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LAWTON ET UX. v. DEANGELO (08/22/51)

August 22, 1951

LAWTON ET UX.
v.
DEANGELO



COUNSEL

William Taylor, Jr., and Holl, Taylor & Holl, all of Media, for appellant.

Guy G. DeFuria, Chester, for appellee.

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

Author: Ross

[ 169 Pa. Super. Page 381]

ROSS, Judge.

This is an action of assumpsit brought by J. Edward Lawton and Jennie R. Lawton, his wife, lessors of a stone quarry under the terms of a written lease, for the recovery from defendant-lessee of rent which they allege is owing to them under the terms of the lease.

Defendant's answer was one of confession and avoidance. He admitted execution of the lease and his possession of the quarry under it, then interposed the affirmative defense of acceptance by the lessors of his oral surrender of the lease.

A trial in the court below resulted in a jury verdict in favor of defendant. Plaintiffs' motion for judgment n. o. v. having been dismissed, they have appealed to this Court.

Plaintiff-appellants, on August 16, 1947, leased to defendant, for a term of one year, at a stipulated

[ 169 Pa. Super. Page 382]

    monthly rental, a quarry in Springfield Township, Delaware County, located at a distance of about 300 feet from the water works of the Philadelphia Suburban Water Company, which quarry they owned as tenants by entireties. After defendant had been in possession of the premises for a month, the heavy detonation of dynamite in connection with blasting operations seemed to threaten damage to the equipment of the water company nearby, and the latter appealed to the district attorney of Delaware County to intercede. A conference was held in the district attorney's office on September 18, 1947, at which both parties to this litigation, the assistant district attorney, and representatives of the water company were present. The assistant district attorney testified that, after discussion of the problem, he 'told them [the parties] there could be no further operation of the quarry which would endanger the entire water supply of eastern Delaware County'. Defendant then discontinued operations, and plaintiffs seek to hold him liable for $820, representing the unpaid rent for ten months under the terms of the lease.

An estate in lands for a term not exceeding three years, created by a written lease, may be released by a parol agreement to rescind the lease, Whelen v. Laird, 56 Pa. Super. 489, and the Statute of Frauds in Pennsylvania 33 P.S. ยง 1, does not preclude an implication of such surrender.

In the surrender of a lease, as in any contract, the intention of the parties governs. The sole issue in this case is whether or not there was evidence of an intention on the part of the lessors to accept the lessee's surrender of the lease. This was a question of fact to be determined by the jury from the evidence adduced at the ...


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