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RONALD JONES v. SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (03/30/88)

decided: March 30, 1988.

RONALD JONES
v.
SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, ET AL. UPPER MORELAND TOWNSHIP, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, in the case of Ronald Jones v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and L.K.H. Development Company and Upper Moreland Township, No. 2216, July Term, 1985, and from the Superior Court of Pennsylvania in the case of Ronald Jones v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and L.K.H. Development Company and Upper Moreland Township, Appeal of: Upper Moreland Township, No. 00217 Philadelphia, 1986.

COUNSEL

Maria Zulick, Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman and Goggin, for appellant.

Eric Birnbaum, for appellee, Ronald Jones.

Philip E. Berens, for appellee, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

Robert P. McWilliams, with him, Phillip B. Silverman, for appellees, L.K.H. Development Company.

Judges Craig, MacPhail, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Barbieri.

Author: Barbieri

[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 38]

Additional Defendant Upper Moreland Township (Township) appeals from the order of the Court of Common

[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 39]

Pleas of Philadelphia County denying its motion for judgment on the pleadings or in the alternative change in venue to Montgomery County. We affirm the order of the trial court.

On March 2, 1984, an automobile driven by Ronald Jones (Plaintiff) was struck by a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) train at a grade crossing on Davisville Road in Upper Moreland Township, Montgomery County. Plaintiff instituted suit in Philadelphia County joining the Township as a defendant on a theory that the Township had failed to properly maintain traffic and warning signals at the grade crossing. The Township responded with an answer and new matter to the complaint and when the pleadings were closed filed the instant motion for judgment on the pleadings or in the alternative change in venue asserting that as a local government agency under Section 333 of the JARA Continuation Act of October 5, 1980, P.L. 693, 42 P.S. § 20043 it could only be sued in Montgomery County.

The trial court denied the Township's motion, holding that where there were multiple defendants and venue in Philadelphia County was proper as to one of them, as it was to SEPTA, a political subdivision may be sued in a county other than where it is located under Peaceman v. Cades, 272 Pa. Superior Ct. 568, 572, 416 A.2d 1042, 1044 (1979). The Township appealed to the Superior Court which transferred the case to this Court pursuant to 42 Pa. C. S. § 762(a)(7) to interpret the Peaceman decision in light of 42 Pa. C. S. § 20043 and determine whether an action in which a political subdivision is one of several ...


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