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Ans Associates, Inc., A v. Gotham Insurance Company

February 29, 2012

ANS ASSOCIATES, INC., A PENNSYLVANIA GENERAL PARTNERSHIP, AND MANZOOR CHUGTAI,
v.
GOTHAM INSURANCE COMPANY, MUTUAL MARINE OFFICE, INC., PREMIUM PAYMENT PLAN, EXCEL INSURANCE SERVICES, INC., VINTAGE INSURANCE GROUP, AND ERIK G. WILSON, PRESIDENT AND D/B/A VINTAGE INSURANCE GROUP, LLC APPEAL OF: PREMIUM PAYMENT PLAN



Appeal from the Order entered March 17, 2011, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil Division, at No.: November Term, 2008 No. 2084.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Strassburger, J.

J.A01034/12

BEFORE: PANELLA, LAZARUS, and STRASSBURGER,* JJ.

OPINION BY STRASSBURGER, J.:

Premium Payment Plan (PPP) appeals from the March 17, 2011 order denying its petition to strike the default judgment entered on September 2, 2010, against PPP, and in favor of ANS Associates, Inc. (ANS) and Manzoor Chugtai (Chugtai).*fn1 We reverse and remand.

The trial court summarized the history of this case as follows.

*Retired Senior Judge assigned to the Superior Court.

On November 14, 2008, [ANS] instituted this suit by filing a praecipe for writ of summons. Although the affidavit of service stated that the writ of summons had been sent by ordinary mail, it had a certified mail receipt attached as an exhibit. The receipt was not signed. [An] amended complaint was eventually filed on

May 15, 2009. The affidavit of service for the amended complaint states it was mailed ordinary mail, has no delivery receipt and is unsigned.

[PPP]... filed no answer or other response to the complaint. No attorney entered an appearance on its behalf prior to the petition at issue in this appeal. On September 2, 2010, a default judgment was entered against [PPP]. On November 22, 2010, damages of $313,807.54 were assessed against [PPP] and two co-defendants.

On January 14, 2011, [PPP] filed a petition to strike the default judgment, or alternatively to open the judgment and stay execution proceedings. ... On March 17, 2011, [the trial court]

denied those petitions and [PPP] timely appealed.

Trial Court Opinion (TCO), 7/27/2011, at 1-2.

PPP raises, inter alia, the following question for our review: "[w]hether the [trial c]court improperly denied [PPP's] ...


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