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IN RE ONE MERIDIAN PLAZA FIRE LITIG.

April 15, 1993

IN RE: ONE MERIDIAN PLAZA FIRE LITIGATION


The opinion of the court was delivered by: BY THE COURT; RONALD L. BUCKWALTER

 BUCKWALTER, J. April 15, 1993

 I. Introduction

 This case is one of many which arose as a result of a fire at One Meridian Plaza which began on February 23, 1991. Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (hereinafter "UL") is a third-party defendant in this case, having been impleaded by a group of defendants collectively referred to as the E/R Defendants *fn1" pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 19. UL moves to dismiss the third-party complaint in this action and in several other actions where the procedural posture is the same. *fn2"

 II. Facts

 The background of this case has previously been reported in a memorandum and order dated April 14, 1993, ruling on motions to dismiss filed by the defendants in this action.

 The gravamen of E/R Associates' defendants' Third Party Complaints against UL is that is that UL negligently certified the Giacomini A202 PRV's as being in compliance with UL's own standard, when in fact the PRV's did not meet such standard, and that this negligent certification caused and allowed these unsafe PRV's to be installed in One Meridian Plaza and contributed to the spread of the fire. See E/R Associates' Memorandum at 5, n. 4. It is UL's position that the third-party complaint should be dismissed because 1) it fails to establish derivative liability as required by Fed R. Civ. P. 14; 2) it fails to state a cause of action under Pennsylvania law; 3) the allegations do not establish a substantive right to indemnification under Pennsylvania law; and 4) the allegations do not establish a claim among joint tortfeasors for which relief can be granted under the Pennsylvania Contribution Among Tort-Feasors Act, 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. ยง 8321, et seq.

 III. Standard of Review

 A complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957); Rocks v. Philadelphia, 868 F.2d 644, 645 (3d Cir. 1989). All well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint must be taken as true. Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 322, 31 L. Ed. 2d 263, 92 S. Ct. 1079 (1972); Rocks, 868 F.2d at 645. The court must draw all reasonable inferences from the allegations and view them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Rocks, 868 F.2d at 645.

 IV. Discussion

 Rule 14 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states, in pertinent part:

 
(a) When Defendant May Bring in Third Party. At any time after commencement of the action a defending party, as a third-party plaintiff, may cause a summons and complaint to be served upon a person not a party to the action who is or may be liable to the third-party plaintiff for all or part of the plaintiff's claim against the third-party plaintiff. . . .

 The crucial characteristic of a Rule 14 third-party claim is that the original defendant is attempting to transfer to the third-party defendant all or part of the liability asserted against him by the original plaintiff. Where, as here, state substantive law recognizes a right of contribution and/or indemnity, impleader under Rule 14 is the proper procedure by which to assert such claims. See Smith v. Whitmore, 270 F.2d 741 (3d Cir. 1959); Pennine Resources, Inc. v. Dorwart Andrew & Company, 639 F. Supp. 1071 (E.D. Pa. 1986). A third-party complaint may not set forth a claim that the third party ...


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