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DORA v. DORA (05/02/58)

May 2, 1958

DORA
v.
DORA, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 82, March T., 1958, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, April T., 1956, No. 792, in case of Mary Dora and Mayer Sniderman v. George Dora et al. Judgment affirmed; reargument refused June 3, 1958.

COUNSEL

Daniel T. Zamos, with him Charles P. Lewis, for appellants.

John A. Metz, Jr., with him Mayer Sniderman and Metz, Cook, Hanna & Kelly, for appellees.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno, Arnold, Jones and Cohen, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 392 Pa. Page 434]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE JONES

Plaintiffs sued in trespass to recover damages from the defendants (both individual and corporate) for their wilful interference with a contract right of the

[ 392 Pa. Page 435]

    plaintiffs. The right was in relation to a sum of money which had been deposited in the defendant bank in escrow, to be paid to the plaintiffs upon fulfillment of certain contingencies agreed upon by the parties in settlement of the property rights of Mary Dora, one of the plaintiffs, against her husband, George Dora, one of the defendants. The remaining defendants are the four children of George Dora by a former marriage. The settlement agreement was entered into during the trial of an equity suit which Mary Dora had instituted against the present individual defendants, at which time the chancellor made the following order: "And now, to wit, May 17, 1954, this matter came on for hearing after conclusion of the testimony, the case is continued as settled. See settlement stated in Trial Record."

Under the settlement agreement, which was reduced to writing and signed by the parties, the plaintiff, Mary Dora, and her attorney, Mayer Sniderman, were to receive jointly the $5,500 in escrow upon exhibiting to and filing with the bank (1) a certified copy of a decree of divorce in favor of Mary Dora to be entered by the court of common pleas of Allegheny County with all costs of record paid, (2) a satisfaction in full of all proceedings, judgment and costs in a desertion and non-support action which Mary Dora had instituted against her husband in the County Court of Allegheny County, (3) a certificate of satisfaction, with all costs paid, in the equity suit, (4) a release executed by Mary Dora releasing her husband and his four children, absolutely, from any and all liability on claims up to the date of the release, and (5) the delivery to the bank of a written acknowledgment that certain premises occupied by Mary Dora (the title to which was in the name of one of the defendant children) had been surrendered by her by a specified time.

[ 392 Pa. Page 436]

Without the knowledge or consent of Mary Dora or of her attorney, the four children of her husband withdrew from the bank the escrowed deposit of $5,500 on the representation, as evidenced by the written receipt therefor signed by them, that the settlement agreement had been breached by Mary Dora through her failure to surrender to the record owner the indicated premises by the date mutually agreed upon.

The trial judge submitted the case to the jury, which returned a verdict, as molded by the court, in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants in the sum of $5,500, the defendant bank to pay to the plaintiffs in addition the sum of$495 as interest (i.e., damages for detention). The defendants moved for a new trial and for ...


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