No. 1010 Philadelphia 1983, Appeal from the Order of March 16, 1983 in the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Civil No. 1980-C-967.
Robert E. Simpson, Jr., Easton, for appellants.
James C. Hogan, Easton, for appellees.
Cirillo, Olszewski and Beck, JJ.
[ 335 Pa. Super. Page 312]
This appeal follows denial of appellants' motion to amend their answer in an action initiated by Concetta Gallo. For the reasons below, we vacate the order and remand the case to allow the requested amendment.
Concetta Gallo suffered injuries in a collision involving a snowmobile on which she was a passenger. She sued
[ 335 Pa. Super. Page 313]
Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. (hereinafter "Yamaha") as distributor of the snowmobile, Bruce Ott as owner and operator of the snowmobile, and Steven J. Polansky as owner and operator of an automobile with which the snowmobile collided, and Pocono West, Inc., the purported owner of the road on which the accident occurred.*fn1 On May 15, 1980, original defendant Yamaha filed a complaint joining appellants as additional defendants. Yamaha alleged that the accident resulted from appellants' failure to maintain and inspect the private road where the accident occurred and/or to give proper warning to the users of the road. Appellants filed an answer and new matter on or about January 15, 1981.
In January of 1983 appellants filed a motion to amend the pleadings to reflect the applicability of the Recreation Use of Land and Water Act, Act of February 2, 1966, P.L. (1965) 1860, 68 P.S. §§ 477-1, et seq.*fn2 That statute, in pertinent part, provides: ". . . an owner of land owes no duty of care to keep the premises safe for entry or use by others for recreational purposes, or to give any warning of a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity on such premises to persons entering for such purposes." 68 P.S. § 477-3.
The trial court denied appellants' motion to amend. On appeal, we face a single issue: should the lower court have granted appellants leave to amend their pleadings?
Under Pa.R.C.P. 1033, "A party either by filed consent of the adverse party or by leave of court, may at any time . . . amend his pleading." The decision to permit an amendment to pleadings is committed to the sound discretion of the trial judge. That discretion however is not unfettered. Our courts have established as parameter a policy that amendments to pleadings will be liberally allowed to secure a determination of cases on their merits. ...