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JULIE LYONS v. NATIONWIDE INSURANCE COMPANY (12/28/89)

filed: December 28, 1989.

JULIE LYONS, APPELLANT,
v.
NATIONWIDE INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil at January Term, 1987 No. 3184.

COUNSEL

Stanley R. Krakower, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Richard B. Koelle, Swarthmore, for appellee.

Cavanaugh, Montemuro and Popovich, JJ.

Author: Montemuro

[ 390 Pa. Super. Page 26]

Appellant, Julie Lyons, appeals from an order entering judgment on the pleadings, Pa.R.C.P. 1034, in favor of Nationwide Insurance Company (Nationwide) on the basis that the action was commenced beyond the applicable limitations period.

Appellant raises two issues in her Brief on appeal:

(1) Whether the trial court erred in granting Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings on the ground that the applicable period of limitation in this case is only one year.

(2) Whether the trial court erred in holding that Defendant was in no way responsible for the delay in bringing suit where Defendant's policy language, set forth in the record, led Plaintiff to believe that she could rely on the four (4) year State limitation statute.

[ 390 Pa. Super. Page 27]

In reviewing an order granting judgment on the pleadings, we must limit our consideration to the facts set forth in the pleadings, such as the complaint, answer, reply to new matter and relevant documents,*fn1 and accept as true all of the well-pleaded allegations of the party against whom the motion is granted. Aughenbaugh v. North American Refractories, 426 Pa. 211, 231 A.2d 173 (1967); Keystone Automated Equipment Co., Inc. v. Reliance Insurance Co., 369 Pa. Super. 472, 535 A.2d 648 (1988) allocatur denied, 519 Pa. 654, 546 A.2d 59 (1988); Jones v. Travelers Page 27} Insurance Company, 356 Pa. Super. 213, 514 A.2d 576 (1986); Gallo v. J.C. Penney Casualty Insurance Co., 328 Pa. Super. 267, 476 A.2d 1322 (1984); Eberhart v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., 238 Pa. Super. 558, 362 A.2d 1094 (1976). Judgment on the pleadings is proper only when no material facts are in dispute. Groff v. Pete Kingsley, 374 Pa. Super. 377, 543 A.2d 128 (1988); Vogel v. Berkley, 354 Pa. Super. 291, 511 A.2d 878, 880 (1986), citing Dudash v. Palmyra Borough Authority, 335 Pa. Super. 1, 483 A.2d 924 (1984); Del Quadro v. City of Philadelphia, 293 Pa. Super. 173, 437 A.2d 1262 (1981). "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 pleading which should properly go to the jury. The decision will be affirmed only in cases which are clear and free from doubt." Groff, supra 374 Pa. Super. at 382, 543 A.2d at 130, quoting Vogel, supra 354 Pa. Super. at 296, 511 A.2d at 880. Judgment on the pleadings may be appropriate in cases which turn upon the interpretation of a written agreement. Vogel, supra 354 Pa. Super. at 296, 511 A.2d at 880; Gallo, supra 328 Pa. Super. at 270-71, 476 A.2d at 1324, quoting DiAndrea v. Reliance Savings and Loan Association, 310 Pa. Super. 537, 546, 456 A.2d 1066, 1070 (1983).

With these standards in mind, we turn to the case before us. The facts, as set forth in the pleadings and relevant documents, reveal the following. On January 25, 1983, appellant suffered loss of some of her personal property while moving to a new home. On January 21, 1987, approximately forty-eight (48) months after the loss, she initiated this action against Nationwide for recovery under an insurance policy issued by Nationwide for loss of personal property. The insurance policy contains a one-year limitation of action provision, which reads:

9. Suit. No suit or action on this policy for the recovery of any claim shall be sustainable in any court of law or equity unless all the requirements of this ...


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