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BARBARA HALL v. ACME MARKETS (10/09/87)

decided: October 9, 1987.

BARBARA HALL
v.
ACME MARKETS, INC., TRUE TRANSPORT, INC., STANLEY HIPPLE AND WILLIAM MILES. ACME MARKETS, INC. AND WILLIAM MILES, APPELLANTS. A. EARL PARKER V. ACME MARKETS, INC., TRUE TRANSPORT, INC., STANLEY HIPPLE AND WILLIAM MILES. ACME MARKETS, INC. AND WILLIAM MILES, APPELLANTS



Appeals from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, in case of A. Earl Parker v. Acme Markets, Inc., et al., No. 1541 September Term, 1982, and in case of Barbara Hall, Administratrix of the Estate of Richard J. Hall v. Acme Markets, Inc., et al., No. 2202 September Term, 1982.

COUNSEL

Roland J. Atkins, with him, John J. O'Brien, Jr., O'Brien and O'Brien Associates, for appellants.

Gary Stewart Seflin, Deputy Attorney General, with him, John G. Knorr, III, Deputy Attorney General, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for appellees.

Judges Doyle and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 110 Pa. Commw. Page 201]

Acme Markets, Inc. and William Miles (Appellants) appeal an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia granting the motion of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Thomas Larson, Secretary of Transportation, for summary judgment and dismissing the claims against them.

This matter arose as the result of a collision on February 19, 1981 at the intersection of state highway Routes 10 and 30 in Sadsbury Township. The intersection was controlled by a traffic signal but it did not provide turn signals, and there were no left-hand turn lanes. Robert J. Hall and A. Earl Parker were in an automobile traveling west on Route 30. William Miles was driving a trailer truck, for Acme Markets, Inc., west on Route 30. Stanley Hipple was driving a trailer truck east on Route 30 for True Transport, Inc.

Miles was making a left hand turn from the left lane of Route 30 onto Route 10 while the Hipple and the

[ 110 Pa. Commw. Page 202]

Hall/Parker vehicles, both traveling on Route 30, were approaching the intersection from opposite directions. To avoid hitting the Miles' truck, Hipple swerved into the west bound lanes of Route 30 and struck the Hall/Parker vehicle head on. Hall was killed.

On May 12, 1982, Barbara Hall, administratrix of Hall's estate, filed a trespass action against Acme Markets, True Transport, Hipple and Miles. On September 28, 1982, Parker filed a trespass action against these same parties. Acme Markets, on November 4, 1982, joined, among others, the Commonwealth and Thomas Larson, Secretary of Transportation, as additional defendants in both suits. These suits were consolidated for trial.

The Commonwealth and Thomas Larson, in their answer and new matter filed May 11, 1983, pleaded the affirmative defense of sovereign immunity. On November 19, 1985, Thomas Larson and the Commonwealth filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that the claims against Larson were barred by official immunity and those against the Commonwealth by sovereign immunity. The trial court granted the motion on February 21, 1986 and dismissed, with prejudice, the complaint against Larson and the Commonwealth.

Appellants in their appeal to this court contend that the trial court erred in granting the motion because (1) issues of material fact remain to be resolved and (2) the law regarding sovereign and official immunity was misapplied. Alternatively, Appellants contend they should have been allowed to amend their designation of the additional defendant from the Commonwealth to the Department of Transportation.

[ 110 Pa. Commw. Page 203]

A motion for summary judgment may properly be granted when the moving party has established that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Peters Township Page 203} School Authority v. United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company, 78 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 365, 467 A.2d 904 (1983). Our scope of review is limited to determining if the trial court committed an error of ...


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