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AMOS A. VOLPE v. UNION FIDELITY LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY (04/18/86)

filed: April 18, 1986.

AMOS A. VOLPE, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF A CLASS OF SIMILARLY SITUATED INDIVIDUALS, APPELLANTS
v.
UNION FIDELITY LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY



Appeal from the Order entered on October 11, 1984, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil Division, at No. 3024 April Term, 1981.

COUNSEL

James J. DeMarco, Philadelphia, for appellants.

Jeffrey S. Rosenblum, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Brosky, McEwen and Hester, JJ.

Author: Hester

[ 352 Pa. Super. Page 321]

This is an appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County denying certification of class action status to the within matter. For the following reasons, we reverse and remand for a certification hearing.

Appellant, Amos A. Volpe, entered the University of Pennsylvania Hospital on April 11, 1980, for treatment of

[ 352 Pa. Super. Page 322]

    myocardial infarction and cerebral hemorrhage.*fn1 Between May 7, 1980, and July 21, 1980, appellant was confined to the rehabilitation unit of the hospital. Appellant sought to recover $3,240.00 for hospital bills pursuant to a senior citizens group policy offered by Union Fidelity Life Insurance Company, appellee herein.*fn2 Appellee denied coverage based upon its definition of covered hospitalization which specifically excluded payment for confinement in "any institution or part thereof used other than incidentally as a place for rehabilitation . . . ."

Appellant filed the instant action on April 22, 1981, individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated individuals. After the disposition of preliminary objections to the complaint, appellee filed an answer denying all allegations on August 18, 1981.*fn3 Appellant thereafter neglected to proceed with any discovery or to take any other action in the case. Consequently, on March 19, 1982, appellee requested that a certification hearing be held within twenty days. One month later, appellant served interrogatories on appellee, requesting information in reference to the class action allegations. Appellee's answers to the interrogatories included numerous objections to various questions as irrelevant, overbroad, onerous, and burdensome.

On June 21, 1983, appellant filed a motion for sanctions, seeking more complete answers to the interrogatories and a motion for judgment on the pleadings. The latter motion was denied on February 18, 1983, but the trial court refused to rule upon the former motion until it had received proof of appellant's death. Said proof was not received until a status conference was held on May 17, 1984. After hearing oral argument and requesting supplemental memoranda,

[ 352 Pa. Super. Page 323]

    the court entered an order denying certification of class action status. That order ...


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