The opinion of the court was delivered by: KRAFT
In this interpleader action, defendants Gordon S. Miller and his wife, have moved for summary judgment. No appearance of record has been entered for Mrs. Miller by moving counsel.
The record discloses that Gordon S. Miller has never filed a statement of claim and has failed to file answers to all of claimants' statements of claim. To date, he has filed answers to only six of the claims, despite an Order of Judge Fullam of July 27, 1967 directing each defendant to file a statement of claim and to serve a copy of the statement on opposing counsel, and, within twenty days of such service, to answer the statements of claim filed by the other defendants.
On September 15, 1967, the defendants Miller obtained an extension of time for filing answers to September 22, 1967. To date, there has been no complete compliance with Judge Fullam's Order by the Millers.
Essentially, this action concerns a sum of $173,845.39 paid into the registry of this Court by the plaintiff, which is claimed by the various defendants by reason of certain assignments made by Miller or judgments and attachments obtained by creditors against Miller and the plaintiff.
Miller was employed as a general agent for plaintiff in Philadelphia from 1951 to 1966 and while so employed executed assignments of his insurance renewal commissions to the Central-Penn Bank and the Lehigh Valley Trust Co. The other claimants are creditors of Miller who seek payment of certain debts owed by Miller to them. Writs of execution and attachments in Massachusetts have also been served on the plaintiff.
Central-Penn, which is the primary claimant, contends that:
1. The remedy of a motion for summary judgment is not available to the Millers because neither defendant has filed a statement of claim or otherwise pleaded within the period fixed by the Orders of this Court dated July 27, and September 15, 1967.
2. Additionally, Central-Penn argues, that Miller, as a general agent, was an independent contractor whose commissions were not wages and salaries within the ambit of the Act of 1845 and the claim of Central-Penn is bottomed on a valid assignment within Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, 12A P.S. § 1-101 et seq., as amended.
3. Central-Penn argues further, that the Act of 1913 was held to be unconstitutional
and is irrelevant since (a) Miller's commissions were not wages or salary; (b) Miller was an independent contractor; (c) the fund assigned was not future compensation but arose from vested rights that Miller had in the fund at the time of the assignment to Central-Penn.
4. Finally, Central-Penn submits that material issues of fact exist regarding the business relationship between Miller and Massachusetts Mutual.
In reply, the Millers argue that the contract between Miller and Massachusetts Mutual clearly manifests a masterservant relationship, rendering Miller merely an employee of plaintiff and exempting his commissions from assignment or attachment.
The other claimants who have filed attachments in Massachusetts argue, that, since Massachusetts law allows attachment of wages with a $50.00 exemption, Pennsylvania law recognizes the validity of such ...