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THOMAS MURPHY v. PRUDENTIAL PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY (04/08/83)

filed: April 8, 1983.

THOMAS MURPHY, APPELLANT,
v.
PRUDENTIAL PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, A SUBSIDIARY OF PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA



No. 194 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from the Order of December 26, 1980 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil Division, No. 3051 May Term, 1979.

COUNSEL

James L. Womer, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Vincent R. Garvey, Jr., Philadelphia, for appellee.

Cercone, President Judge, and McEwen and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Cercone

[ 312 Pa. Super. Page 237]

Plaintiff-appellant, Thomas Murphy, takes this appeal from the order of the lower court granting summary judgment in favor of defendant-appellee and against plaintiff-appellant in his suit to recover benefits under his automobile insurance policy. Appellant argues that the court abused

[ 312 Pa. Super. Page 238]

    its discretion in granting summary judgment because the court's order was based on a misinterpretation of the relevant statute of limitations provision of the Pennsylvania No-Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act.*fn1 We agree with appellant and reverse the order of summary judgment and remand for trial.

The rule of law to be applied when a summary judgment is requested was reiterated by this Court in Petraglia v. American Motorists Insurance Company, 284 Pa. Superior Ct. 1, 3, 424 A.2d 1360, 1361 (1981), aff'd per curiam, 498 Pa. 32, 444 A.2d 653 (1982), wherein we stated:

Summary judgment "shall be rendered if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Pa.R.Civ.P. 1035(b). Summary judgment can only be granted in the clearest of cases. See, e.g., Schacter v. Albert, 212 Pa. Super. 58, 239 A.2d 841 (1968). Additionally, the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and all doubts must be resolved against the moving party. See Thompson Coal Co. v. Pike Coal Co., 488 Pa. 198, 412 A.2d 466 (1979); Just v. Sons of Italy Hall, 240 Pa. Super. 416, 368 A.2d 308 (1976).

See also Williams v. Keystone Insurance Company, 302 Pa. Superior Ct. 44, 46, 448 A.2d 86, 87 (1982). With an eye to this standard, we will look at the facts in the instant case. On March 16, 1977, appellant was injured when the vehicle in which he was riding became involved in an automobile accident. The next day, on March 17, 1977, appellant received the first of a series of treatments by various medical doctors. (At the time of the commencement of appellant's law suit, filed in May 18, 1979, the most recent of these treatments was on May 16, 1977). Appellant

[ 312 Pa. Super. Page 239]

    retained counsel shortly after the accident and on November 15, 1977, appellee company sent a letter to counsel acknowledging receipt of appellant counsel's letter dated October 14, 1977. Appellee's letter further stated: "Please be advised that this is our first notification of the above captioned loss." The letter ...


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