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STOPPER v. CHESAPEAKE INSURANCE COMPANY (03/23/67)

decided: March 23, 1967.

STOPPER
v.
CHESAPEAKE INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of County Court of Philadelphia, Sept. T., 1965, No. 4889-D, in case of Anne Stopper v. Chesapeake Insurance Company.

COUNSEL

Thomas F. Wilson, with him William G. Giltinan and Edward P. Clayman, for appellant.

Sidney H. Black, with him James A. Burgess, Jr., for appellee.

Ervin, P. J., Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, and Spaulding, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J. Concurring Opinion by Montgomery, J.

Author: Hoffman

[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 475]

In January of 1965, appellee, Anne Stopper, suffered serious injuries when her automobile was struck by an uninsured vehicle. Shortly thereafter, she instituted suit against her own insurer, the Chesapeake Insurance Company, under the uninsured motorist coverage provided by its policy. See Act of August 14, 1963, P. L. 909, § 1, 40 P.S. § 2000.

An arbitrator awarded § 2815 to Mrs. Stopper. On October 15, 1965, judgment was formally entered in her favor against Chesapeake. On October 18, 1965, she levied and attached certain of Chesapeake's accounts receivable in this Commonwealth.

Subsequently, on November 12, 1965, Chesapeake was declared insolvent in Maryland, the state of its domicile. The Circuit Court of the City of Baltimore named Francis Burch, Maryland Insurance Commissioner,

[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 476]

    as statutory receiver, with directions to liquidate the corporation.*fn1

On March 31, 1966, Commissioner Burch filed a petition in the County Court of Philadelphia to Strike Off appellee's judgment. That court dismissed the petition and the Insurance Commissioner appeals.

Appellant's contention that the judgment before us must be stricken is without merit. Ordinarily, a judgment will not be stricken except for lack of jurisdiction or other fatal defect apparent on the face of the record. See, e.g., Kros v. Bacall Textile Corporation, 386 Pa. 360, 126 A.2d 421 (1956). On this appeal, the Insurance Commissioner has abandoned all formal challenges to the regularity of the arbitration proceeding. Moreover, he does not dispute that Chesapeake entered an appearance and conducted a vigorous defense before the arbitrator. Consequently, the judgment under attack is founded on valid in personam jurisdiction over the insurer.

Appellant relies solely on the full faith and credit clause of the U. S. Constitution. Before this Court, he argues that Maryland law forbids the commencement or prosecution of any suit against an insurance company during the pendency of "delinquency proceedings" against it -- in this case, after the appointment of a rehabilitator on June 18, 1965. But, even assuming that our courts would be bound by a direction of that ...


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