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GEORGE ADAMS v. HARLEYSVILLE INSURANCE CO. AND SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (02/08/89)

filed: February 8, 1989.

GEORGE ADAMS, APPELLANT,
v.
HARLEYSVILLE INSURANCE CO. AND SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order entered February 1, 1988 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil, No. 3596 December Term, 1986.

COUNSEL

Thomas Bruno, II, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Kathleen M. Kramer, Philadelphia, for Harleysville, appellees.

Cirillo, President Judge, and Wieand and McEwen, JJ.

Author: Mcewen

[ 381 Pa. Super. Page 371]

This appeal has been taken from the entry of summary judgment*fn1 in favor of Harleysville Insurance Company (hereinafter appellee), in this action to recover

[ 381 Pa. Super. Page 372]

    first party benefits pursuant to the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act.*fn2

Appellant, George Adams, was injured while riding as a passenger in a SEPTA trolley which struck the rear of a vehicle insured by appellee. Appellant filed a complaint seeking payment of first party benefits, pursuant to the policy issued by appellee to the driver of the automobile, and in conformity with the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act, 75 Pa.C.S. §§ 1701 et seq. Appellee Harleysville joined SEPTA, alleging that SEPTA was liable for the payment of first party benefits. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of appellee Harleysville, and dismissed appellee from the action as a result of its conclusions (1) that the SEPTA trolley was a "motor vehicle" for purposes of the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act, and (2) that SEPTA was, therefore, the obligor required to provide first party benefits to the appellant. 75 Pa.C.S. § 1787(a)(1).

Section 1711 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act provides that policies covering "any motor vehicle of the type required to be registered under [the Motor Vehicle Code]," shall include coverage for first party benefits. 75 Pa.C.S. § 1711 (emphasis supplied). The parties agree that the sole issue presented by this appeal is whether the SEPTA trolley, which was operated upon tracks, is a motor vehicle "of the type required to be registered." We are, therefore, called upon to ascertain whether the legislature intended to exclude from the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act a trolley operated upon tracks.

[ 381 Pa. Super. Page 373]

A statute must be read to effect its general purpose. Busy Beaver Building Centers, Inc. v. Tueche, 295 Pa. Super. 504, 512, 442 A.2d 252, 256 (1981). Words and phrases used by the legislature are to be construed according to their common meaning and accepted usage, with technical words being given their technical meaning. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. v. Nationwide Mutual Page 373} Insurance Co., 317 Pa. Super. 497, 502, 464 A.2d 431, 434 (1983). However, individual provisions in a comprehensive legislative scheme should not be read abstractly, but rather with a view to their place in the ...


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