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GOULDING v. SANDS

January 27, 1965

George W. GOULDING, Plaintiff on Counterclaim,
v.
Michael SANDS, Defendant on Counterclaim, United States Fire Insurance Company, Garnishee



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY

In this negligence action based on diversity of citizenship, an attachment execution proceeding has been instituted by George W. Goulding against United States Fire Insurance Company. The Company is liability insurance carrier for michael Sands against whom judgment for contribution was entered in favor of Goulding at Civil Action No. 61-725.

Goulding and Company present Motions for Summary Judgment in which two questions must be resolved.

 HISTORY OF CIVIL ACTION NO. 61-725

 Sands and his wife, both New York residents, instituted suit against Goulding, a Pennsylvania resident, based on the legal thesis that Goulding's negligence caused the collision between his automobile and the one driven by Sands (with his wife as a passenger), thereby causing personal injuries to Sands and spouse.

 Goulding filed an answer and counterclaim against Sands, alleging that Sands' negligence caused the collision and, in the alternative, Goulding claimed contribution.

 Counsel for Insurance Carrier, the garnishee in this proceeding, appeared and defended Michael Sands against the claims of Goulding.

 The jury returned a verdict for wife Helen Sands against Goulding in the amount of $ 15,000. In reply to a special interrogatory, the jury also found the negligence of Michael Sands to be a proximate cause of the accident.

 Based on the special verdicts of the jury, the Court adjudged Goulding and Sands joint tortfeasors and that the right of contribution exists in favor of Goulding against Michael Sands for the amount Goulding pays to Helen Sands in Excess of $ 7,500.

 The Court entered judgment in favor of Goulding against Sands for $ 7,500 upon due proof that Goulding paid $ 15,000 to Helen Sands.

 The Company claims (1) that the judgment for contribution is void because Michael Sands was not properly before the Court as a defendant at Civil Action No. 61-725, and (2) that no coverage exists under the contract of insurance because it did not contain a provision for liability on the part of the Company arising out of personal injuries to the spouse of the insured (Michael Sands) and, therefore, New York law (the place where the contract was executed) governs and bars liability. *fn1"

 After a thorough review of Civil Action No. 61-725, the pleadings, record, briefs and oral arguments of counsel, it is the considered judgment of the Court that the Company's denial of liability is without merit and that Goulding's Motion for Summary Judgment should be granted and Motion of the Company denied.

 QUESTIONS PRESENTED

 1. Is the judgment secured by Goulding against Michael Sands for ...


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