Appeal, No. 135, March T., 1958, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Nov. T., 1957, No. 123, in case of Maude E. Johnson v. Peoples First National Bank and Trust Company, executor. Judgment reversed.
August L. Sismondo, with him Vincent R. Massock, for appellant.
Francis H. Patrono, for appellee.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones and Cohen, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES.
This appeal presents a question of first impression in this Court. Can a widow maintain a trespass action against her deceased husband's personal representative to recover damages for personal injuries received by
her as the result of the husband's negligent operation of a motor vehicle which negligent conduct occurred during coverture?
Maude E. Johnson, appellant, on September 23, 1957, instituted in the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County a trespass action against Peoples First National Bank and Trust Company, Executor under the last will of Donald Johnson, deceased, appellee, to recover damages for personal injuries sustained by her in an automobile accident which allegedly occurred as the result of her deceased husband's negligent operation of an automobile in which she was a passenger.*fn1 To appellant's complaint appellee filed preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer raising four objections: (1) that appellant was suing her deceased husband's estate; (2) that during her husband's lifetime she had no cause of action against him; (3) that appellant has no cause of action against his estate which survived his death and (4) inasmuch as she could not sue him if he were alive she can not bring this action against his personal representative by reason of the provisions of § 603 of the Fiduciaries Act of April 18, 1949, P.L. 512, 20 PS § 320.603.
The Court below, with one judge dissenting, sustained appellee's preliminary objections and entered judgment for defendant. From the entry of such judgment this appeal was taken.
In Pennsylvania, as in many other states, the rule is that one spouse cannot ...