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LILLIAN M. ANDERSON AND CHARLES H. ANDERSON v. ERIE INSURANCE GROUP (05/17/89)

filed: May 17, 1989.

LILLIAN M. ANDERSON AND CHARLES H. ANDERSON, ADMINISTRATORS OF THE ESTATE OF ROSE MARIE ANDERSON, APPELLEES,
v.
THE ERIE INSURANCE GROUP, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, Civil at No. 87-06343.

COUNSEL

Margaret A. Wurzer, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Albert P. Massey, Jr., Paoli, for appellees.

Montemuro, Tamilia and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Montemuro

[ 384 Pa. Super. Page 389]

This is an appeal, timely filed by The Erie Insurance Group, from the July 12, 1988, Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, wherein the court granted appellees' motion for judgment on the pleadings. Appellees are Lillian M. Anderson and Charles H. Anderson, Administrators of the Estate of Rose Marie Anderson.*fn1 In Groff v. Pete Kingsley Building Inc., 374 Pa. Super. 377, 543 A.2d 128 (1988), this Court stated:

A trial court, in granting judgment on the pleadings, must confine its considerations to the pleadings and relevant documents properly before it. Del Quadro v. City of Philadelphia, 293 Pa. Super. 173, 437 A.2d 1262 (1981). Judgment on the pleadings is appropriate only when no material facts are in dispute. Vogel v. Berkley, 354 Pa. Super. 291, 511 A.2d 878 (1986). "In reviewing the court's decision, we must determine if the action of the court was based on a clear error of law or whether there were facts disclosed by the pleadings which should properly go to the jury. The decision will be affirmed only in cases which are clear and free from doubt." Id. at 296, 511 A.2d at 880 (citations omitted) . . . .

Id., 374 Pa. Superior Ct. at 382, 543 A.2d at 130. Following a careful review of the record before us and the arguments advanced by the parties, we affirm.

In August of 1987, appellees filed a petition for the appointment of an arbitrator. In this petition, appellees alleged that Rose Anderson had died as a result of injuries she sustained while occupying an automobile insured by

[ 384 Pa. Super. Page 390]

Erie. Appellees claimed that the fatal accident had been caused by the negligent acts of an uninsured motorist:

6. Plaintiffs and defendants have been unable to agree as to the amount of money to which plaintiffs are entitled under the Uninsured Motorist provisions of the [Erie] policy.

7. The [Erie] policy provides that if the parties are unable to agree as to the amount of money to which plaintiffs are entitled, either party may make a written demand for arbitration in which each party will select an Arbitrator and the two Arbitrators will select a third.

8. By letter dated the 24th day of March, 1987, petitioners counsel notified the Erie Insurance Group that they had chosen their arbitrator and requested that respondent do likewise.

9. As of the date of this petition, respondent has failed to appoint its arbitrator . . . .

R.R. at 49a.

Erie responded to the petition to compel arbitration by raising a number of issues which Erie believed prevented the trial court from ordering the parties to proceed to arbitration. Erie admitted that it had issued an insurance policy on a vehicle involved in the automobile accident which caused the death of Rose Anderson. However, Erie maintained that the entire insurance policy was null and void because of the alleged fraud or misrepresentation of the named insured, Betty Jean Tackett. Id. at 54a. Erie claimed that Betty Jean Tackett had secured the insurance policy in her name, to cover a 1984 Oldsmobile Firenza, but that this automobile was actually owned, garaged, maintained and operated by Robert Majors.

As a second issue, Erie claimed that, even if the insurance policy was not void, the Estate of Rose Marie Anderson could not recover under the policy because Rose Marie was not covered under the terms of Erie's insurance policy: she was not a named insured, a relative of the named insured, nor was she "occupying" the ...


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