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BRENNAN v. SHIPE (04/21/64)

April 21, 1964

BRENNAN
v.
SHIPE, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 2, May T., 1964, from order of Court of Common Pleas of York County, Oct. T., 1962, No. 172, in case of Thomas J. Brennan V. Madge E. Shipe and Burdwell H. Shipe. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

David C. Eaton, with him Wilhelm E. Shissler, Spencer R. Liverant, and Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall, and Liverant & Stewart, for appellants.

James W. Evans, with him Ronald M. Katzman, and Goldberg, Evans and Katzman, for appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.

Author: Cohen

[ 414 Pa. Page 259]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN

This is an appeal from the dismissal of appellants' preliminary objections challenging their subjection to substituted service of process under the Pennsylvania Nonresident Motorist Act*fn1 in an action arising out of an automobile accident which occurred on a federal military reservation located in Pennsylvania.

Appellee alleges in his complaint that he was injured when struck by a motor vehicle driven by appellant Madge Shipe, who at the time of the accident was acting as the agent or employee of her husband, appellant Burdwell Shipe. The accident occurred in the New Cumberland General Depot which is located in York County. The land comprising the depot and exclusive jurisdiction thereover were ceded to the United States Government in 1937 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

At the time of the accident, both appellants were residents of Pennsylvania. Before service of process was made, however, appellants moved to Florida. Being thus unable to serve appellants personally in Pennsylvania, appellee, pursuant to the Nonresident Motorist Act, served the Secretary of the Commonwealth as the statutory agent of appellants and sent a copy of the complaint to appellants in Florida by registered mail. In the court below appellants contended that the application of the substituted service provisions of

[ 414 Pa. Page 260]

    our Nonresident Motorist Act under the facts of this case was unconstitutional. The lower court overruled this objection and this appeal ensued.

Appellants assert that by virtue of Article I, ยง 8 of the United States Constitution*fn2 the federal government possesses exclusive legislative jurisdiction over lands acquired from the states except as such jurisdiction is expressly reserved or delegated to the ceding state. They cite many authorities in support of this proposition. See, e.g., Fort Leavenworth Railroad Co. v. Lowe, 114 U.S. 525 (1885). Appellants contend that no exception has been made with regard to the New Cumberland Depot and hence Pennsylvania law cannot be constitutionally applied to the operation of motor vehicles within the depot.

We do not quarrel with appellants' recitation of the general effect of a state's cession to the federal government of land and exclusive jurisdiction thereover. It is equally true, however, that the creation of "a state within a state" produces considerable difficulties because of the legal vacuum which may result from the sudden disappearance of state law in the acquired area. See Education of Children on Federal Lands, 21 Pa. D. & C.2d 310 (1960) (Opinion of the Attorney General); Note, Federal Areas: The Confusion of a Jurisdictional-Geographical Dichotomy, 101 U.Pa.L.Rev. 124 (1952). Accordingly, provision is often ...


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