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DOUGLAS J. OKKERSE AND LYNN F. OKKERSE v. EDWARD J. HOWE (03/15/89)

decided*fn*: March 15, 1989.

DOUGLAS J. OKKERSE AND LYNN F. OKKERSE, HIS WIFE, AN INCOMPETENT, AND LAUREN OKKERSE, A MINOR BY DOUGLAS J. OKKERSE, HER GUARDIAN, APPELLEES,
v.
EDWARD J. HOWE, III, FORD MOTOR COMPANY, GEORGE MONROE PFAUMER, ARTHUR EUGENE PFAUMER AND ELIZABETH C. PFAUMER, H/W, LOWER MERION TOWNSHIP, PA. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, MICHAEL P. ERDMAN AND BARBARA DUBARRY ERDMAN, H/W RUSSELL BEMENT AND VIOLA BEMENT, H/W, LOUIS K. SOLADAY, ROBERT TUCKER, DOROTHY H. HALL, THOMAS C. JOYCE AND NANCELYN F. JOYCE, H/W, GEORGE B. LEMON, ROBERT B. WAGNER AND JEAN H. WAGNER, H/W, WILLIAM C. PICKETT AND MARGARET R. PICKETT, ALBURY N. FLEITAS AND PRISCILLA M. FLEITAS, H/W DANIEL BRAINARD SLACK, WILLIG HOWARD, JOHN ARONIAN, JOEL WASLEY AND VIRGINIA DENISON. APPEAL OF GEORGE MONROE PFAUMER, ARTHUR EUGENE PFAUMER AND ELIZABETH C. PFAUMER. APPEAL OF TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MERION



Appeals from the Order of the Superior Court entered October 7, 1987 at No. 2913 and 3201, Philadelphia 1985, vacating the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia entered September 30, 1985, at No. 3221, may Term, 1985, and quashing the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia entered November 4, 1985 at No. 3221, May Term, 1985. Pa. Super. A.2d (1988)

COUNSEL

Charles W. Craven, Margaret A. Wurzer, Philadelphia, and Victor Verbeke, West Conshohocken, for appellant.

Benjamin E. Zuckerman, Norristown, for Lower Merion Tp.

David R. Black, Media, for Doug, Lynn and Lauren Okkerse.

Larry E. Coben, and Joseph V. Pinto, Philadelphia, for Ford Motor Co.

Gordon W. Gerber and Edwin L. Scherlis, Philadelphia, for Michael and Barbara Erdman.

Louis K. Soladay, I.P.P.

James C. Stroud, Philadelphia, for Dorothy Hall and George Lemon.

William J. McKinley, Philadelphia, for William and Margaret Pickett.

Edward J. David, Philadelphia, for Daniel B. Slack.

Brian P. Sullivan, Plymouth Meeting, for John Aronian.

Donald J. Mathews, Jr. and Thomas P. Bracaglia, Philadelphia, for Virginia Denison.

Charles W. Craven and Margaret A. Wurzer, Philadelphia, for George, Arthur and Elizabeth Pfaumer.

John Salmon, Philadelphia, for Edward J. Howe.

Theodore J. Chylack, Norristown, for PennDOT.

Madeline M. Sherry, Philadelphia, for Russell and Viola Bement.

Robert Tucker, I.P.P., Pittsburgh.

Gerard J. St. John, Philadelphia, for Tom and Nancelyn Joyce.

James F. Zaccaria and Louis Pera, Philadelphia, for Albury and Priscilla Fleitas.

E. Paul Maschmeyer, Bryn Mawr, for Willig Howard.

Alan Jay Dion and Mary Carter Smith, Philadelphia, for Joel E. Wasley.

Robert H. Wagner, I.P.P.

Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Zappala, Papadakos and Stout, JJ. Larsen, J., files a concurring and dissenting opinion in which Papadakos, J., joins. Zappala, J., files a concurring and dissenting opinion.

Author: Mcdermott

[ 521 Pa. Page 513]

OPINION

This appeal has evolved from a procedural morass and presents us with an opportunity to discuss the concept of forum non conveniens. The underlying facts of this case are as follows. On June 3, 1983, Lynn F. Okkerse was in a serious car accident which occurred at the intersection of New Gulph and Avon roads, located in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County.

Suit was instituted on Mrs. Okkerse's behalf by her husband.*fn1 The Okkerse suit was filed in Philadelphia County against the following defendants: Edward J. Howe, III (the driver of the other car involved in the accident); the Ford Motor Company (the manufacturer of Mrs. Okkerse's car); George, Arthur, and Elizabeth Pfaumer (the owners of a property which was allegedly overgrown, thereby obscuring the entrance to the intersection); Lower Merion Township (the municipality which had the responsibility of exercising control over the intersection); the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (the owner of the intersection where the accident occurred; Mr. and Mrs. Michael P. Erdman (social hosts who allegedly served alcoholic beverages to defendant Howe); and twenty-two individual property owners (who allegedly owned the road which led into the intersection). In the present appeal the significant parties are the plaintiffs and some of the property owners.

Although the situs of the accident was in Montgomery County the institution of suit in Philadelphia was permissible because two of the defendants, Ford Motor Company, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, had business ...


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