nil, I guess we decided that if judgment came or however it works, that it would come and then I would enter a plea in bankruptcy or whatever it is" (id. p. 32). He did not have the money to pay his personal lawyer, nor to travel to and from Pittsburgh to defend the suit brought by Rensi (id. p. 33).
And, of course, Mr. and Mrs. Burgess were not concerned, for neither could possibly be liable personally for Rensi's injuries which resulted from Langston's negligence at the College.
Thus, a jury could find from the evidence that the unsophisticated 18-year old Langston, whose background was totally alien to the worlds of insurance or law, and his parents, who had not committed any tort, acted as reasonable and prudent persons in the circumstances. Although the parents knew of the accident in December 1974, they were informed and believed that their boy was not liable for the Rensi injuries which occurred at Grove City College, Pennsylvania, because responsible representatives of the College had informed him that the College's insurance company was going to take care of the damages. A jury could find the failure of Langston and his parents, the named insureds, to notify INA for 19 months was reasonable in the circumstances.
On the other hand, a jury could find from the evidence and circumstances that Langston and his parents did not act as reasonable and prudent persons in failing to notify INA of the accident for 19 months. All three knew of the accident in December 1974. They knew they were insured by a homeowner's insurance policy issued by INA. A jury could find that the parents, as named insureds, unreasonably failed to notify INA, even though their son, Langston, told them the College was going to take care of the Rensi damages. Also, a jury could find that Langston, who knew of the existence of the policy and who knew he was insured, unreasonably failed to notify INA, notwithstanding that he was informed and believed that the College would cover him for the Rensi damages.
MOTION OF THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANT, GROVE CITY COLLEGE, FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
In a Motion in Limine filed by Rensi on December 10, 1979, he alleged that the garnishee is limited to raising defenses of immunity, exemption of property, and any defense which could have been asserted against the judgment debtor, Langston, but that the garnishee could not relitigate the issue of the liability between the Plaintiff Rensi and the Defendant Langston after the default judgment was entered in favor of Rensi and against Langston. The court agreed, and by order filed December 18, 1979 the motion was granted "and the Garnishee and Third-Party Plaintiff is directed to refrain from attempting to introduce evidence at the trial of the above-captioned case relating to the liability of original Defendant David L. Langston or Third-Party Defendant Grove City College, or any other person, and such evidence is found to be inadmissible for the reasons set forth in Plaintiff's Motion in Limine."
In addition, without being sued, Grove City College settled with Rensi on December 3, 1976 and was released from all liability as a joint tortfeasor. In our opinion, INA should not be permitted to relitigate the liability of any party, including Grove City College.
INA, by refusing to defend Langston, passed up and lost its opportunity to bring in Grove City College as a third party for liability or for contribution and indemnity.
REDUCTION IN AMOUNT OF JUDGMENT
The release signed by Rensi in favor of Grove City College in consideration of $ 3,750 explicitly states "Joint Tort-Release of One Tortfeasor," i. e., Grove City College. In the Release, Rensi provided, "... I specifically reserve all claims and causes of action arising out of the above-mentioned occurrence against all the other tortfeasors .... and I agree to hold harmless and indemnify the said Grove City College ... of and from any loss, claim, liability, cost or expense growing out of any claim against (it) for contribution by any alleged joint tortfeasor under the Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."
(Emphasis supplied.) In our opinion, Rensi specifically conceded that Grove City College was a joint tortfeasor.
The Release provided: "the consideration for this release shall be received in reduction of the total damages recoverable against all the other tortfeasors to the extent of the pro rata share of the said Grove City College ..."
Thus, INA's motion for partial summary judgment is granted, and the judgment against Langston will be reduced to $ 11,000 plus interest and costs. Mazer v. Security Insurance Group, 507 F.2d 1338 (3d Cir. 1975); Griffin v. United States, 500 F.2d 1059 (3d Cir. 1974).
(Person and Property)
(JOINT TORT-RELEASE OF ONE TORTFEASOR)
Know all men by these presents that Randolph M. Rensi, being of legal age, for and in consideration of the payment of Three Thousand Seven Hundred Fifty and no/100 ///////-- Dollars ($ 3,750.00) by Grove City College, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, have released and discharged, and by this release do for myself, my heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, release and discharge the said Grove City College from all claims, damages, actions and suits of whatsoever kind, known or unknown, prior to and including the date hereof, and particularly for all injuries to person or damage to property, known or unknown, resulting from or to result from an occurrence which happened on or about the 7th day of December, 1974, at or near Grove City College, Grove City, Pa.
Should it appear that two or more persons or entities are jointly or severally liable in tort for the said injuries to person or damage to property resulting from or arising out of said occurrence, the consideration for this release shall be received in reduction of the total damages recoverable against all the other tortfeasors to the extent of the pro rata share of the said Grove City College and I specifically reserve all claims and causes of action arising out of the above-mentioned occurrence against all the other tortfeasors.
The payment made to me is upon my warranty that I have not received heretofore any consideration whatever for, nor have I released heretofore any person, firm or corporation from, any claim or liability for any injuries to person or property arising from said occurrence and I agree to hold harmless and indemnify the said Grove City College and his Insurance Carrier of and from any loss, claim, liability, cost or expense growing out of any claim against them or either of them for contribution by any alleged joint tortfeasor under the Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
I further state that I have carefully read the foregoing Release and know the contents thereof, and that I am signing the same as my own free act. I further intend to be legally bound by the promises herein contained.
If this release is executed by more than one person as releasor, the obligation, responsibility and liability of each such person shall be joint and several.
WITNESS my hand and seal this 3rd day of December, 1976 in the presence of:
(s) H. H. Wallace
1712 Frick Bldg.
(X) (s) Randolph M. Rensi (SEAL)