 1953, the day it was filed.

On February 15, 1954, the defendants petitioned the court for a severance of Raymond D. Coppage's personal claim from those of the other plaintiffs in order

[ 381 Pa. Page 402]

    that the defendants might join him as an additional defendant in the action of the other plaintiffs. The defendants also asked for an extension of time to allow them a reasonable period from the date of such severance within which to file their praecipe for a writ to join Raymond D. Coppage as an additional defendant. On the same day, February 15, 1954, service of a copy of the petition was accepted and issuance of a rule thereon was waived by the plaintiffs' attorneys. However, the court did forthwith grant a rule on the plaintiffs to show cause why the claim of Raymond D. Coppage as plaintiff should not be severed from the claims of the other plaintiffs, the court's order further providing that, upon the granting of the prayer of the petition, the defendants should have thirty days within which to file their praecipe for a writ joining Raymond D. Coppage as an additional defendant. The order made the rule returnable March 22, 1954, and also directed that all proceedings be stayed in the meantime. On the return day, the court entered an order making the rule absolute and directing that the claim of Raymond D. Coppage be severed from the claims of the other plaintiffs.

Within the thirty-day extension allowed by the court (viz., on April 12, 1954), the defendants filed their praecipe for a writ to join as additional defendants Raymond D. Coppage and Greenville Lumber and Supply Company, the latter being Coppage's employer. On the same day, the defendants filed their complaint against the additional defendants, alleging therein that the injuries in suit were the result of negligence on the part of Coppage alone while driving one of the automobiles involved in the accident as an employee of the Greenville Lumber and Supply Company and in the course of the employer's business. The Lumber Company filed preliminary objections to the joinder and

[ 381 Pa. Page 403]

    moved to have the writ to join it as an additional defendant as well as the complaint filed against it stricken off and the action dismissed as to it for want of jurisdiction and for noncompliance with the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure in that the praecipe for the writ was not filed until more than sixty days after the service of the complaint upon the original defendants (in violation of Pa. R.C.P. 2253) and the filing of the ...


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