Since jurisdiction is based on diversity of citizenship, the Court must apply the law of Pennsylvania, including its conflict of laws rules. Klaxon Co. v. Stentor Electric Mfg. Co., 313 U.S. 487, 61 S. Ct. 1020, 85 L. Ed. 1477 (1941).
Recently, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in a suit filed against an airline under the Pennsylvania Survival Act on the basis of negligent breach of contract for carriage, struck down the strict lex loci delicti rule and adopted the more flexible 'center of gravity' or 'grouping of contracts' rule of conflict of laws. See Griffith v. United Air Lines, 416 Pa. 1, 203 A.2d 796 (1964).
Although the Griffith case dealt specifically with the lex loci delicti rule, the Court indicated that the newly adopted rule would apply in all cases involving choice of law problems and not just those dealing with personal injuries. Griffith v. United Air Lines, supra, 22, 203 A.2d 796.
Since there is no precedent in Pennsylvania for a problem of this nature under the 'grouping of contracts' or 'center of gravity' rule, it is incumbent upon the Court to apply the rule as it believes the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania would in a similar case. Gerr v. Emrick, 283 F.2d 293 (3rd Cir., 1960).
The question raised in the instant proceeding is whether New York or Pennsylvania has a greater concern with the specific issue raised, to wit, whether Goulding may recover for contribution against the insurance carrier of Sands in this factual situation.
New York has relatively little interest in this factual situation. The contract was executed in New York between a New York resident and a Company that conducts business in New York and Pennsylvania. Both parties were on notice that the insured would drive across state lines and subject residents of other states to potential injury and, in turn, subject both to the laws of other states.
On the other hand, Pennsylvania's interest in Goulding's recovery is great. One New York resident (Mrs. Sands) has been fully compensated in a Pennsylvania court by the application of Pennsylvania law, and another New York resident (Mr. Sands) attempted to gain compensation under Pennsylvania law.
The Courts of Pennsylvania should be interested in Goulding, a resident of said State, who unquestionably would be injured and prejudiced by the application of the New York statute. Pennsylvania's interest apparent in protecting its residents from injury either bodily or pecuniary from out-of-state residents while traveling on its highways.
From the foregoing analysis, the Court concludes that Pennsylvania's interests outweigh those of New York and are sufficient to justify the application of Pennsylvania law. Therefore, George W. Goulding may recover on the judgment for contribution against the New York Fire Insurance Company.
An appropriate Order is entered.