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WESTLEY HALL v. DELORES BROWN AND COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT PUBLIC WELFARE. APPEAL DELORES BROWN (05/26/87)

filed: May 26, 1987.

WESTLEY HALL
v.
DELORES BROWN AND COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE. APPEAL OF DELORES BROWN



Appeal From Order, Court of Common Pleas Civil Division, Philadelphia County No. 5066 June Term, 1980.

COUNSEL

John A. Lord, Philadelphia, for appellants.

Richard A. Weisbord, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Cavanaugh, McEwen and Montemuro, JJ.

Author: Cavanaugh

[ 363 Pa. Super. Page 417]

This appeal arose out of an action for personal injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident which occurred on October 15, 1979. Appellee Hall commenced suit by filing a complaint on July 1, 1980, and as a result of information obtained through depositions, suit was also instituted against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania -- the employer of the defendant at the time of the accident. Subsequently, the Commonwealth's motion for summary judgment was granted by an order of the court dated October 28, 1983.

As the insurance carrier for defendant, appellant Government Employee's Insurance Company (hereinafter Geico), entered into negotiations with appellee, resulting in the execution of several stipulations. The first stipulation outlined an agreement between the parties whereby the court would enter a verdict of $50,000.00, the full amount of Geico's policy limits, along with an additional agreed verdict in the amount of $1,035.00 for property damage.

By an order dated January 30, 1986, a verdict in that amount was entered, and the court also "conditionally assessed" delay damages of $18,792.85 against the defendant, Delores Brown. The apparent reason for this conditional assessment was a separate stipulation*fn1 whereby the parties agreed that the issue of liability for payment of the delay damages would be submitted to the trial court for adjudication. It was further stipulated that regardless of which party was found liable, the plaintiff below would not seek to collect from the defendant insured any amounts in excess of the policy limits.

The parties presented the issue of delay damages liability to the trial court by way of a motion to garnish filed by the plaintiff and Geico's answer thereto. We note that this unusual procedure, in conjunction with the previously mentioned stipulations, had the intended effect of subjecting

[ 363 Pa. Super. Page 418]

Geico to the jurisdiction of the court for the limited purpose of resolving a single issue. Consequently, although the defendant insured's name still appears in the caption of this matter as the appellant, the true appellant before us is the insurer, Geico.

The trial court determined that appellant Geico, as insurance carrier for the defendant, was liable for delay damages of $18,792.85 in ...


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