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WALACAVAGE v. WALACAVAGE (01/12/51)

January 12, 1951

WALACAVAGE
v.
WALACAVAGE



COUNSEL

W. J. Krencewicz, Shenandoah, for appellant.

No Book of Appearance for Appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.

Author: Gunther

[ 168 Pa. Super. Page 335]

GUNTHER, Judge.

This appeal is from the dissolution of a preliminary injunction and from the dismissal of plaintiff's bill before answer was filed. Helen Walacavage, appellant, filed a bill in equity seeking to restrain defendant from transferring a certificate of title to a 1936 DeSoto sedan, and praying for a return of said certificate together with possession of said vehicle. The court below dismissed the bill and this appeal followed.

Appellant's bill in equity recited, inter alia, that on April 26, 1941, she purchased a 1936 DeSoto sedan the title to which was taken in the name of the defendant, her son, as trustee for appellant; that defendant

[ 168 Pa. Super. Page 336]

    paid no consideration for the purchase; that neither the certificate of title nor possession of the vehicle was ever given to defendant; that defendant, without the knowledge or consent of appellant, removed the certificate and the car from appellant's home and has, upon request, refused to return the certificate or the car to her. A preliminary injunction was granted; subsequently the defendant filed a motion to dissolve the injunction and dismiss the bill on the ground that appellant had an adequate remedy at law. A hearing was held on February 21, 1949, and on September 12, 1949, the chancellor filed two opinions (1) refusing defendant's motion to dismiss on the ground assigned; but (2) dismissing the bill and dissolving the preliminary injunction on the ground that appellant had not come into court with 'clean hands'. The chancellor made no findings of fact or conclusions of law in support of his action in dismissing the bill. Plaintiff filed exceptions to the decree dismissing her bill; the matter was heard before the court en banc and after argument the court affirmed the actions of the chancellor dismissing the bill.

Appellant urges that the court below committed error in dismissing her bill by applying the doctrine of unclean hands; that the doctrine of 'unclean hands' has no application for the reason that any alleged misconduct does not in anywise relate to the transaction or subject matter before the court. Appellant's complaint is meritorious; the decree will be reversed.

The dismissal of the bill by the court below after hearing appellant's testimony has the effect of a non-suit at law: Gordon v. Gordon, 277 Pa. 53, 55, 120 A. 709; Bastian v. City of Philadelphia, 180 Pa. 227, 36 A. 746; Equity Rule No. 66, 12 P.S. § 1221. Being summary in character, every doubt must be resolved against the entry of such a decree. The evidence produced must be considered in a

[ 168 Pa. Super. Page 337]

    light most favorable to the plaintiff. Gordon v. Gordon, supra. So considering the testimony, the present record does not disclose such a clear case ...


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