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CATHERINE GARDNER v. PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE CO. (08/28/84)

SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


filed: August 28, 1984.

CATHERINE GARDNER
v.
PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE CO., APPELLANT

No. 427 Philadelphia 1984, Appeal from an Order dated January 20, 1984 of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil Action - Law, No. 4411 December 1983

COUNSEL

Reid R. Coppock, Norristown, for appellant.

William E. Averona, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Olszewski, Popovich and Cercone, JJ.

Author: Olszewski

[ 332 Pa. Super. Page 359]

This action stems from a disputed insurance claim. The instant appeal follows an order by the lower court appointing a neutral arbitrator and directing that arbitration take place in Philadelphia County. Appellant, Prudential Insurance Company, challenges the venue aspect of that order. Appellee has responded on the merits, but asserts that the trial court's order is interlocutory and non-appealable under Pa.R.A.P., Rule 311(a), 42 Pa.C.S.A.

We address initially the question of jurisdiction.*fn1

Under 42 Pa.C.S. Sec. 7320(a)(1), a party may appeal an order denying a petition to compel arbitration. No statutory authority exists, however, for review of an order which compels the arbitration.

Appellant asserts that the order is appealable by right as a final order under 42 Pa.C.S. Sec. 742. As the lower court correctly notes, the argument is frivolous. The order by compelling arbitration forces the parties into, rather than out of, court. Lower court op. at 1.

Our research has unearthed inconsistent dictum in a recent case, Brennan v. General Accident Fire and Life Ins. Corp., 307 Pa. Super. 288, 290, 453 A.2d 356, 357 (1982). There, while quashing an appeal from an order enforcing an agreement for common law arbitration, the court observed that 42 Pa.C.S. Sec. 7320 authorizes review of an order enforcing an agreement for statutory arbitration. The dictum, apparently a misreading of Sec. 7320, has no precedential value.

No other authority supports appeal of this order as a matter of right.

Appeal quashed.


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