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ANDERSON v. MURDOCH STORAGE & TRANSFER COMPANY (05/27/52)

May 27, 1952

ANDERSON, APPELLANT,
v.
MURDOCH STORAGE & TRANSFER COMPANY, INC.



Appeal, No. 108, March T., 1952, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Jan. T., 1947, No. 290, in case of Clarence F. Anderson v. Murdoch Storage & Transfer Co., Inc. et al. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Louis Vaira, with him Paul N. Barna, for appellant.

James Milholland, with him Richard W. Harman and Alter, Wright & Barron, for appellees.

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

Author: Bell

[ 371 Pa. Page 213]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL

Plaintiff brought an action in assumpsit for loss of household goods stored by defendants in the warehouse

[ 371 Pa. Page 214]

    of the defendant corporation. Plaintiff not only proved the storage of his goods and the demand for their return, but also the destruction thereof by fire. The Court below entered a non-suit which the Court en banc refused to remove.

The most important question is whether certain testimony of plaintiff's wife, which induced the written contract, and concerned a provision covered therein, was admissible. The pertinent facts are as follows: The individual defendants, David V. Murdoch and Edward A. Murdoch, trading and doing business as Murdoch Storage and Transfer Co., are in the Haulage and Transportation business only, and therefore there is no complaint as to the judgment of non-suit as to them.

The corporate defendant, Murdoch Storage and Transfer Co., Inc., was on, and before, February 1944, engaged in the business of warehousemen, having warehouses and facilities at No. 546 Neville Street, Pittsburgh, and No. 900 Penn Avenue, Wilkinsburg, Allegheny County.

The complaint averred that on February 29, 1944, a storage order and agreement was issued, and delivered to plaintiff covering the storage of his goods. A copy of this and of the corporate defendant's warehouse receipt and contract, also dated February 29, 1944, were attached to the complaint. The complaint further alleged that at the time the storage order was issued, one of the individual defendants, Edward A. Murdoch, stated to the wife of the plaintiff that the furniture and goods would be stored in a separate fireproof room at No. 546 Neville Street, Pittsburgh, and that insurance would be carried by the individual defendants and there would be no need for plaintiff to carry insurance on the furniture. There was no testimony offered at the trial to prove Murdoch promised that the individual

[ 371 Pa. Page 215]

    defendants would carry insurance on this furniture and it was therefore presumably abandoned.

Complaint further alleged that the plaintiff's goods were placed in the corporate defendant's warehouse at No. 900 Penn Avenue, Wilkinsburg, which was not fireproof, and that the goods were not placed in a separate fireproof room, but allowed to remain in a large room with goods of other customers. Complainant also alleged and proved that on October 24, 1944, this warehouse at No. 900 Penn Avenue, Wilkinsburg, was completely destroyed by fire as was also the plaintiff's goods and all other goods in the warehouse, and consequently it is ...


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