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ERIE INSURANCE GROUP v. BARBARA ANN CAVALIER (01/06/89)

filed: January 6, 1989.

ERIE INSURANCE GROUP, APPELLANT,
v.
BARBARA ANN CAVALIER, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order entered April 15, 1988, in the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, Civil, No. 245 of 1988, G.D.

COUNSEL

David I. Ainsman and Miles A. Kirshner, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Joseph M. George, Uniontown, for appellee.

Olszewski, Del Sole and Kelly, JJ.

Author: Olszewski

[ 380 Pa. Super. Page 602]

This is an appeal from a declaratory judgment filed by the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County. Plaintiff-appellant, Erie Insurance Group, sought a determination of the limits of coverage available under an insurance policy issued to Gregory Beal and also providing coverage to Thomas Beal. The defendant-appellee is Barbara Ann Cavalier Beal, formerly Barbara Ann Cavalier. Finding the trial court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over this action as a result of appellant's failure to join the insureds as party defendants, we vacate the trial court's order and dismiss the action.

According to an agreed statement of facts filed by the parties, on or about August 15, 1983, at or about 5:55 p.m. at the street intersection of West Crawford Avenue and Wood Street in Dunbar Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, appellee was involved in an automobile collision as a passenger on a motorcycle owned by Gregory Beal and operated by Thomas Beal. As a result of the collision, appellee allegedly sustained personal injuries. Consequently, appellee filed an action in trespass at No. 496 of 1984, G.D., in the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, against Thomas Beal and Cheryl Joseph Harvey. Gregory Beal was also joined as an additional defendant based upon

[ 380 Pa. Super. Page 603]

    the allegations that "he was negligent in entrusting said motorcycle to Thomas Beal . . . ." Agreed statement of facts at 2-3.

The parties to the instant action further agreed that, at all relevant times, Thomas Beal was an insured under an Erie Pioneer Family Auto Insurance Policy, providing third-party liability coverage for the motorcycle operated by Thomas Beal. Furthermore, it was agreed that the policy extends bodily injury liability coverage to Gregory Beal, its named insured, and Thomas Beal, the operator of the motorcycle. The insurance policy and attached declaration sheet specifying the limits of bodily injury liability coverage as "BI 015/030" were incorporated in the agreed statement.

On February 11, 1988, appellant filed a complaint in declaratory judgment, requesting the trial court to establish the limits of its bodily injury liability coverage extended to its named insured, Gregory Beal, and/or the operator, Thomas Beal. In its complaint, appellant alleged, inter alia, that, "pursuant to the declaration sheet attached to the . . . policy of automobile insurance, the bodily injury coverage limits are established at $15,000.00 for 'each person' and $30,000.00 for 'each occurrence' and '[t]he sole claim for injury which has been made' . . . has been made on behalf of Defendant in [the civil action] . . . ." Complaint at 2. Thereafter, appellee filed an answer and new matter to complaint in declaratory judgment, requesting, inter alia, that the trial court declare that the insurance policy extends coverage on separate grounds of negligence against Gregory Beal and Thomas Beal in the amount of $30,000.00. After submission of the parties' signed agreed statement of facts and briefs, the trial court issued the following order:

AND NOW, this 15th day of April, 1988, it is Ordered and Declared that the liability pursuant to Pioneer Family Auto Insurance Policy PO1 81 01085N P in the action at No. 486 of 1984, G.D., in the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, Pennsylvania, is $30,000.00.

Trial court order at 1. On the same day, appellant timely filed exceptions and an appeal. Appellant's exceptions were not ...


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