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POWELL v. WANDEL (11/14/58)

November 14, 1958

POWELL
v.
WANDEL, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 282, Oct. T., 1958, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, Dec. T., 1952, No. 51, in case of Humbert B. Powell, Jr., liquidator of Humbert B. Powell, et al. v. Kurt Wandel. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Joseph F. McVeigh, with him Joseph C. Mansfield, and Myers, McVeigh & Mansfield, for appellant.

W. Edward Greenwood, with him Thomas C. Gawthrop, and Gawthrop & Greenwood, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ.

Author: Ervin

[ 188 Pa. Super. Page 59]

OPINION BY ERVIN, J.

In this action of assumpsit the plaintiff, as liquidator of a law firm, sought an accounting from the defendant. At the conclusion of a trial before a judge and jury, a verdict was rendered for the plaintiff. The court below, after refusal of the defendant's motion for judgment n.o.v., directed the prothonotary to enter judgment on the verdict and then further decreed that the defendant account to the plaintiff. From this decree the defendant appealed under the provisions of the Act of June 24, 1895, P.L. 243, as amended, 12 PS ยง 1104, which permits an appeal to this Court upon the preliminary question of defendant's liability to account.

In his argument before the court below, counsel for defendant stated the questions to be as follows:

1. Was the agreement entered into by Humbert B. Powell, Sr., Humbert B. Powell, Jr., and J. Willison Smith with the defendant on December 1, 1949 a valid contract?

2. Assuming the agreement to be valid, is there any evidence to support the jury's verdict, finding that plaintiff is entitled to an accounting?

[ 188 Pa. Super. Page 60]

At the trial testimony was presented by the plaintiff but the defendant offered no testimony.

Defendant had become a client of the law firm of Powell and Smith in April 1947. The plaintiff firm performed certain legal services for the defendant prior to December 1, 1949, when a written agreement, prepared by Powell, Sr., was executed by all of the members of the law firm and the defendant. The agreement is as follows: THIS AGREEMENT made this 1st day of December, A.D., 1949, by and between KURT WANDEL of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, hereinafter called, 'Wandel', party of the first part and HUMBERT B. POWELL, J. WILLISON SMITH, JR. and HUMBERT B. POWELL, JR., co-partners, trading as POWELL & SMITH, hereinafter called 'Powell', party of the second part.

"WHEREAS, Wandel has from time to time invented, created and/or discovered certain ideas relating to equipment, processes and/or designs and improvements and modifications thereof useful in the manufacture of paper and for other purposes the same being hereinafter sometimes referred to as 'inventions', and

"WHEREAS, Wandel has or may in the future have in mind other 'inventions' some of which may be patentable, some of which may be employed as secret 'inventions', and

"WHEREAS, Wandel has for a considerable period of time been receiving from Powell, legal services in connection with such matters ...


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