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MOIDEL v. PEOPLES NATURAL GAS COMPANY. (09/28/59)

September 28, 1959

MOIDEL, APPELLANT,
v.
PEOPLES NATURAL GAS COMPANY.



Appeal, No. 47, March T., 1959, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, July T., 1952, No. 144, in case of Meyer Moidel et al. v. Peoples Natural Gas Company. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

E. V. Buckley, with him Maurice L. Kessler, and Mercer & Buckley, for plaintiffs, appellants.

H. E. McCamey, with him Milton W. Lamproplos, and Dickie, McCamey, Chilcote & Robinson, and Eckert, Seamans & Cherin, for defendant, appellee.

Before Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Mcbride, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 397 Pa. Page 214]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES

This appeal questions the propriety of the action of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in its refusal to grant a new trial in this trespass action.

At approximately 8:00 p.m., March 1, 1951, an explosion - the incident which gave rise to this litigation - occurred in a one-story building located at 3700 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, a building rented and occupied by Meyer Moidel, Selma Moidel and Zachary Caplan, a partnership, doing business under the name of Joseph Moidel (herein called Moidel). Liberty Avenue runs generally east and west and is intersected by 37th Street which runs generally north and south.

[ 397 Pa. Page 215]

In actuality, 37th Street ends in a "T" intersection at Liberty Avenue but 37th Street as laid out on the city maps crosses Liberty Avenue and extends southwardly to a street (which also exists only on city maps) known as Sassafras Street. From the point where, theoretically, 37th Street runs south of Liberty Avenue the terrain is level for a distance of approximately 60 feet; at that point it drops down abruptly - at approximately a 45 degrees angle - for a distance of 125 feet to Sassafras Street.

East of the point of the theoretical intersection of Liberty Avenue and 37th Street was Moidel's rented building extending approximately 70 feet along the southerly side of Liberty Avenue and in a southerly direction approximately 60 feet to the brow of the hill. At the time in question Moidel conducted a wholesale auto accessory business in this building.

West of the theoretical street intersection - approximately 150 feet from Moidel's business place - was a private dwelling occupied by one Alec Walkowski, his family and a Miss Baldwin.

On the afternoon of March 1, 1951, Moidel, whose building was serviced by the Equitable Gas Company (herein called Equitable), detected the odor of gas fumes in its place of business and reported this condition to Equitable. Shortly thereafter an Equitable employee visited Moidel's business place, discovered a cracked casing in a heating stove and turned off the stove. The Equitable employee made no check of the Equitable gas service lines leading into or through the Moidel building. At the ...


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