Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, in the case of Kathleen Knudsen, Administratrix of the Estate of David E. Knudsen, Deceased v. Delaware County Regional Water Quality Control Authority, No. 82-9247.
Daniel L. Thistle, Beasley, Hewson, Casey, Colleran, Erbstein & Thistle, for appellant.
George J. McConchie, Cramp, D'Iorio, McConchie & Forbes, P.C., for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judge Doyle, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Narick. Judge MacPhail did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 121 Pa. Commw. Page 550]
Kathleen Knudsen, as Administratrix of the Estate of David E. Knudsen (Appellant), appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County denying her motion for delay damages. This is Appellant's third appeal to Commonwealth Court. She originally appealed the dismissal of the Chester-Upland School District as an additional defendant. This Court upheld the dismissal in Knudsen v. Delaware County Regional Water Quality Control Authority, 84 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 36, 478 A.2d 533 (1984). (Knudsen I). In 1985, Appellant appealed from an order denying her delay damages on the basis of Section 333 of the JARA Continuation Act of 1980, Act of October 5, 1980, P.L. 693, 42 P.S. § 20043, which prohibits the accrual of prejudgment interest against a local agency. This Court reversed and remanded in Knudsen v. Delaware County Regional Water Quality Control Authority, 105 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 409, 524 A.2d 1036 (1987) (Knudsen II), instructing the trial court to reconsider its decision in light of our Supreme Court's decision in Craig v. Magee Memorial Rehabilitation Center, 512 Pa. 60, 515 A.2d 1350 (1986).
On remand, the trial court found, on the basis of stipulated facts, that the Delaware County Regional Water Quality Control Authority (DELCORA) was not responsible for any delay in the proceedings and it denied delay damages under Pa. R.C.P. No. 238 (Rule 238). Automatic operation of that rule was suspended by our Supreme Court in Craig, which directed trial courts to make a factual inquiry as to which party was responsible for any delays in bringing the case to trial.
[ 121 Pa. Commw. Page 551]
Specifically, the trial court summarized the relevant chronology as follows:
12/2/81 -- date of the accident
7/20/82 -- complaint is filed
11/5/82 -- Delcora makes a written offer to settle the case for $250,000.00.
11/9/82 -- [Appellant] rejects Delcora's offer of $250,000.00 and submits a settlement ...