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WITT v. CRAWFORD (01/20/53)

SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


January 20, 1953

WITT
v.
CRAWFORD

COUNSEL

Samuel M. Rosenzweig, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Clyde P. Bailey, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

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

Author: Gunther

[ 173 Pa. Super. Page 99]

GUNTHER, Judge.

Appellee purchased a used Buick from appellant, a used car dealer, upon assurance by appellant's salesman that it was a 1948 model. Appellee, upon discovering the car was a 1947 Buick, sued in assumpsit for the difference in value and obtained a jury verdict of $240. The court below refused appellant's motion for a new trial and judgment n. o. v. and this appeal followed.

Appellant contends that the court below erred in failing to apply the parol evidence rule to exclude oral testimony of appellee. At the time of the sale appellee had signed a paper called a 'used car order' on which appellant relies to invoke the parol evidence

[ 173 Pa. Super. Page 100]

    rule, and which appellant contends is a complete written contract. This 'used car order' is set out in a footnote.*fn1

[ 173 Pa. Super. Page 101]

In order to exclude parol evidence the writing must be a complete contract, importing a full legal obligation with no uncertainty as to the terms of the agreement. Gianni v. R. Russell & Co., 281 Pa. 320, 126 A. 791; Garrison v. Salkind, 285 Pa. 265, 132 A. 125; McMinn v. Mammone, 169 Pa. Super. 1, 82 A.2d 70. One need only examine the 'used car order' to observe that it does not even purport to be a complete contract. Appellant incurred no legal obligation under it, for he made no promise to sell the car. This writing is, at most, a unilateral promise to purchase, unsupported by any consideration. In addition, the terms of the 'agreement' are uncertain, since the car is not fully identified and no time or delivery is specified. Potter v. Leitenberger Machine Co., 166 Pa. Super. 31, 70 A.2d 390.

The full understanding between these parties was therefore partly written and partly oral, and it is settled that such a contract is not subject to the parol evidence rule. Knapp Bros. Mfg. Co. v. Robinson Electric Co., 103 Pa. Super. 463, 157 A. 11. The parties here did not even purport to integrate their entire agreement in a writing. Plaintiff's oral evidence was therefore admissible.

Appellant's only remaining complaint is the charge to the jury. The court below did not, as appellant states, charge that there was no written agreement, but only that appellee was not relying on a writing.

[ 173 Pa. Super. Page 102]

In view of what we have said, however, there was in fact no written agreement, but only an unenforceable promise by appellee. In other respects the charge was generally correct and without error. There was sufficient competent evidence of the oral representations to warrant the verdict of the jury.

Judgment affirmed.


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