Appeal from the Judgment Entered of December 19, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Civil Division at No.: March Term, 2012, 1370
BEFORE: SHOGAN, J., WECHT, J., and COLVILLE, J.[*]
Barisha Dill ("Appellant") appeals from the trial court's December 19, 2012 order. That order affirmed an arbitration panel's unanimous decision in favor of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company ("State Farm"). Because we find that Appellant has waived both of the claims that she raises in this appeal, we affirm.
On March 14, 2003, Appellant, who was eleven years-old at the time, was being driven to school by George Foster ("Foster"). On the way to school, Foster's vehicle was struck by a vehicle being operated by Melissa Marshall ("Marshall"). Appellant was injured in the accident. The learned trial court detailed the procedural events that followed the accident as follows:
On March 5, 2005, [Appellant] filed a negligence action against [Marshall, ] the other driver involved in the accident. After suit was commenced, the carrier for [Marshall] referred the case to Attorney Kevin McNulty (McNulty). McNulty entered his appearance and filed an answer on April 8, 2005. On April 27, 2005, McNulty withdrew his appearance and Daniel Lewbart, Esquire entered his appearance. Thereafter, neither McNulty nor any attorney in his office had further involvement in the third party action. Attorney Lewbart defended [Marshall] in that case. In 2008, the negligence action settled in [Appellant's] favor for the policy limits. Other than the brief period after the referral and before the transfer, McNulty claimed he never worked on the case and had no recollection of the matter.
Following the resolution of the third party claim, [Appellant] filed an underinsured claim (UIM) against the insurance carrier for the car in which she was a passenger, [State Farm]. Per the terms of the applicable insurance policy, the matter proceeded to arbitration. The arbitration panel consisted of the following members: Alan Feldman, Esquire, appointed by [Appellant's counsel]; [and] Kevin McNulty, Esquire, appointed by State Farm. The parties could not agree to a third neutral arbitrator. On April 12, 2012, Judge John W. Heron appointed Craig Lord, Esquire, [as] the neutral arbitrator. Following a hearing, the arbitration panel rendered a unanimous award in favor of State Farm. [Appellant] filed this Motion to Strike and/or Set Aside Arbitrator's Award, asserting that she did not receive a fair hearing because of McNulty's prior involvement in the third party matter. Upon review of the briefs and after oral argument, [the trial court] denied [Appellant's] motion.
Trial Court Opinion ("T.C.O."), 3/7/2013, at 1-2 (footnote omitted; punctuation modified).
Although judgment had not yet been entered, Appellant filed a notice of appeal on October 31, 2012. By a December 6, 2012 order, this Court directed Appellant to praecipe the trial court to enter judgment. Upon praecipe, the trial court entered judgment on December 19, 2012. The trial court did not direct Appellant to file a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b), and no statement was filed. Nonetheless, on March 7, 2013, the trial court filed an opinion pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a).
Appellant raises two issues for our consideration:
1. Whether the trial court erred in dismissing Appellant's petition to strike the award entered with regard to the arbitration of her underinsured motorist claim where the defense arbitrator had previously served as counsel for the tortfeasor in a related 3rd party litigation?
2. Whether the trial court erred in dismissing Appellant's petition to strike the award entered with regard to the arbitration of her underinsured motorist claim where the arbitrators considered inadmissible evidence of collateral source ...