OCTOBER TERM, 1978 No. 2030, APPEAL FROM THE ORDER OF THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF PHILADELPHIA COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, ENTERED JULY 11, 1978, AT No. 1001, APRIL TERM, 1978
Frederick Goldfein, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Steven R. Sher, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Wieand, Robinson and Louik, JJ.*fn* Louik, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
[ 270 Pa. Super. Page 331]
Zelda Sones, Appellee, was involved in an automobile collision with an uninsured motorist and sustained personal injuries. At the time of the accident, she was a passenger in an automobile owned by her husband, Dr. Sones. The vehicle in which appellee was a passenger was one of three
[ 270 Pa. Super. Page 332]
automobiles owned by Dr. Sones which were included in a motor vehicle liability policy issued by the appellant, Aetna Casualty and Surety Company. However, separate premiums were paid for each vehicle including a premium for Uninsured Motorist Coverage for each vehicle. The uninsured coverage for each automobile was $10,000.00 per person and $20,000.00 per accident. Appellee, claiming to have suffered damages in the amount of $15,000.00, made claim for that amount. However, appellant refused to make payment because this exceeded the amount of coverage for one person. The dispute was thereafter submitted to arbitrators who, in a two to one decision, awarded appellee damages in the amount of $15,000.00.
Thereafter, appellant petitioned the court below to vacate (or in the alternative to modify) the award. The court below in denying the petition to vacate held that the policy in question did not unambiguously exclude "stacking" in view of the language of the policy and the legislative intent in enacting the uninsured motorist law (Act of August 14, 1963, P.L. 909, § 1, as amended, 40 P.S. § 2000). This appeal followed.
Appellant-insurer contends the award of the arbitrators should have been vacated or modified because the uninsured motorist coverage for two of the automobiles insured under the policy were cumulated or "stacked" to arrive at an award which exceeded in amount the limit for one vehicle, in contravention of the following provision of the policy.
"Regardless of the number of * * * automobiles or trailers to which this policy applies,
(c) the limit of liability for Uninsured Motorist Coverage stated in the declaration as applicable to "each person" is the limit of the Company's liability for all damages because of bodily injury sustained ...