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ROBERT COTTON AND BETTY NOLAND v. INSURANCE COMPANY NORTH AMERICA (08/16/85)

filed: August 16, 1985.

ROBERT COTTON AND BETTY NOLAND, APPELLANTS,
v.
INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH AMERICA



Appeal from the Order in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil No. 1383 November Term, 1983

COUNSEL

Anton H. Rosenthal, Philadelphia, for appellants.

David M. McCormick, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Spaeth, President Judge, and Johnson and Shoyer,*fn* JJ.

Author: Spaeth

[ 344 Pa. Super. Page 603]

This appeal is from an order granting summary judgment. Appellants were uninsured passengers in an uninsured motor vehicle when it collided with an insured motor vehicle. Upon application to the Pennsylvania Assigned Claims Plan, appellee was designated appellants' assigned obligor. Subsequently, without appellee's knowledge, appellants entered into a settlement agreement with the driver of the insured vehicle. The trial court held that under the Uninsured Motorist Act, 40 P.S. § 2000(e)(2), appellants' settlement precluded their recovery of uninsured motorist benefits from appellee. We agree, and therefore affirm.

The Uninsured Motorist Act provides in part:

(e) The coverage required by this section does not apply:

(2) To bodily injury sustained by the insured with respect to which the insured or his representative shall, without the written consent of the insurer, make any settlement with or prosecute to judgment any action against any person who may be legally liable therefor.

40 P.S. § 2000(e)(2).

Appellants were to have received uninsured motorist benefits from appellee. Thus appellee was to have provided "[t]he coverage required by this section." It is undisputed that appellants entered into a settlement with an insured driver, i.e., with a "person who may [have been] legally liable" for the "bodily injure[ies] sustained by the insured[s]."

[ 344 Pa. Super. Page 604]

The conclusion is therefore inescapable that appellants' settlement precluded them from receiving "[t]he coverage required by [the Uninsured Motorist Act]." See 1 Pa.C.S. § 1921(b) ("When the words of a statute are clear and free from all ambiguity, the letter of it is not to be disregarded under pretext of pursuing its spirit."). See also In re Fox's Estate, 494 Pa. 584, 431 A.2d 1008 (1981); ...


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