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MILTON L. METZEL v. STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY (10/05/89)

filed: October 5, 1989.

MILTON L. METZEL, INDIVIDUALLY AND RAE JEAN METZEL, INDIVIDUALLY AND MILTON L. METZEL AND RAE JEAN METZEL, PARENTS AND NATURAL GUARDIANS OF ALICIA METZEL, A MINOR, APPELLANTS,
v.
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLEE



Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of York County, No. 84 S 1573.

COUNSEL

Kenneth J. Sparler, York, for appellants.

George F. Douglas, Jr., Carlisle, for appellee.

Wieand, McEwen and Olszewski, JJ. Olszewski, J., files a dissenting opinion.

Author: Wieand

[ 389 Pa. Super. Page 31]

The issue in this appeal is whether occupants of a Winnebago motor home are entitled to be paid benefits under the

[ 389 Pa. Super. Page 32]

Pennsylvania No-fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act*fn1 for injuries sustained as a result of an explosion which occurred while the vehicle was being used for lodging purposes. The trial court held that no such benefits could be recovered and entered summary judgment in favor of the no-fault insurance carrier. We affirm.

On December 26, 1983, Milton and Rae Jean Metzel, together with their daughter, Alicia, left their home in York, Pennsylvania, for a winter vacation in Florida. They stopped and parked their Winnebago motor home that night in Santee, South Carolina. At or about 2:30 a.m. on the following morning, Milton Metzel was awakened by a pounding noise in the side of the motor home. When he reached to adjust the thermostat, an explosion occurred which blew out the sides of the motor home and caused burns to the three members of the Metzel family. The explosion, it was subsequently determined, had been caused by a malfunction of the regulator valve in the motor home's propane system.

The insurer of the Metzel vehicle was State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm), which had issued a policy in accordance with the Pennsylvania No-fault Act. State Farm denied liability for no-fault benefits, asserting that at the time of the explosion the Winnebago was being used as a place of lodging and not as a vehicle for purposes of transportation. When the Metzels filed suit to recover no-fault benefits, State Farm filed a motion for summary judgment. Thereafter, the Metzels also moved for summary judgment, and the parties entered a stipulation of the facts relevant to a decision of the case.

Summary judgment is appropriate where it is clear that there remain no genuine issues of fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Pa.R.C.P. 1035(b). In the instant case, the facts are not in dispute,

[ 389 Pa. Super. Page 33]

    and the only issue is whether, under the circumstances, appellants are entitled ...


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