Appeal from the Order Entered November 1, 2010 in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County Civil Division at No(s): 07-23044
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mundy, J.:
BEFORE: MUSMANNO, MUNDY, AND FITZGERALD,*fn1 JJ.
Appellant, Delissa Wilson, appeals from the November 1, 2010 order granting summary judgment in favor of Appellee, PECO Energy Company (PECO).*fn2 Because we find issues of material fact exist which preclude the entry of summary judgment, we reverse and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
The relevant facts and procedural history of this case, as summarized by a prior panel of this Court, are as follows.
In November 2005, a vehicle driven by Mark Chiapetta ("Chiapetta") struck [Appellant] at the intersection of Trooper Road and Betzwood Drive in West Norriton, Montgomery County, as she attempted to reach a SEPTA*fn3 bus stop. [Appellant]
subsequently filed two lawsuits, both sounding in negligence. [Appellant] first filed suit against Chiapetta, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation ("PENNDOT"), and West Norriton Township. [Appellant] then filed a separate suit against PECO and its corporate parent Exelon Corporation ("Exelon"). PECO owned and maintained the streetlight at the intersection in question, and [Appellant] alleged that the streetlight did not adequately illuminate the entire roadway.
On June 5, 2008, the trial court entered an order consolidating the two cases "for all purposes including discovery and trial." On December 8, 2008, PECO filed a motion for leave to join SEPTA as an additional defendant, which the trial court granted on January 21, 2009. On March 20, 2009, SEPTA filed an answer and new matter to PECO's joinder complaint, and on April 25, 2009 PECO filed a reply to new matter. On March 16, 2010, SEPTA filed a motion to amend its answer and new matter, which the trial court subsequently granted.
On June 4, 2010, PECO filed a motion for summary judgment seeking the dismissal of all claims in [Appellant's] complaint. After oral argument, on November 1, 2010, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of PECO.
[Appellant] filed a Notice of Appeal later that same day. In accordance with the trial court's order to do so, on November 16, 2010 [Appellant] filed a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) concise statement of matters complained of on appeal. On December 16, 2010, all parties agreed to a stipulation of dismissal of Exelon. On December 23, 2010, the trial court filed a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a) written opinion in support of its grant of summary judgment in favor of PECO.
Wilson, D. v. PECO, 34 A.3d 231 (Pa. Super. 2011) (unpublished memorandum) (footnote in original).
Thereafter, on September 19, 2011, this Court determined that "[t]he trial court's November 1, 2010 order ... did not dispose of all claims against all parties," as SEPTA was still a party to this litigation, and quashed Appellant's appeal as interlocutory. Id. On November 18, 2011, the trial court granted SEPTA's "Revised Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings," and dismissed all claims against it. This timely appeal followed on December 16, 2011.*fn4 Pursuant to the trial court's directive, Appellant filed a timely concise statement of matters complained of on appeal in accordance with Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) on December 28, 2011. In lieu of filing a formal Rule 1925(a) opinion, the trial court indicated on January 6, 2012 that it was relying on its reasoning as set forth in its prior December 22, 2010 opinion.*fn5
On appeal, Appellant raises the following issues for our review.
1. Did the [t]rial [c]court err in finding that
Appellee PECO's duty to "maintain" the streetlights in West Norriton Township was satisfied by providing electricity and changing light bulbs every four years?
2. Did the [t]rial [c]court err in finding that Appellee PECO was entitled to Judgment as a Matter of Law where the undisputed facts are:
A. PECO owned the streetlights at this intersection;
B. PECO assumed the duty to "maintain"
the streetlights at this intersection;
C. The streetlight at this intersection was an
"old regular house type bulb, that was installed when the roadway was two lanes" and "did little or nothing to light the area;"
D. The streetlight at this intersection did not provide adequate lighting at the scene of this accident because it was "antiquated" and was placed at this location in July of 1970, when the roadway was a two-lane roadway;
E. The streetlight in question was on an arm that extended just over the curb lane and not toward the middle of the highway, and it did not "handle the complete roadway" at this location;
F. PECO failed to update or modernize this streetlight for 30 years, even though the road doubled in width and the traffic volume increased and pedestrians regularly crossed at this intersection;
G. PECO failed to update and modernize street lighting on this roadway with new technology lights that would have made the intersection safe for the activities for which it was regularly used;
H. The streetlights at this intersection on the evening of the accident were not safe for pedestrians attempting to cross Trooper Road.
Appellant's Brief at 4. For the purposes of our review, we have elected to address Appellant's claims simultaneously.
In reviewing a trial court's grant of summary judgment, we are guided by the following ...