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HIGHMONT MUSIC CORP. v. J. M. HOFFMANN CO. (11/09/59)

November 9, 1959

HIGHMONT MUSIC CORP.
v.
J. M. HOFFMANN CO., APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 126, March T., 1959, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, July T., 1957, No. 2630, in case of Highmont Music Corp. v. J. M. Hoffmann Co. Judgment affirmed. Assumpsit. Before BROWN, J. Verdict for plaintiff in amount of $15,511.55; defendant's motion for judgment n.o.v. refused and judgment entered on verdict. Defendant appealed.

COUNSEL

Valera Grapp, with her Charles L. Seif, and Max V. Schoonmaker, for appellant.

Roslyn M. Litman, with her Litman & Litman, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Mcbride, JJ.

Author: Mcbride

[ 397 Pa. Page 346]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MCBRIDE

[ 397 Pa. Page 347]

The only question is whether the court below should have granted the defendant's motion for judgment non obstante veredicto. The case was fairly tried in the court below and ably argued here.

Plaintiff, a corporation (hereinafter called Highmont), wanted to operate a retail phonograph record store in Pittsburgh. In order to rent a suitable storeroom in downtown Pittsburgh, it contacted a real estate broker who assigned its agent to negotiate a lease. The agent immediately supplied a list of available downtown storerooms. One of the properties suggested was 639 Liberty Avenue. That property was and is owned by the defendant corporation (hereinafter called Hoffmann). This building was constructed between 50 and 100 years ago and was acquired by Hoffmann as long ago as 1922. The building had been under lease to an art dealer for some considerable length of time but was vacant at the time Highmont's representatives and the real estate agent (who admittedly was acting for defendant) entered into negotiations. It was made known from the outset by Highmont that certain requirements were essential. Among those specifically enumerated was that the storeroom must have a strong floor and that a certain limited amount of money could be spent by Highmont for the purpose of any necessary improvements. During the course of the negotiations Hoffmann's agents made statements of fact concerning the condition of the premises. They represented that the floors were very strong; that they would support any weight; that the building was excellent and would not need much money to improve it so that it could be used by Highmont.*fn1 Subsequently

[ 397 Pa. Page 348]

    a lease of the premises for five years, prepared by Hoffmann's real estate agent, was entered into between Highmont and Hoffmann. A rider attached to the lease contained the provisions that "Tenant agrees to accept the premises in their present condition and make all necessary repairs, improvements or alterations at their own cost and expense" and that the plaintiff leases the premises in its "present condition and to make all necessary repairs, improvements or alterations at their own cost and expense to the interior of the premises."

Highmont relied upon the statements made by the real estate agent concerning ...


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