No. 2185 Philadelphia 1982, Appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Civil, at No. 1981-C-5760.
Ronald W. Shipman, Easton, for appellant.
Robert E. Simpson, Jr., Easton, for appellee.
Rowley, Montemuro and Johnson, JJ.
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The appellant, Concetta Gallo, commenced an action in trespass and assumpsit against appellee, J.C. Penney Casualty Insurance Company, to recover No-Fault benefits to which she claims entitlement by reason of injuries sustained
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as a passenger in a snowmobile involved in an accident. The Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, per the Honorable Franklin S. Van Antwerpen, granted the appellee's motion for judgment on the pleadings on the ground that a snowmobile is not a motor vehicle as defined by the policy and by the No-Fault Act.*fn1 The court concluded that because a snowmobile is not a vehicle, the contract of insurance between appellant and appellee does not provide coverage for the snowmobile accident.
The sole question before us is whether the trial court erred in deciding as a matter of law that a snowmobile is not a motor vehicle. In reviewing a trial court's order granting judgment on the pleadings, we are guided by the following standard:
[A] motion for judgment on the pleadings may be granted in cases which are so free from doubt that a trial would clearly be a fruitless exercise. Such a motion is in the nature of a demurrer; all of the opposing party's well pleaded allegations are viewed as true but only those facts specifically admitted by him may be considered against him.
Karns v. Tony Vitale Fireworks Corporation, 436 Pa. 181, 184, 259 A.2d 687, 688 (1969); Bata v. Central-Penn National Bank of Philadelphia, 423 Pa. 373, 224 A.2d 174 (1966). A judgment on the pleadings shall not be entered when there are unknown or disputed issues of fact. North Star Coal Company v. Waverly Oil Works, Co., 447 Pa. 241, 288 A.2d 768 (1972); Sun Oil Company v. Bellone, 292 Pa. Super. 341, 437 A.2d 415 (1981). In conducting this inquiry, the court should confine its consideration to the pleadings and relevant documents. DiAndrea v. Reliance Savings and Loan Association, 310 Pa. Super. 537, 456 A.2d 1066 (1983); Del Quadro v. City of Philadelphia, 293 Pa. Super. 173, 437 A.2d 1262 (1981); SN, Inc. v. Long, 208 Pa. Super. 38, 220 A.2d 357 (1966). No affidavits, depositions or briefs may be considered. Id. Finally, we note that the "granting of a motion for judgment on the pleadings
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may be appropriate in cases that turn upon the construction of a written agreement." DiAndrea v. Reliance Savings and Loan Association, supra, 310 Pa. Super. at 546, 456 A.2d at 1070.
The question before us was put into issue in the pleadings. See Defendant's Answer and New Matter at p. 3, para. 17; Plaintiff's Reply to New Matter at p. 1, para. 17. On May 6, 1982, the appellee filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings in which appellee contended, inter alia, that appellant had failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted in that the insurance contract did not cover accidents involving snowmobiles. After briefs were filed by the parties and argument was held, the court granted the motion by order of July 6, 1982.
The insurance contract between the appellant and the appellee provides as follows:
PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION ...