R. F. Lafferty, Jr., Philadelphia, for appellant.
Samuel Englander, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Fine, JJ.
[ 166 Pa. Super. Page 316]
Joseph Palatucci, appellee, entered judgment on January 8, 1947, on a note in the amount of $1600.00 given by Lewis W. Woodland and Elizabeth M. Woodland, husband and wife. Lewis W. Woodland died on June 9, 1947. Execution issued on the judgment on March 4, 1949. On March 25, 1949, Elizabeth M. Woodland, appellant, filed her petition to open judgment averring that (1) she received no consideration for the execution of
[ 166 Pa. Super. Page 317]
the note, and (2) she signed the note under duress. An answer was filed denying the material averments of the petition and depositions were taken. After argument the court below discharged the rule to open judgment and this appeal followed.
The depositions disclose that Lewis W. Woodland borrowed $1600.00 from appellee, and gave him two checks therefor, one dated September 6, 1946, in the amount of $1000.00 and another check dated September 17, 1946, in the amount of $600.00. The checks were deposited for collection in the early part of October, 1946, and were returned dishonored because of insufficient funds. Upon the return of the checks so marked, appellee, on or about October 7, 1946, called at the Woodland home and exhibited the two checks to the appellant.
There is some disagreement as to what was said during the conversation in the Woodland home between the appellant and appellee. Appellant stated the appellee threatened that if she did not sign a judgment note in the amount of the two checks ($1600.00), he would have her husband arrested and prosecuted criminally for issuing bad checks; that she was compelled by this duress to execute the note. She testified: 'And then Mr. Palatucci told me that he had spoken to one of the officers at the bank about the checks being no good and about my husband issuing them. And he told me that my husband could be arrested and prosecuted for issuing the bad checks. And I asked him not to do anything because my husband was very sick in the hospital at that time and had had a heart attack, and I thought any other excitement would be very serious for him. So he told me that if my husband and I would sign a note he would give me back the two bad checks which he said my husband had given to him.' Appellee denied any threat was made. He testified: 'Q. Did you make any threats to Mrs. Woodland that you were going to have her husband arrested on account of these checks? A. No, sir.
[ 166 Pa. Super. Page 318]
I had no reason because I knew Mr. Woodland was a man of his word and if anything turned out and he would get back to work it would have been O.K. * * *'
Appellee further testified that as a result of his conversation with appellant it was mutually agreed she and her husband would execute a note covering the indebtedness of $1600.00, after the appellee prepared the note and mailed it to her. The evidence establishes that Mrs. Woodland did receive the note by mail and it was then taken by her to the hospital where both she and her husband signed it. Mrs. Woodland then mailed the sealed note to appellee on or ...