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04/21/97 ROBERT SWARTZ v. UNION MUTUAL INSURANCE

April 21, 1997

ROBERT SWARTZ
v.
UNION MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY OF WESTMORELAND COUNTY, LOUIS TROUT AND SARAH TROUT; APPEAL OF: UNION MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY OF WESTMORELAND COUNTY



Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court at No. 2158PGH95 entered June 3, 1996, reversing the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Civil Division, entered October 30, 1995 at No. 10487 of 1994. Composition OF The Court: Mr. Chief Justice John P. Flaherty, Zappala, Cappy, Castille, Nigro, Newman, JJ. Opinion BY Chief Justice Flaherty

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Flaherty

OPINION OF THE COURT

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE FLAHERTY

DECIDED: April 21, 1997

Louis and Sarah Trout owned a forty acre farm on which they kept a 1965 model pickup truck. The truck was not registered and it had not been used on the highway since 1976. On July 28, 1993, Robert Swartz, a visitor at the Trout farm, was injured when the truck lunged forward while Louis Trout, who was working on the truck, attempted to start it.

The Trouts were insured by Union Mutual under a homeowners' policy. The policy provides:

5. Motorized Vehicles - We pay for the bodily injury or the property damage which:

a. occurs on the insured premises and is a result of the ownership, maintenance, use, loading or unloading of:

1) a motorized vehicle if it is not subject to motor vehicle registration because of its type or use;

Acting through his attorneys, Mr. Swartz made a claim against Union Mutual for the injuries he sustained. Union Mutual refused to pay the claim, asserting that the truck which injured Mr. Swartz was not covered under the terms of the policy because it was subject to registration. Union Mutual argued that even though the truck was not registered, it was subject to registration under 75 Pa.C.S. § 1302(10)(ii), which requires a biennial certificate of exemption. It is undisputed that the Trouts did not apply for this certificate of exemption. Section 1302 provides, in pertinent part:

§ 1302. Vehicles exempt from registration

The following types of vehicles are exempt from registration:

(10) Any farm truck used exclusively upon a farm or farms owned or operated by the ...


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