Friday, October 25, 2013

Judge Williamson of Monroe County Construes Parameters of a Release in MVA Case

In the Monroe County case of Hertzog v. Stafford, LLC, PICS Case No. 13-2524 (C.P. Monroe Co. July 10, 2013 Williamson, J.), Judge David J. Williamson of the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas ruled that a Plaintiff’s execution of a Release of “any and all claims” in favor of Enterprise Rental Company did not apply to claims that the Plaintiff raised against a Co-Defendant tortfeasor who was driving one of the Enterprise’s company cars when that Co-Defendant rear-ended the Plaintiff. 

According to a summary of the Opinion, the Co-Defendant driver tortfeasor filed Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that the claims against her were barred as the Plaintiff had signed a Release of “any and all claims” against Enterprise and “other persons” arising from the accident.  

Judge David J. Williamson
Monroe County
Judge Williamson rejected the Defendant’s argument and, citing Charles v. Giant Eagle Markets, 522 A.2d 1 (Pa. Super. 1987), reasoned that, generally speaking, unless a Release states otherwise, a Release of one tortfeasor does not serve to discharge other tortfeasors.  

The Court in this matter read the phrase “other persons” as referring to other persons within the employment of the Enterprise Rental Car Company, which the Co-Defendant driver was not.   The trial court also further pointed out that the phrase “other persons” was modified by the language “of and from” as contained in the Release and referring to Enterprise.  

As such, the court denied that Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment based upon the Release signed by the Plaintiff.

Anyone desiring a copy of this Opinion may contact the Instant Case Service of the Pennsylvania Law Weekly at 1-800-276-7427, providing the above PICS Case No. and pay a small fee.  

Source:  Digest of Recent Opinions.”  The Pennsylvania Law Weekly (October 8, 2013).

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