Appeal from Order or the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Philadelphia County, Nos. 3063 October Term, 1983, 6154 August Term, 1982.
David S. Shrager, Philadelphia, for appellants.
Charles W. Craven, Philadelphia, for L.F. Driscoll, appellee.
Wieand, Kelly and Hester, JJ.
Harry O'Boyle was employed as foreman by Robert G. Hoffer Company, the structural concrete subcontractor on the River's Edge project in Philadelphia. He was injured when a masonry wall, which had been built by another subcontractor, collapsed and caused him to fall. O'Boyle filed common-law tort actions against various parties involved in the project, and these actions were consolidated for trial. Prior to trial, however, one of the defendants, L.F. Driscoll Company (Driscoll), moved for the entry of summary judgment on grounds that it was a statutory employer and, therefore, immune from common-law tort
liability by virtue of Section 203 of the Workmen's Compensation Law of June 2, 1915, as amended, 77 P.S. § 52.*fn1 The trial court agreed and dismissed Driscoll from the action. O'Boyle appealed.
On review of an order granting summary judgment, an appellate court needs to determine only whether there is a genuine issue of triable fact. Bowman v. Sears, Roebuck and Co., 245 Pa. Super. 530, 369 A.2d 754 (1976). The granting of the summary judgment can be sustained only if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions plus any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to a material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Jeffries v. McCague, 242 Pa. Super. 76, 363 A.2d 1167 (1976).
Doverspike v. Chambers, 357 Pa. Super. 539, 542-543, 516 A.2d 392, 394 (1986).
A statutory employer's immunity from tort liability was explained by this Court in Cranshaw Construction, Inc. v. Ghrist, 290 Pa. Super. 286, 434 A.2d 756 (1981), as follows:
'[I]n negligence cases, the general contractor has the full immunity from suit by the employee of a subcontractor which an immediate employer would have. He is the statutory employer and is the injured employe's employer for negligence immunity purposes and is secondarily liable for compensation even though the immediate employer or some other intermediate subcontractor . . . is insured and responds fully on the injured employe's claim. The reason for this difference cannot be found in the language of the statute, but the rationale must be that, since the general contractor remains statutorily liable, although only in a reserve status, in return for this he has the statutory employer's immunity from statutory employe negligence suits in all events.'
Id., 290 Pa. Superior Ct. at 291, 434 A.2d at 758, quoting Barbieri, Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation & Occupational ...