Appeal, No. 131, Oct. T., 1958, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, June T., 1955, No. 73, in case of Ten Ten Chestnut Street Corporation v. Quaker State Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Judgment affirmed.
Harold A. Butz, with him George A. Rupp, and Butz, Hudders, Tallman & Rupp, for appellant.
E. G. Scoblionko, with him Maxwell E. Davidson, and Scoblionko & Frank, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P.j., Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (hirt, J., absent).
[ 186 Pa. Super. Page 587]
This appeal is from a refusal of a motion for judgment n.o.v. after verdict was rendered in favor of plaintiff, Ten Ten Chestnut Street Corporation in a trespass action.
Plaintiff brought an action of trespass against Quaker State Coca-Cola Bottling Company for damages to its building caused, primarily, by water damage as a result of a fire which was caused by an allegedly defective part in a coca-cola vending machine owned and maintained on the premises of the plaintiff. At the trial, damages were stipulated in the amount of $4,821.07, and the only question raised on this appeal is whether, under all the circumstances, the appellant was negligent in the care and maintenance of said machine.
Plaintiff was the owner of an industrial building located at 1010 Chestnut Street in the city of Allentown, which was occupied by various tenants. The fourth floor of said building, where the vending machine was installed, was occupied by Penn Sportswear. Defendant is engaged primarily in the business of bottling and selling coca-cola beverage but also installs and maintains refrigerating and vending machines for the dispensing of said beverage. As a result of an arrangement with Penn Sportswear, defendant installed such machine in September, 1950 and placed said machine, to meet the convenience of the tenant, with its back two to three inches from a wooden partition. This partition extended just above the height of the vending machine itself.
The machine is a rectangular metal box. The upper portion contained the coca-cola bottles, a dispensing apparatus operated by coins, a cooling refrigerant and a motor to operate the dispensing device. The bottom half housed the compressor which contained the
[ 186 Pa. Super. Page 588]
condensing coils for liquefying the refrigerant, the starter, a motor, a fan for bringing air over the compressor and the necessary wiring. At the rear of the box, which was placed close to the wooden partition, and at its bottom, there was a small opening through which the fan drew the air into the machine. Both the lower front and the sides of the box were vented. Neither the outlet nor the extension cord for supplying electrical current were furnished by defendant.
On the morning of May 10, 1954, an employee of Penn Sportswear detected an odor resembling that of burning rubber which apparently emanated from the vending machine. He disconnected the machine from the electrical outlet and then called the service department of defendant. Defendant's employee, Alfred Mondschein, arrived on the premises at about 1:45 P.M. on the same day for the purpose of making such repairs as might be required. He opened the machine, took out the compressor unit which contained the motor, starting relay and cooling coils and examined them. After connecting the current to the machine, it still did not operate. He then jiggled the starting unit, the relay points contacted and the machine went into operation. Concluding that the floating points in the starter relay were not functioning properly, he removed them and substituted new ones. He then replaced the unit, inspected the motor, checked for leaks, checked the freon gas for pressure, checked the drain pan for oil and checked the supply of electricity in the connecting lines. He ...