643 A.2d 771 (Comm. Ct. Pa. 1994)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Plaintiffs, passenger and driver of a vehicle that was struck by a truck, sought review of a judgment from the Common Pleas Court of Northumberland County (Pennsylvania), which granted summary judgment in favor of multiple defendants in a negligence action for injuries.
-A tractor-trailer jackknifed on the interstate in an attempt to avoid colliding with a vehicle during a rainstorm.
-As traffic began to backup, a power line fell and landed on two stopped vehicles.
-State troopers arrived on the scene to direct traffic, and power company employees began removing the power line.
-Two hours later, another tractor-trailer collided with a vehicle stopped in traffic from the first accident.
-Plaintiffs' vehicle was stopped behind the second accident.
-Plaintiffs' vehicle was struck from behind by a delivery truck and they were injured.
-Plaintiffs filed a negligence action against defendants, the drivers of all the vehicles involved, the state, and the power company.
-The trial court found that the passage of time between the accidents and plaintiffs' injuries was not continuous and active, that the delivery truck driver's negligence was the cause of the injuries and that the state was immune from liability.
-The court affirmed the summary judgment in favor of the state, but reversed the trial court order that granted summary judgment to the other defendants upon finding that the question of causation should have been decided by the trier of fact.
CONCLUSION: The court reversed the trial court's order that granted summary judgment in favor of multiple defendants that were involved in an accident because the issue of causation for plaintiffs' injuries should have been decided by the trier of fact. The court affirmed the trial court's order that granted summary judgment in favor of the state because it had sovereign immunity from negligence.
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