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GENERAL ACCIDENT INSURANCE COMPANY AMERICA v. DAVID R. MARGERUM (07/14/88)

filed: July 14, 1988.

GENERAL ACCIDENT INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, APPELLANT,
v.
DAVID R. MARGERUM, LINDA SUSAN NEIMAN, ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF JOSEPH JOHN NEIMAN, DECEASED AND PAUL ALTIMORE AND JOYCE ALTIMORE, H/W AND IRA MARGERUM AND BEATRICE MARGERUM H/W AND ANCHOR YACHT CLUB, INC. AND PETER S. HRICKO, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of October 1, 1987, in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Civil Division, at No. 85-007714-11-1.

COUNSEL

James M. Marsh, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Paul R. Beckert, Jr., Doylestown, for Neiman, appellees.

Wieand, McEwen and Beck, JJ.

Author: Beck

[ 375 Pa. Super. Page 362]

The sole issue in this declaratory judgment action is whether the appellee/defendant David Margerum was an "insured" person within the meaning of the automobile insurance policy that appellant/plaintiff, General Accident Company of America ("General Accident") issued to Margerum's employer, Peter Hricko. Margerum was driving Hricko's van when he had an accident resulting in the death of a pedestrian. The pedestrian's estate brought suit.

[ 375 Pa. Super. Page 363]

Margerum was a defendant. General Accident denied coverage for Margerum and brought the instant action. After a non-jury trial, the trial court found that Margerum's deviation in use from his employer's express permission was not sufficiently substantial to deny coverage. General Accident was required to provide Margerum with a defense and with coverage up to the limits of the policy. General Accident appealed.*fn1 We reverse.

In reviewing a judgment entered in a declaratory judgment action, we are bound by the narrow standard of review which exists in equity actions. A judgment of a trial court will not be reversed absent a clear abuse of discretion or error of law. Federal Kemper Ins. Co. v. Neary, 366 Pa. Super. 135, 530 A.2d 929 (1987).

The business automobile policy in question provides coverage to Hricko as the named insured and to any person using the vehicle with Hricko's permission. The pertinent provision states:

IV. LIABILITY INSURANCE

D. Who is insured

1. You (the named insured) are an insured for any ...


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