No. 2569 October Term, 1978, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Civil Action, Law, at No. 76-6660-03-2.
David L. Shenkle, Doylestown, for appellant.
Alan Dion Morrisville, for appellees.
Hester, Hoffman and Catania, JJ.*fn* Hester, J., files a dissenting opinion.
[ 276 Pa. Super. Page 131]
Appellant contends that the lower court erred in disallowing the joinder of the additional defendant under Pa.R.C.P. 2252(a). We agree and, accordingly, reverse the order or the lower court.
James C. Eads (hereinafter "plaintiff") filed a complaint in trespass alleging that, while he was riding his bicycle, he was struck by a motor vehicle owned and operated by appellant, Frederick E. Smith (hereinafter "defendant"), and that he was injured as a result of defendant's negligence. Defendant thereafter filed a complaint naming Samuel G. Oaten as an additional defendant. Defendant alleged in the complaint that the additional defendant is an insurance agent authorized to issue insurance policies of State Farm Mutual Insurance Company (hereinafter "State Farm"). He also alleged that in June, 1972, he purchased an automobile insurance policy from additional defendant, that additional defendant informed him that the policy had been issued, and that defendant has paid all premiums due on the policy to additional defendant. The complaint also averred that additional defendant and State Farm denied that insurance coverage was in effect at the time of the accident and have refused to represent defendant in this action. In the first count of the complaint, defendant sought recovery on the basis that additional defendant is liable over to him on the cause of action pleaded in plaintiff's complaint. Defendant sought recovery in the second count of his complaint for attorney's fees and expenses incurred by defendant in defending plaintiff's action. Additional defendant filed preliminary objections in the nature of a motion to strike, alleging that the defendant's complaint improperly joined a
[ 276 Pa. Super. Page 132]
cause of action unrelated to the cause of action in plaintiff's complaint. The lower court sustained the motion to strike and dismissed defendant's complaint. This appeal followed.
Pa.R.C.P. 2252(a) was amended in 1969 and now provides:
In any action the defendant or any additional defendant may, as the joining party, join as an additional defendant any person whether or not a party to the action who may be alone liable or liable over to him on the cause of action declared upon by the plaintiff or jointly or severally liable thereon with him, or who may be liable to the joining party on any cause of action which he may have against the joined party arising out of the transaction or occurrence or series of transactions or occurrences upon which the plaintiff's cause of action is based.
"This amended rule has expanded the right of joinder to include the situation where a defendant wishes to exert against an additional defendant a cause of action which, although not the same cause of action alleged by plaintiff, is based upon or related to the same transaction or occurrence upon which plaintiff's cause of action is based." Szemanski v. Vulcan Materials Co., 272 Pa. Super. 240, 244, 415 A.2d 92, 94 (1979). See also Township of Upper Makefield v. Benjamin Franklin Federal Savings & Loan Association, 271 Pa. Super. 399, 413 A.2d 726 (1979).
The purpose of the amended rule "is to avoid multiple law suits by settling in one action all claims arising out of the transaction or occurrence or series of transactions or occurrences which gave rise to plaintiff's action." Szemanski v. Vulcan Materials Co., supra, 415 A.2d at 94 (citing American Metal Fabricators Co. v. Goldman, 227 Pa. Super. 284, 323 A.2d 891 (1974); General State Authority v. Coleman Cable & Wire Co., 32 Pa. Commw. 117, 377 A.2d 1291 (1977)). "To achieve this purpose, the amended Rule 2252(a) is to be given a broad ...