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LAVERNE R. MARTIN AND GEORGE MARTIN v. LARRY SOBLOTNEY (02/05/82)

filed: February 5, 1982.

LAVERNE R. MARTIN AND GEORGE MARTIN, HER HUSBAND, APPELLANTS,
v.
LARRY SOBLOTNEY



No. 537 Pittsburgh, 1980, Appeal from the Opinion and Order Entered May 9, 1980, of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Civil Division, at No. GD 77-06045, Issue No. 101930.

COUNSEL

John F. Becker, Pittsburgh, for appellants.

S. Asher Winikoff, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Brosky, DiSalle and Shertz, JJ. This case was decided prior to the expiration of Shertz and DiSalle, JJ., commission of office.

Author: Shertz

[ 296 Pa. Super. Page 149]

Appellants George Martin (husband Appellant) and LaVerne R. Martin (wife Appellant) were injured in a two-car accident which occurred when the vehicle operated by Appellee crossed over Pennsylvania Route 51 onto Appellants' side of the road and struck the vehicle being operated by husband Appellant. Appellants thereupon brought this action under Section 301(a)(5) of the Pennsylvania No-Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act*fn1 (No-fault Act). Husband Appellant sought damages under Section 301(a)(5)(B) and wife Appellant, although pleading a cause of action under Sections 301(a)(5)(B) and 301(a)(5)(D),*fn2 proceeded at trial solely under the latter section.

[ 296 Pa. Super. Page 150]

The trial judge, after directing a verdict for husband Appellant on liability,*fn3 submitted Special Interrogatories to the jury. Based upon the jury's responses*fn4 to the Interrogatories, the trial judge molded a verdict in favor of husband Appellant in the amount of $5000, and in favor of Appellee as to the claim of wife Appellant. Appellants' motions for new trial and judgment n. o. v. were denied and judgment was entered on the verdicts. This appeal followed.

[ 296 Pa. Super. Page 151]

Husband Appellant contends that the trial court erred in refusing to permit proof of the medical expenses incurred by husband Appellant. We agree and therefore reverse the lower court's order denying husband Appellant's motion for a new trial.*fn5 Wife Appellant contends that the trial judge erred in allowing improper cross-examination, in refusing to permit proof of the cost of medical services which had not been and would not be incurred, and in refusing to grant wife Appellant's motion for judgment n. o. v. We disagree and therefore affirm the lower court's order denying wife Appellant's motions for new trial and judgment n. o. v.

George Martin

The sole, and narrow, issue under consideration in husband Appellant's appeal is whether, in a tort action brought pursuant to Section 301(a)(5)(B) of the No-fault Act, evidence of the cost of medical services necessitated by injuries arising out of a motor vehicle accident and incurred as of the time of trial, is admissible. We point out that we are not here concerned with whether expenses for such services may be pleaded as damages, See Zagari v. Gralka, 264 Pa. Super.Ct. 239, 399 A.2d 755 (1979), nor whether they may be pleaded as evidentiary facts, See D'Antona v. Hampton Grinding Wheel Co., Inc., 225 Pa. Super.Ct. 120, 310 A.2d 307 (1974).

In the case at bar, husband Appellant's pleading of medical expenses incurred, and to be incurred,*fn6 elicited no objection

[ 296 Pa. Super. Page 152]

    by Appellee. However, when, at trial, husband Appellant attempted to offer proof of the medical expenses he had incurred as of that time, Appellee's objection thereto was sustained by the trial court. R.R. at 104a-105a, 177a-178a. Husband Appellant argues that the learned trial judge erroneously relied on Zagari, supra, and in so doing committed reversible error.

The logical starting point, in attempting to reach a determination of the instant issue, is the Pennsylvania No-fault Act itself. Although some No-fault statutes specifically preclude proof of such expenses,*fn7 while others specifically allow such proof,*fn8 our No-fault Act does neither. We therefore

[ 296 Pa. Super. Page 153]

    are obliged, pursuant to the Statutory Construction Act of 1972, 1 Pa.Cons.Stat.Ann. ยง 1501 et seq. (Purdon Supp.1981), to apply the canons of statutory construction in order to determine whether the legislature intended to allow or to preclude such proof.*fn9

     a.

The extensive debates which preceded enactment of the No-fault Act have resulted in an explicit legislative history which makes it abundantly clear that the General Assembly intended to permit proof of medical expenses at trial. The original No-fault Bill, H.B.1973, as reported from the Committee on Consumer Protection on May 6, 1974, included, in section 505 thereof, a preclusion of pleadings provision which provided, in pertinent part:

"any person eligible for basic loss benefits is precluded from pleading or introducing into evidence in any tort action to recover damages from another person those damages for which benefits provided have been recovered."

H.B.1973, (Session of 1974), Printers No. 3068.

[ 296 Pa. Super. Page 154]

On June 4, 1974, Representative Scanlon introduced an amendment deleting, inter alia, the preclusion from pleadings provision of the bill. Excerpts from the ensuing debate*fn10 demonstrate, beyond peradventure, that the legislators

[ 296 Pa. Super. Page 155]

    were fully informed, and clearly understood, that the purpose of the amendment was, inter alia, to allow proof of medical expenses to be offered and admitted into evidence

[ 296 Pa. Super. Page 157]

    at trial. The ultimate passage of the amendment,*fn11 and the subsequent enactment of the No-fault Act, devoid of a preclusion of pleadings provision, transformed the purpose of the amendment into a clear expression of legislative intent, an intent which we are obliged to effectuate.

     b.

Proper statutory construction also requires that we give effect to all provisions of a statute. In doing so, we find Section 102(a)(6)(B) of the ...


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