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JOEL E. PUGH v. GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY (01/09/89)

filed: January 9, 1989.

JOEL E. PUGH
v.
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order Entered April 26, 1988, in the Court of Common Pleas of York County, Civil, at No. 86-SU-02771-01.

COUNSEL

Patricia A. Butler, York, for appellant.

Dale E. Anstine, York, for appellee.

Tamilia, Watkins and Cercone, JJ.

Author: Watkins

[ 380 Pa. Super. Page 608]

This case comes to us on appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of York County and involves an interlocutory order by which the trial court denied defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings. Because the issue involved in this matter constitutes a case of first impression, appellant-defendant was granted permission to appeal the interlocutory order.

The plaintiff, Joel E. Pugh, was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Pennsylvania on April 5, 1985. At the time of the accident, the plaintiff was a resident of Maryland and his motor vehicle was registered in Maryland. The vehicle was covered by a policy issued by the defendant, Government Employees Insurance Company. In accordance with the Maryland No Fault Act, and the terms and conditions of his policy's personal injury protection, the defendant paid his policy limit of $2500 and medical bills and work loss resulting from his injuries. Plaintiff then initiated the instant action to recover medical and income loss benefits under the "Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law", 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 1701 et seq., because medical benefits under that act provide for a minimum medical benefit of $10,000 and that income loss benefit of up to $1000 per month to a maximum benefit of $5000.

The facts of this case are not in dispute. The issue involved in this case concerns the interpretation and meaning of a provision of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law. (75 Pa.C.S.A. § 1701). The pertinent section of said Act is Section 1711 which provides as follows:

An insurer issuing or delivering liability insurance policies covering any motor vehicle of the type required to be

[ 380 Pa. Super. Page 609]

    registered under this title, except recreational vehicles not intended for highway use, motorcycles, motor driven cycles or motorized pedalcycles or like type vehicles, registered and operated in this Commonwealth, shall include coverage providing a medical benefit in the amount of $10,000.00, in income loss benefit up to a monthly maximum of $1,000.00 up to a maximum benefit of $5,000.00 and a funeral benefit in the amount of $1,500.00 . . . (Emphasis ours).

The issue at hand involves the question of whether a motor vehicle must be both registered and operated in Pennsylvania in order for the provision of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law to apply.

The trial court held that the intent of the Legislature in employing the above stated language was to extend coverage by referring specifically to those parties operating vehicles registered in Pennsylvania, as well as persons operating the vehicles within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The trial court found that the phrase "required to be registered under this title" refers to a "Motor vehicle, motor driven vehicle, motorized pedalcycle or like type vehicle." Thus, the trial court reasoned that it could not accept defendant's ...


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