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DONALD SPEIGHT AND PAULA SPEIGHT v. ROGER BURENS AND FORD MOTOR COMPANY (02/19/88)

filed: February 19, 1988.

DONALD SPEIGHT AND PAULA SPEIGHT, H/W, APPELLANTS,
v.
ROGER BURENS AND FORD MOTOR COMPANY, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Civil at No. 86-716.

COUNSEL

Garland D. Cherry, Jr., Chester, for appellants.

John R. Riddell, Media, for appellees.

Cirillo, President Judge, and McEwen and Montemuro, JJ.

Author: Montemuro

[ 371 Pa. Super. Page 480]

This is an appeal from an Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County granting summary judgment in favor of appellee, Roger Burens, and against Donald and Paula Speight, appellants herein. We affirm.

Appellant, Donald Speight, was employed by appellee, Roger Burens, in his asbestos removal business. On October 2, 1984, appellant was injured while riding as a passenger in an automobile driven by appellee. At the time of the accident, appellant, appellee, and Francis Sullivan, who was also employed by appellee, were returning from lunch. Appellee had driven the two employees to a nearby restaurant in his 1984 Ford Thunderbird where they had discussed business, namely, certain problems with the company's computer system, as well as various work-related projects. On their way back to the office, appellee rear ended another vehicle that was stopped on the highway. As a result of this collision, appellant sustained injuries.

Appellants brought this action against appellee Burens seeking recovery for damages sustained in the accident. Thereafter, Ford Motor Company was joined as an additional defendant. Appellee Burens filed a motion for summary judgment on May 15, 1987, alleging that the

[ 371 Pa. Super. Page 481]

Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act*fn1 provided the exclusive remedy for appellants' injuries. More specifically, appellee asserted that appellants' claim was barred by 77 P.S. § 481(a) because his injury, as defined in 77 P.S. § 411(1), arose "in the course of employment." The trial court set a deadline of June 3, 1987, by which all responses to the motion were to be filed.*fn2 Appellant did not respond to the motion for summary judgment or attempt to controvert the facts set forth in the supporting affidavit until July 2, 1987. However, the trial court, holding true to its deadline, had already granted appellee's motion for summary judgment based on the record before it on June 4, 1987, approximately one month before appellant filed his response to the motion. While all parties received a copy of the June 4th Order granting summary judgment shortly after it was issued, for some unknown reason the Order was not entered on the docket until July 2, 1987. Appellants' filed their notice of appeal on July 22, 1987.*fn3

The only question before us is whether the trial court properly concluded that appellant's injury was suffered "in the course of employment and related thereto." If the undisputed facts before the trial court warrant such a

[ 371 Pa. Super. Page 482]

    conclusion, then appellant's common law action against his employer is barred by § 481(a) of ...


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