No. 758 Pittsburgh, 1980, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, at No. GD 80-5285
David P. Helwig, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Richard S. Dorfzaun, Pittsburgh, for U. S. Fidelity, appellee.
Dennis C. Harrington, Pittsburgh, for Palmer etc., appellees.
Price, Brosky and Montemuro, JJ. Montemuro, J., concurs in the result.
[ 297 Pa. Super. Page 27]
This action stems from an automobile accident which occurred in Pennsylvania in which appellees, the Palmers, sustained injuries. Appellee, U. S. Fidelity and Guaranty Company, (hereinafter U. S. F. & G.) was assigned to administer claims filed by the Palmers pursuant to the assigned claims plan of the Pennsylvania No-Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act.*fn1 U. S. F. & G. has refused payment to the Palmers because it claims that any benefits owed to them are owed by appellant and it has filed a petition for declaratory judgment seeking such a ruling. The case is before us on appeal from the denial of appellant's preliminary objections to the petition.*fn2 The issue for our determination is whether the lower court has personal jurisdiction over this nonresident insurance company. Appellant argues that there is no statutory basis for an assumption of jurisdiction and that such an assumption would violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. We disagree and affirm the order of the lower court.
The lower court based its finding of jurisdiction on the terms of 42 Pa.C.S. § 5322(a)*fn3 (6) which provides:
(a) General rule. -- A tribunal of the Commonwealth may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person (or the personal
[ 297 Pa. Super. Page 28]
representative of a deceased individual who would be subject to jurisdiction under this subsection if not deceased) who acts directly or by an agent, as to a cause of action or other matter arising from such person:
(6)(i) Contracting to insure any person, property, or risk located within this Commonwealth at the time of contracting. (ii) Being a person who controls, or who is a director, officer, employee or agent of a person who controls, an insurance company incorporated in this Commonwealth or an alien insurer domiciled in this Commonwealth.
An examination of the facts of this case shows that this statute does provide a basis for exercising jurisdiction over appellant.
Appellant, United Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, hereinafter United Farm, is a mutual insurance company incorporated in the state of Indiana. It issued an insurance policy to Mr. Palmer, also an Indiana resident, which policy U. S. F. & G. claims is the source of United Farm's liability. The policy contains the following clause:
This policy applies only to accidents, occurrences and loss during the policy period and while the automobile is within the United States of America, its territories or possessions, or Canada, or between ports thereof and is owned, maintained and used for the purposes as set out ...