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Zurich American Ins. Co. of Illinois v. Budzowski

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

June 30, 2014

ZURICH AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY OF ILLINOIS, A ZURICH NORTH AMERICA INSURANCE COMPANY
v.
THOMAS W. BUDZOWSKI, INDIVIDUALLY, AND THOMAS W. BUDZOWSKI, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF GLORIA J. BUDZOWSKI, DECEASED, MARK PALMER, INDIVIDUALLY, AND MARK PALMER, EXECUTOR OF THE ESTATE OF SANDRA PALMER, DECEASED, DAVID R. DICKENS, EILEEN M. DICKENS, MATTHEW S. DICKENS, ROBERT L. BARRON, JOYCE A. BARRON, ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, TRAVELERS INDEMNITY COMPANY, STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, CIGNA GROUP, CHURCH MUTUAL INSURANCE, SLIPSTREAM EXPEDITED SERVICES, INC., EWA W. EHRLICH A/K/A EWA Z. ERLICH A/K/A EWA WYPCHAL, STANISLAW J. ZYGMONT, and S.E. LOGISTICS, INC. APPEAL OF: THOMAS W. BUDZOWSKI, INDIVIDUALLY, AND THOMAS W. BUDZOWSKI, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF GLORIA J. BUDZOWSKI, DECEASED, MARK PALMER, INDIVIDUALLY, AND MARK PALMER, EXECUTOR OF THE ESTATE OF SANDRA PALMER, DECEASED, DAVID R. DICKENS, EILEEN M. DICKENS

Argued May 14, 2014.

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Dauphin County, Civil Division, No(s): 2011-CV-04193-CV. Before BRATTON, J.

Joseph A. Cullen, Yardley and Joshua A. Reed, Harrisburg, for appellants.

Clinton E. Creasy, Philadelphia, for Conoco, appellee.

Michael F. Schleigh, King of Prussia, for Slipstream, appellee.

BEFORE: FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E., OLSON and STRASSBURGER,[*] JJ.

OPINION

STRASSBURGER, J.:

Thomas W. Budzowski, Individually and as the Administrator of the Estate of Gloria J. Budzowski, deceased; Mark Palmer, Individually and as the Executor of the

Page 340

Estate of Sandra Palmer, deceased; David R. Dickens; and Eileen Dickens (collectively Appellants) appeal from the July 18, 2013 order granting the motion of Slipstream Expedited Services, Inc. (Slipstream) to coordinate in Dauphin County, filed pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 213.1. We reverse and remand for further proceedings.

The trial court summarized the background underlying this matter as follows.

By Order dated July 18, 2013, [the trial court] granted the request of [Slipstream] to coordinate the above-captioned interpleader action (hereinafter, the " Interpleader Action" ) with that of a later-filed Philadelphia County wrongful death/survival/personal injury action [(Personal Injury Action)]. More specifically, Slipstream sought to transfer the [Personal Injury] Action to Dauphin County and to consolidate it with the Interpleader Action. On April 18, 2013, [Appellants] filed a Response to Slipstream's Motion. Oral argument was heard on June 26, 2013.
This case arose from a multi-vehicle accident which occurred in Lower Swatara Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, on or about April 23, 2010. Stanislaw Zygmont (hereinafter, " Zygmont" ), the driver of a box truck traveling on Route 283, struck a Plymouth Voyager van being operated by Gloria J. Budzowski. The Plymouth Voyager became entangled with the box truck and struck a third vehicle, a Toyota Camry, owned and being operated by David R. Dickens, and in which Eileen M. Dickens and Matthew S. Dickens were riding as passengers. The Toyota Camry then struck a Mercury Milan owned and being operated by Robert L. Barron. Joyce A. Barron was riding as a passenger in the Mercury Milan. Gloria J. Budzowski and her passenger, Sandra Palmer, were killed in the multi-vehicle accident.
On April 22, 2011, Plaintiff Zurich American Insurance Company of Illinois, a Zurich North American Insurance Company (hereinafter, " Zurich" ), the trucking liability insurance carrier for Defendants S.E. Logistics, Inc., the owner of the above-mentioned box truck, and Zygmont, filed an Interpleader Complaint seeking to pay into the court the policy limits, in the amount of $1,000,000, stemming ...

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