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RELIANCE INSURANCE COMPANY v. RICHMOND MACHINE COMPANY (01/14/83)

filed: January 14, 1983.

RELIANCE INSURANCE COMPANY
v.
RICHMOND MACHINE COMPANY, RELIANCE ELECTRIC COMPANY, AND BENDIX WESTINGHOUSE. APPEAL OF RELIANCE ELECTRIC COMPANY



No. 1228 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from the Order of May 5, 1980, as amended June 11, 1980, Court of Common Pleas, Lancaster County, Civil Action, Law, at No. 179 May Term, 1979.

COUNSEL

Mary Jane Forbes, Harrisburg, for appellant.

David C. Keiter, York, for appellee.

Johnson, Montemuro and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Johnson

[ 309 Pa. Super. Page 432]

This is an appeal by [Reliance Electric] a supplier of parts for a machine the defective functioning of which was allegedly the cause of injuries to an employee of an insured of the appellee insurance company [Reliance Insurance]. The appeal is from an order of the trial court which sustained Reliance Electric's preliminary objections in part, denied them in part, and granted the plaintiff Reliance Insurance leave to amend its complaint.

Permission to appeal the interlocutory order was specially granted, at 155 Misc. Docket No. 12, filed May 18, 1981, following the filing of a petition for permission to appeal.*fn1 The trial court, as provided for in 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 702 (Purdon 1981), certified three questions to this court. The three questions certified to us by the trial court are:

(1) is the right of subrogation granted to an employer by section 319 of the Workmen's Compensation Act (77 P.S. § 671) against alleged third-party tortfeasors responsible for injuries to an employee the exclusive remedy by which the employer (or its insurer) may recover the sums it paid in workmen's compensation benefits to the injured employee?

(2) Does an employer (or its insurer) have a common law right of action for indemnity and/or contribution against the third party whose negligence allegedly caused injury to the employee?

(3) If the employer (or its insurer) may maintain an action for contribution and/or indemnity, should the two

[ 309 Pa. Super. Page 433]

    year statute of limitations on personal injury actions apply to such a cause of action?

The facts are as follows. An employee of Reliance Insurance's insured was injured, in the course of his employment, on April 4, 1977. On April 11, 1977, Reliance Insurance started paying worker's compensation benefits to the injured employee. On May 16, 1979, more than two years after both the injury and the commencement of payment of worker's compensation benefits, Reliance Insurance filed a praecipe for a writ of summons in ...


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