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INSURANCE COMPANY NORTH AMERICA v. JUDITH E. HIPPERT V. TOM W. BUTTS T/D/B/A TOM W. BUTTS AGENCY (06/16/86)

filed: June 16, 1986.

INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH AMERICA
v.
JUDITH E. HIPPERT V. TOM W. BUTTS T/D/B/A TOM W. BUTTS AGENCY, AND ALLSTATE INSURANCE CO., INC. A CORPORATION. APPEAL OF ALLSTATE INSURANCE CO., INC., A CORPORATION



Appeal from the Order Entered February 25, 1985 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil No. GD82-19271.

COUNSEL

Daniel R. Gigler, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Theodore F. Huckestein, Jr., Pittsburgh, for Ins. Co., appellee.

Karl W. Wiedt, III, Pittsburgh, for Hippert, appellee.

David M. Neuhart, Pittsburgh, for Butts, appellee.

Brosky, Olszewski and Popovich, JJ. Brosky, J., files dissenting opinion.

Author: Olszewski

[ 354 Pa. Super. Page 335]

This appeal comes before us as the result of the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in which the motion for summary judgment made by appellee, Insurance Company of North America (INA), was granted and the motion for summary judgment made by appellant, Allstate Insurance Co., Inc. (Allstate), was denied. Accordingly, Allstate is to be held responsible for payments made to an accident victim even though it did not insure the victim or the vehicle involved but did insure another vehicle owned by appellee Judith Hippert. In the appeal sub judice, we are presented with a new and somewhat unusual factual situation involving the complex rules of the Pennsylvania No-fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act (hereinafter the Act or No-fault Act).*fn1 Once again, this Court must interpret

[ 354 Pa. Super. Page 336]

    the intricate law in light of the applicable facts, most of which are undisputed. As with many no-fault insurance cases, this is no easy task.

We make note that this appeal is the result of a summary judgment. The law in this area is well settled. "Summary judgment is (proper) when the pleadings, depositions, answer to interrogatories, admissions on file and supporting affidavits considered together reveal no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. This severe disposition should only be granted in cases where the right is clear and free from doubt. To determine the absence of a genuine issue of fact, the court must take the view of the evidence most favorable to the non-moving party and any doubts must be resolved against the entry of judgment." (citations omitted). Bowman v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 245 Pa. Super. 530, 369 A.2d 754 (1976); Husak v. Berkel, Inc., 234 Pa. Super. 452, 341 A.2d 174 (1975).

The essential facts, to which the parties stipulated, are as follows:

1. Michael P. Hippert is the brother-in-law of defendant, Judith E. Hippert.

2. For a period of three to four months prior to June 17, 1980, Michael P. Hippert resided with Judith E. Hippert, her husband and daughter at 100 Country Club Drive, Oakdale, Pennsylvania.

3. On June 17, 1980 Michael P. Hippert was injured while driving a 1974 Dodge truck owned by Judith E. Hippert.

4. Michael P. Hippert had Judith E. Hippert's express or implied permission to operate her 1974 Dodge truck at the time of the accident on June 17, 1980.

5. At the time of the accident Michael P. Hippert was not the registered owner of a motor vehicle and was not identified by name as an insured in any other contract of insurance complying with the Act.

6. On August 7, 1980 Michael P. Hippert applied to the Pennsylvania Assigned Claims Plan for basic loss

[ 354 Pa. Super. Page 337]

    benefits as a result of the injuries sustained by him in the accident on June 17, 1980.

7. Michael P. Hippert's claim under the Pennsylvania Assigned Claims Plan was subsequently assigned to INA.

8. Pursuant to its obligation under Section 108 of the Act, INA paid basic loss benefits to or on behalf of Michael P. Hippert and incurred loss adjustment costs in the amount of $54,141.70.

9. The following payments and expenses incurred by INA were a direct result of Michael P. Hippert's injuries suffered in the motor vehicle accident on ...


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