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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. WOODSIDE v. SEABOARD MUTUAL CASUALTY COMPANY (06/01/64)

June 1, 1964

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. WOODSIDE
v.
SEABOARD MUTUAL CASUALTY COMPANY, APPELLANT.



Petition for reargument granted on March 9, 1964. Reargued March 18, 1964. Before BELL, C.J., MUSMANNO, JONES, COHEN, EAGEN, O'BRIEN and ROBERTS, JJ.

COUNSEL

Seymour A. Sikov, with him Wirtzman, Sikov and Love, for appellants.

Cecil P. Harvey, with him Paul Silverstein, Insurance Commissioner, for appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ. Judgments reversed on January 21, 1964.

Author: Musmanno

[ 415 Pa. Page 73]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

Amedeo Scarpino and Frank Paradiso were injured while riding in a taxicab belonging to the Peoples Cab Company, in Pittsburgh. They sued the cab company and on February 11, 1952 and February 31, 1952, respectively, received verdicts in the sums of $10,000 and $9,000.

The Seaboard Mutual Casualty Company, insurers of the cab company, went into liquidation and on December 20, 1951, the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County issued an order enjoining and restraining all persons from instituting or prosecuting an action at law or in equity against it.

On April 21, 1952, the Insurance Commissioner of Pennsylvania informed the plaintiffs that he had received their claims against Seaboard. Later the plaintiffs were advised that they had been allotted $100 each on their claims. The plaintiffs protested this decision whereupon the statutory liquidator of the insurance company held a hearing at which he awarded Scarpino $1,000 and Paradiso $1,500. The plaintiffs excepted to the liquidator's findings and appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County. The Dauphin County Court affirmed the statutory liquidator's awards, stating (1) that the judgments of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County were not binding on the statutory liquidator and (2) that the claims of the plaintiffs were exaggerated.

[ 415 Pa. Page 74]

The court in support of its decision pointed out that its order of December 20, 1950, enjoined and restrained "all persons from instituting or prosecuting any action at law or in equity or any attachment or execution against the said company (Seaboard)."

It pointed out also that the order stated "that all persons having claims against Seaboard Mutual Casualty Company shall file proof thereof with the Insurance Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania not later than July 1, 1952, or they shall thereafter be barred as claimants against any assets in the hands of the Insurance Commissioner."

But the plaintiffs did not violate either of these provisions. Their lawsuits were against the Peoples Cab Company, not Seaboard, and they filed their claims against Seaboard within ...


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