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JAMES HACKENBERG v. SEPTA AND PENNSYLVANIA FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ASSIGNED CLAIMS PLAN AND TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY. APPEAL PENNSYLVANIA FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ASSIGNED CLAIMS PLAN AND TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY. JAMES HACKENBERG (05/03/89)

filed: May 3, 1989.

JAMES HACKENBERG
v.
SEPTA AND PENNSYLVANIA FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ASSIGNED CLAIMS PLAN AND TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY. APPEAL OF PENNSYLVANIA FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ASSIGNED CLAIMS PLAN AND TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY. JAMES HACKENBERG, APPELLANT, V. SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY AND PENNSYLVANIA FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ASSIGNED CLAIMS PLANS AND TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY



Appeal from the Order June 9, 1988 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil, No. 3241 December Term 1987. Appeal from the Order Entered June 9, 1988 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil No. 3241 December Term 1987.

COUNSEL

A. Richard Feldman, Philadelphia, for appellant (at 2033) and for PA Financial, appellee (at 2397).

Bruce G. Cassidy, Philadelphia, for Hackenberg, appellee (at 2033) and appellant (at 2397).

Alan C. Ostrow, Assistant City Solicitor, Philadelphia, amicus curiae.

Cirillo, President Judge, and Beck and Tamilia, JJ.

Author: Cirillo

[ 384 Pa. Super. Page 336]

This is an appeal from an order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County denying the Travelers Insurance Company's motion for summary judgment and granting the cross-motion for summary judgment filed by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). We affirm.

[ 384 Pa. Super. Page 337]

On January 13, 1986, appellant, James Hackenberg, a Philadelphia bus driver, was involved in an accident while driving a bus owned by his employer, SEPTA. The bus was hit in the rear by an uninsured motorist. SEPTA was at that time, and continues to be today, self-insured as to motor vehicle liability. As a result of the mishap, Hackenberg allegedly sustained serious injuries, for which he received workmen's compensation benefits.

On December 22, 1987, Hackenberg instituted a civil action against SEPTA, the Pennsylvania Financial Responsibility Assigned Claims Plan (Plan), and the Plan's assigned carrier, Travelers Insurance Company (Travelers). Hackenberg sought uninsured motorist benefits under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law, 75 Pa.C.S. §§ 1701-1798 (Financial Responsibility Law). Both SEPTA and Travelers denied liability for Hackenberg's damages, and on April 13, 1988, Travelers and the Plan (collectively referred to as Travelers) filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging, inter alia, that SEPTA was solely liable to Hackenberg. SEPTA filed a response to Travelers' motion, as well as a cross-motion for summary judgment on its own behalf. Essentially, SEPTA asserted that section 303(a) of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 77 P.S. § 481(a), immunized SEPTA from any liability to Hackenberg other than workmen's compensation benefits.

On June 9, 1988, the Honorable Ethan Allen Doty granted SEPTA's cross-motion for summary judgment, and dismissed all claims against it. Judge Doty found, pursuant to our supreme court's recent pronouncement in Lewis v. School District of Philadelphia, 517 Pa. 461, 538 A.2d 862 (1988), that SEPTA was immune from liability for uninsured motorist benefits as a matter of law. Furthermore, since Hackenberg did not maintain private liability insurance coverage, Judge Doty reasoned that Travelers, as the assigned carrier under the Plan, would be the proper obligor for uninsured motorists benefits under the Financial Responsibility Law. Accordingly, Judge Doty denied Travelers' motion for summary judgment. This appeal followed.

[ 384 Pa. Super. Page 338]

The sole issue advanced for our review is whether an employee, who is injured in a motor vehicle accident in the scope of his employment, can be properly excluded from receiving uninsured motorist benefits from his self-insured employer by virtue of section 303(a) of the Workmen's Compensation Act.

Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1035(b) provides, in pertinent part, that on a motion for summary judgment,

[t]he judgment sought shall be rendered if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.

Pa.R.C.P. 1035(b); Dume v. Elkcom Co., 368 Pa. Super. 280, 533 A.2d 1063 (1987) alloc. den. 549 A.2d 915 (1988). When reviewing a trial court's imposition of summary judgment, we have stated:

Summary judgment is made available by Pa.R.C.P. 1035 when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions on file and supporting affidavits considered together reveal no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. To determine the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, we must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and any doubts must be resolved against the entry of judgment. In so doing, we accept as true all well-pleaded facts in appellant's pleadings and give appellant the ...


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