Appeal from the Order entered November 20, 1987 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil Division, at No. 2890 March Term 1986.
Lawrence L. Robinson, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Eileen M. McGuire, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Cavanaugh, Wieand and Del Sole, JJ.
[ 376 Pa. Super. Page 610]
This appeal was filed following the entry of the trial court order which vacated the Award of Arbitrators dated July 28, 1987 and stated that a new Panel of Arbitrators shall be convened to address the Appellee's uninsured motorist claim. Based on the scope of review provided for this action under the provisions of Statutory Arbitration, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 7301, we reverse.
The relevant facts of this case are as follows: The Appellee/Plaintiff filed an uninsured motorist claim against the Appellant/Defendant in regard to an automobile accident. Pursuant to the arbitration clause of the parties' insurance contract, an Arbitration Panel was assembled and presided over a hearing on September 12 and 25, 1986. The Panel of three arbitrators rendered a decision with the majority deciding in favor of the Appellant. The decision was stated in a letter from the Panel's neutral arbitrator (Ettinger). The letter contained the following statement of award:
The Arbitrators find as follows:
Robert J. Coleman and Leonard L. Ettinger find for the Defendant, Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.
Mitchell Greenspan dissents. He finds for the Plaintiff, David Goeller.
This letter was signed by Ettinger, and a copy was sent to the attorneys for both parties and to the other two members of the Arbitration Panel. The letter was filed with the Prothonotary of Philadelphia County the following day.
The next day, Arbitrator Greenspan sent a letter to Ettinger expressing his dissatisfaction with the statement of award. He stated that his listed vote was incorrect and that he was not consulted prior to the vote. He alleged misconduct by the arbitrators who authored the decision as he felt that they had discussed the case outside his presence. Finally, Greenspan requested that the Panel immediately void ...