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HARLEYSVILLE MUTUAL CASUALTY COMPANY v. BLUMLING (04/16/68)

decided: April 16, 1968.

HARLEYSVILLE MUTUAL CASUALTY COMPANY
v.
BLUMLING, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, April T., 1966, No. 3052, in case of Harleysville Mutual Casualty Company v. Francis J. Blumling.

COUNSEL

J. Cris Soich, with him Stokes, Lurie & Tracy, for appellant.

Carl W. Brueck, Jr., with him Brueck, Walker & Brueck, for appellee.

Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien. Mr. Justice Jones dissents. Mr. Chief Justice Bell took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: O'brien

[ 429 Pa. Page 390]

Appellant, Francis J. Blumling, suffered serious personal injuries when he was involved in a collision with a motor vehicle being operated by one James Adams. At the time of the collision, appellant was operating a vehicle owned by his employer, Lockhart Iron & Steel Company. There is no dispute that the collision between the vehicles was caused by the negligence of Adams.

It is conceded that at the time of the collision, the Adams vehicle was not covered by a liability insurance policy. The Lockhart vehicle which appellant was operating was covered by a liability insurance policy written by the Travelers Insurance Company, which policy contained a protection against uninsured motorists clause with a liability limit of $10,000. Appellant owned a private automobile which was covered by a liability insurance policy issued by appellee, Harleysville Mutual Casualty Company. This policy also contained a protection against uninsured motorists clause and a liability limit of $10,000. It is agreed that both the Travelers and Harleysville policies were in full force and effect at the time of the accident.

[ 429 Pa. Page 391]

Appellant recovered $10,000 from Travelers under Lockhart's uninsured motorist coverage, and subsequently sought to recover under the uninsured motorists coverage contained in his Harleysville policy. There appears to be no dispute that appellant's injuries were such that he suffered damages in excess of $10,000. Harleysville, nevertheless, denied coverage under its policy and commenced an action in the court below for declaratory judgment. That court entered judgment for Harleysville and this appeal followed.

We are once again faced with a question of first impression in this Commonwealth, relative to the extent of the coverage afforded by the uninsured motorists protection mandated by the Act of August 14, 1963, P. L. 909, 40 P.S. ยง 2000.*fn1 While the appellate courts of Pennsylvania have not decided this specific question, other jurisdictions have faced the problem and have reached differing conclusions. We are in agreement with those jurisdictions which, in interpreting

[ 429 Pa. Page 392]

    uninsured motorist statutes similar to ours, have reached conclusions opposite to that reached by the court below.

Appellee's position, reduced to its essentials, is two-fold: (1) that Adams was not an uninsured motorist within the meaning of the policy language, by reason of the fact that the Travelers policy was applicable; and (2) that the "other insurance" clause ...


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