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LUTZ v. FOSTER & KESTER CO. (03/21/51)

March 21, 1951

LUTZ
v.
FOSTER & KESTER CO., INC. (ET AL., APPELLANT)



Appeal, No. 258, Jan. T., 1950, from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 7 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1949, No. 761, in case of Raymond H. Lutz, trading as Aero Reproductions of New England v. Foster & Kester Company, Incorporated and Bridgeport Brass Company. Order reversed.

COUNSEL

Francis L. Van Dusen, with him John S. Dawson and Barnes, Dechert, Price Myers & Clark, for Bridgeport Brass Company, defendant, appellant.

Abraham Wernick, for plaintiff, appellee.

Townsend Munson and Townsend, Elliott & Munson, for defendant, Foster & Kester Co., Inc.

Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Jones, Bell, Ladner and Chidsey, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 367 Pa. Page 126]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE JONES

The plaintiff instituted this action in assumpsit by the issuance of a summons without more. One of the defendants, the present appellant, being a foreign corporation, filed preliminary objections to the jurisdiction on the ground that it was not doing business in Pennsylvania and, therefore, was not amenable to service in a suit instituted against it in this State. The plaintiff filed an answer to the preliminary objections and a hearing was had in the court below. On the testimony adduced by deposition and certain exhibits offered

[ 367 Pa. Page 127]

    in evidence, the court made findings on the basis whereof it overruled the preliminary objections. From that order, the objecting defendant brought this appeal.

Whether a foreign corporation is subject to the jurisdiction of a Pennsylvania court depends upon whether it is doing business within the Commonwealth which rests fundamentally upon a conclusion of ultimate fact: New v. Robinson-Houchin Optical Company, 357 Pa. 47, 49, 53 A.2d 79; and Holliday v. Pacific Atlantic Steamship Corporation, 354 Pa. 271, 274, 47 A.2d 254. For present purposes, we necessarily accept as verity the facts found by the learned court below which are not here attacked and upon which the court predicated its legal conclusion that the appellant was doing business in Pennsylvania. The pertinent primary facts are, therefore, as follows:

"At the time of the service of process in this suit the defendant was occupying the same room under a lease dated April 15, 1948, which states that the room is to be used as 'A sales and executive office in connection with its (the defendant's) brass and manufacturing business.' The lease was executed by the defendant. The rent is paid by the defendant from its main office in Connecticut.

"The defendant's name appears on the office door and on the directory of the Broad Street Station Building. The telephone is listed in the defendant's name and the charges are paid by the defendant. The defendant also pays for the telegraph services used by the branch office. The office is occupied by six employees, including a district sales manager, three salesmen, and two stenographers. The office contains six desks, some chairs, twelve file cases and a bookcase. The file cases contain branch office copies of orders, invoices and correspondence. The ...


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