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MARY R. TUCCI v. STATE FARM INSURANCE COMPANY (12/27/83)

decided: December 27, 1983.

MARY R. TUCCI, APPELLEE,
v.
STATE FARM INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLANT. ARLENE ANNE CARR, APPELLEE, V. STATE FARM INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLANT. BARBARA SAUNDERS, APPELLEE, V. STATE FARM INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLANT



No. 35 E.D. Appeal Docket 1982, Appeal from the Order of Superior Court of Pennsylvania at No. 2941, Philadelphia, 1980, Affirming an Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, Philadelphia, at No. 4256, October Term, 1979, 297 Pa. Superior Ct. 593, 441 A.2d 790 (1982); No. 39 E.D. Appeal Docket 1982, Appeal from the Order of Superior Court of Pennsylvania, at No. 2944, Philadelphia, 1980, Affirming an Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, Philadelphia, at No. 3720, October Term, 1979, 297 Pa. Superior Ct. 576, 441 A.2d 781 (1982); No. 41 E.D. Appeal Docket 1982, Appeal from the Order of Superior Court of Pennsylvania at No. 2940, Philadelphia 1980, Affirming an Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, Philadelphia, at No. 1928, November Term, 1978, 294 Pa. Superior Ct. 424, Roberts, C.j., and Nix, Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson and Zappala, JJ. Nix, J., concurs in the result. Larsen, J., files a dissenting opinion.

Author: Hutchinson

[ 503 Pa. Page 449]

OPINION OF THE COURT

These three cases in which State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm) appeals by allowance involve the same issue and arise out of arbitration awards under no-fault policies. Therefore, we have consolidated them.

The awards were all made by the same arbitrator, confirmed by Philadelphia Common Pleas and affirmed by the

[ 503 Pa. Page 450]

    same panel of Superior Court. The issue in each is whether an insured can doubly recover the same economic losses, or "special damages", under the personal injury protection provisions of a no-fault policy and also under the uninsured motorist coverage required in all liability policies by the Act of August 14, 1963, P.L. 909, 40 P.S. § 2000.*fn1 We hold the legislature did not intend to afford such duplicate recovery beyond the actual special damages an insured suffered and, therefore, reverse Superior Court.

Each of these appellees received payment of her claim for economic loss or "special damages", i.e. medical expenses and loss of earnings, under the basic loss coverage of her no-fault insurance. Each of them then claimed additional damages under the uninsured motorist coverage of her liability policy. These claims were submitted to the arbitrator who made the following awards:

(1) for Mary R. Tucci against State Farm in the amount of $12,500.00,

(2) for Arlene Carr against State Farm in the amount of $25,500.00,*fn2

(3) for Barbara Saunders against State Farm in the amount of $9,987.00.

Each award specified the portion of the amount awarded attributable to non-economic loss or "general damages", i.e. pain and suffering, which would be recoverable in trespass under Section 301 of our No-Fault Act*fn3 and the portion attributable to "special damages" which latter was, in each case, identical with the amounts received under the appellees'

[ 503 Pa. Page 451]

    no-fault coverage for basic loss.*fn4 Appellant petitioned the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas for modification of the arbitrator's awards under the Act of April 25, 1927, P.L. 381, No. 248, 5 P.S. § 161-179, on the ground that the award is against the law, and is such that had it been a verdict of the jury the court would have entered different or other judgment notwithstanding the verdict.*fn5 With the judiciary's scope of review so defined, we now re-examine these awards.

The Act of August 14, 1963, P.L. 909, 40 P.S. § 2000, was enacted to require, with limitations, "that insurance policies insuring against loss occurring in connection with motor vehicles provide protection against certain uninsured motorists."*fn6 ...


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