Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in the case of Mark K. Snyder v. Bristol Township, Middletown Township, and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, No. 85-05447-09-2.
Sally J. Caldwell, with her, Roger J. Harrington, for appellant.
Alan Dion, Dion & Rosenau, for appellees.
Judges MacPhail, McGinley and Smith, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge McGinley. Judge Smith concurs in the result only.
[ 119 Pa. Commw. Page 202]
This is an appeal from a final order of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas granting Bristol Township's (Bristol) Motion for Summary Judgment and dismissing Mark K. Snyder's (Snyder) complaint as to Bristol. We reverse and remand.
A motor vehicle accident occurred on or about April 15, 1984, wherein Snyder was injured. At the time of the accident Snyder was traveling in a westerly direction on New Falls Road, formerly known as Newportville Road. The two westbound lanes are in Middletown Township (Middletown); the two eastbound lanes are in Bristol. Snyder alleges his vehicle was traveling in the westbound lanes when it made contact with water buildup, hydroplaned, jumped the curb and struck a tree. It was or had been raining heavily.
Summary judgment shall be granted if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions together with affidavits show there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Pa. R.C.P. 1035(b). It is to be entered, however, only in the clearest of cases when no doubt exists as to the absence of a triable issue of fact. Williams v. Pilgrim Life Insurance Co., 306 Pa. Superior Ct. 170, 452 A.2d 269 (1982). Further, on review we must examine the record in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, giving such party the benefit of all reasonable inferences, and all doubts as to the existence of a genuine issue of material fact must be resolved against the moving party, herein Bristol.
In response to Bristol's Request for Admissions, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation (Commonwealth), a co-defendant, stated that "[a]fter reasonable inquiry, the information readily obtainable is insufficient to enable the Commonwealth to admit or deny that it owned New Falls Road." (Official
[ 119 Pa. Commw. Page 203]
Record, Part I, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation's Response to Request for Admissions of Bristol Township, at 1.) However, the Commonwealth admitted that New Falls Road is a State highway. (Id. at 2.)
The trial court, relying upon our decision in Swank v. Bensalem Township, 504 Pa. 291, 472 A.2d 1065 (1984), held that Bristol cannot be liable once a road has been adopted into the state highway system for negligence in its initial ...