Appeal, No. 228, Jan. T., 1950, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 4 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1949, No. 5029, in case of Frank Blum et ux. v. William Goldman. Judgment affirmed.
David H. H. Felix, with him Felix & Felix, for appellants.
Joseph S. Clark, Jr., with him Arthur E. Newbold, 3rd and Barnes, Dechert, Price, Myers & Clark, for appellee.
Before Drew, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Ladner and Chidsey, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE CHIDSEY
Frank Blum and Sara J. Blum, appellants, instituted this action in trespass against William Goldman, appellee, to recover damages for malicious inducement to breach a contract for the sale of real estate. Two previous cases had been instituted by the present appellants against William Goldman Theatres, Inc., based upon the same transaction which gave rise to the present case, and in which William Goldman was named as president, principal stockholder and agent. The instant complaint pleaded the earlier litigation and incorporated the record thereof by reference. Goldman filed a responsive answer and under the heading of new matter pleaded the additional litigation and further alleged that by reason of such prior litigation the matter before the court was res judicata. Appellants, in their reply to new matter, denied that the doctrine of res judicata applied. Goldman's motion for judgment on the pleadings was granted. This appeal followed.
The instant complaint averred that William Goldman Theatres, Inc., a Delaware corporation, having its principal place of business in Philadelphia, is engaged in the business of exhibiting motion pictures; that William Goldman is president and controlling stockholder of said corporation; that on December 14, 1945, appellants, through a straw party, entered into a written agreement with the owners of property known as Killegarry Apartments and Sixty-Ninth Street Theatre Building for purchase and sale thereof; that the purchase price was $50,000, under and subject to a very large mortgage; that settlement was to be made on or before March 14, 1946; that the straw party thereafter assigned all her right, title and interest in said agreement to appellants; that appellee in his individual capacity and acting as president and controlling
stockholder of William Goldman Theatres, Inc., and will full knowledge of the December 14, 1945 agreement, did on December 15, 1945, without reasonable or legal justification, maliciously and with the intent of inducing a breach of the existing agreement, offer a higher sum of money to the owners; that subsequent offers were made with the same intent, that by reason of such offers the owners refused to effect settlement with appellants, and on January 10, 1946, conveyed the real estate to William Goldman Theatres, Inc., that on January 15, 1946 appellants instituted suit against William Goldman Theatres, Inc., in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; that a decree was entered directing a reconveyance of real estate to appellants, assignment of leases, an accounting of gains and profits, and damages fixed at $5,356.48; that said item of damages included a counsel fee of $5,000 (see Blum et al. v. William Goldman Theatres, Inc., 69 F. Supp. 468); that on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit the decree was modified by the elimination of the award of $5,000 counsel fees (164 F. 2d 192); and that as a result of the foregoing, appellants sustained damages and will sustain damages and great expense in establishing their legal rights.
Goldman's answer made denials of the material averments and under new matter averred the subsequent action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; that in the second action damages were requested in the sum of $50,000, the complaint containing averments substantially identical with those in the prior complaint; that on March 5, 1948, defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim was sustained; that on May 3, 1949, this decision was affirmed by the Circuit Court of Appeals (174 F. 2d 914); that the judgments in
both civil actions have been marked satisfied of record; and, that, by reason of the foregoing, the issues raised in the instant complaint have been ...