Appeal from the Order of June 7, 1988, in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, Civil Division, at No. 87-CIV-1174. Appeal from the Order entered on June 7, 1988, in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, Civil Division, at No. 87-CIV-1174.
Edward A. Monsky, Scranton, for West American Ins. Co.
Gerald J. Butler, Scranton, for Anne Marie Vaskie.
Cirillo, President Judge, and Beck and Kelly, JJ.
[ 383 Pa. Super. Page 78]
This is an appeal from a grant of summary judgment in favor of plaintiff-appellee Anne Marie Vaskie in her breach of contract action against defendant-appellant West American Insurance Company.
On January 1, 1985, Ms. Vaskie was involved in an automobile accident with a vehicle owned and operated by persons who were insured by West American. Ms. Vaskie retained Harold Murnane, Esquire, to represent her in connection with obtaining recovery for the personal injuries she sustained as a result of this accident. At some point prior to December 1986 Mr. Murnane and West American
[ 383 Pa. Super. Page 79]
began negotiations aimed at settling Ms. Vaskie's claim. The parties' correspondence reveals that as of November 1986, West American had offered $25,000. Apparently after continuing negotiations by telephone, on December 1, 1986 West American addressed a letter to Mr. Murnane which concluded by stating that West American had carefully reviewed Ms. Vaskie's claim and that West American's "offer will remain $25,000." This letter did not specify a date on which the offer would terminate. On January 9, 1987, Mr. Murnane sent a mailgram to West American in which he, on behalf of Ms. Vaskie, unconditionally accepted West American's $25,000 offer.
West American refused to pay, arguing that there was no contract between the parties because the statute of limitations on Ms. Vaskie's personal injury claim had run on January 1, 1987, eight days before she accepted West American's offer.
Ms. Vaskie then instituted this suit for breach of the alleged settlement agreement. Both parties filed motions for summary judgment. The trial court granted Ms. Vaskie's motion, awarding her $25,000, and denied West American's motion.
West American appealed, arguing alternatively that either judgment should have been entered in its favor or that at a minimum factual disputes requiring resolution by a jury should have prevented the entry of summary judgment for Ms. Vaskie. Ms. Vaskie cross-appealed solely on the ground that the trial court erred in failing to award her pre-judgment interest and costs.
On review of a grant of summary judgment, we must remain mindful that summary judgment is appropriate only where, viewing all the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and resolving all doubts as to the existence of issues of material fact against the moving party, the moving party is nevertheless entitled to ...