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WALTER SMITH v. CNA INSURANCE (04/27/83)

argued: April 27, 1983.

WALTER SMITH, APPELLANT,
v.
CNA INSURANCE



No. 554 Pittsburgh 1981, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Allegheny County at No. 4005 of 1980.

COUNSEL

Raymond J. Seals, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Daniel F. Cusick, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Rowley, Popovich and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Popovich

[ 319 Pa. Super. Page 451]

Appellant-plaintiff, Walter Smith, brought this action against appellee-defendant, CNA Insurance, alleging that his benefits under an employee disability insurance plan had been reduced wrongfully. A trial was held by a judge, sitting without a jury, who entered a verdict in favor of appellant. Exceptions were filed, and the court sitting en banc granted appellee's exceptions, and, accordingly, vacated the previous verdict and directed the prothonotary to enter judgment in favor of appellee.*fn1 This appeal followed. We affirm.

Appellant contends that (1) the exclusion clause set forth in the disability insurance contract must be construed against the insurance company and also that (2) he did not reasonably expect the insurance carrier to deduct from his monthly disability insurance benefits collateral social security benefits paid directly to his emancipated non-dependent children in addition to the deduction of social security disability benefits paid directly to him. We reject appellant's contentions.

The facts in the instant case were stipulated by the parties and established the following:

1. Appellant, Walter Smith, received a letter, dated March 8, 1979, from Duquesne University explaining the computation of his benefits under his salary continuation plan.*fn2

[ 319 Pa. Super. Page 4522]

. Appellant, Walter Smith, received a letter, dated April 22, 1980, from CNA Insurance further explaining the computation of his benefits under the salary continuation plan and itemizing the deductions taken for his own Social Security benefits and those for his eligible dependents.*fn3

[ 319 Pa. Super. Page 4533]

. Appellant, Walter Smith, received a brochure from Duquesne University outlining his benefits under the salary continuation plan which specificially [sic] stated that any amounts "paid or payable under the disability or retirement provisions of the Social Security Act (including any payments for eligible dependents)" would be deducted from his benefits.*fn4

4. The disability provisions of the Social Security Act which apply to this case and were the basis for the granting of benefits to appellant's daughters are as follows:

[ 319 Pa. Super. Page 454]

(a) 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(1)(B);

(b) 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(3);

(c) 42 U.S.C. § 405(j).

5. Appellant, Walter Smith, was employed as a Professor in the School of Business and Administration at Duquesne University.

6. The Social Security Administration awarded Social Security Disability Benefits to appellant, Walter Smith, in the amount of $484.40 per month plus Social Security Awards to his adult daughters in the amount of $181.50 each for a combined total of $847.40.

The pertinent section of the salary continuance plan contains the ...


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