Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

PATRICIA ANN GARBER v. TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANIES AND CHARLES SHIMMEL AND VIRGINIA SHIMMEL (09/26/80)

filed: September 26, 1980.

PATRICIA ANN GARBER
v.
THE TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANIES AND CHARLES SHIMMEL AND VIRGINIA SHIMMEL, HIS WIFE. APPEAL OF THE TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANIES



No. 844 April Term 1979, Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Westmoreland County, Civil Division at No. 3449 of 1977.

COUNSEL

Denis P. Zuzik, Greensburg, for appellant.

Thomas P. Cole, II, Greensburg, for appellee.

Spaeth, Wickersham and Lipez, JJ.

Author: Spaeth

[ 280 Pa. Super. Page 324]

This is a declaratory judgment action. The issue is whether appellant insurance company is obliged to provide appellee with coverage following an automobile accident in which appellee was involved while driving her husband's automobile. The lower court found coverage and the insurance company has appealed.*fn1

Almost all of the essential facts were stipulated, and are as follows. On April 13, 1975, the date of the accident,

[ 280 Pa. Super. Page 325]

    appellee was married to Louis Garber. Appellee owned a 1971 Ford Maverick, which was covered by the policy at issue. Appellee's husband owned a 1966 Buick. Appellee drove her husband's Buick only with his specific permission, and when her Ford was unavailable. On the day of the accident, appellee was driving her husband's Buick because her Ford was inoperable because of a mechanical problem. The one relevant fact not stipulated was whether appellee and her husband were residing in the same household at the time of the accident. The lower court found that appellee's testimony established that they were, and no party has objected to that finding.

The construction of an insurance policy is a question of law, Adelman v. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co., 255 Pa. Super. 116, 386 A.2d 535 (1978), but it is not the function of the court to rewrite a policy or give its terms a construction in conflict with their plain meaning, Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association Insurance Co. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Insurance Co., 426 Pa. 453, 233 A.2d 548 (1967). Any ambiguous term must be construed favorably to the insured, Patton v. Patton, 413 Pa. 566, 198 A.2d 578 (1964), but a term is ambiguous only "if reasonably intelligent men on considering it in the context of the entire policy would honestly differ as to its meaning," Celley v. Mutual Benefit Health & Accident Association, 229 Pa. Super. 475, 481-82, 324 A.2d 430, 434 (1974).

The policy before us is a standard automobile insurance policy. The first page contains the declarations or statements particular to the policy; Item 1 identifies appellee as the named insured, and Item 3 identifies her 1971 Ford. Following this page are eleven pages of printed policy terms; only the first two of these concern us. On the first page of printed policy terms is a large heading, "Part I-Liability." Under that heading at the top of the right hand column in bold type is another heading, "Persons Insured," and under that, still on the first page, in the same bold type, the heading "Definitions." The "Definitions"

[ 280 Pa. Super. Page 326]

    section continues onto the second page of printed policy terms; this continuation is indicated in ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.