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ZK Result – Attorney Aaron Weiss Obtains Superior Court Affirmation of Judgment on the Pleadings

(Bedford, PA) (November 2020). In November of 2020, Zimmer Kunz attorney Aaron Weiss obtained Affirmation from the Pennsylvania Superior Court against Plaintiffs’ appeal of an award entering Judgment on the Pleadings on behalf of the Defendant for a motor vehicle accident where Plaintiffs had previously signed a release.

In November of 2017, Plaintiffs signed a full and final release of all claims arising out of a motor vehicle accident between plaintiff-husband and the defendant. However, plaintiffs then filed a civil action almost 2 years later for the same accident and the same injuries, arguing the release was invalid as it listed the defendant by first and middle name, as opposed to his last name.

Attorney Weiss argued at Judgment on the Pleadings that (1) the plain language of the release properly described the location and date of the accident, (2) the omission of part of a name did not alter the intent behind the written agreement, and (3) public policy supports enforcing the settlement of such claims. After oral argument before Judge Livengood on Defendant’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, the case was dismissed, with prejudice.

Plaintiffs then appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, which authored its November 30, 2020 decision affirming the dismissal. In its opinion, the Superior Court agreed that the release specifically referenced the date and location of the accident, which matched those alleged in Plaintiffs’ Complaint. The Court went so far as to suggest that Plaintiffs’ proposed interpretation of the Release, “i.e., that Plaintiffs had entered the Release for an accident, on the same date, near the same location, involving someone other than [Defendant], is absurd” and would not effectuate the intended result.