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BLOOMSBURG MILLS v. SORDONI CONSTRUCTION CO. (10/10/60)

October 10, 1960

BLOOMSBURG MILLS, INC.
v.
SORDONI CONSTRUCTION CO., INC., APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 356, Jan. T., 1959, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Columbia County, Jan. T., 1956, No. 154, in case of Bloomsburg Mills, Inc. v. Sordoni Construction Co., Inc. et al. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Robert J. Doran, with him Joseph F. Flanagan, and John S. Fine, for appellants.

E. Eugene Eves, with him Smith and Eves, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.

Author: Eagen

[ 401 Pa. Page 359]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE EAGEN

The defendants, Lacy, Atherton, Wilson and Davis, registered architects and operating as a partnership, were engated by the plaintiff corporation to design and prepare plans and specifications for, and supervise the construction of, a rayon and nylon weaving mill. The plans included the construction of a twenty-year bonded roof over the weaving mill. To meet the needs of its industrial purpose, this portion of the building was to be air conditioned to maintain therein a constant temperature of eighty degrees Fahrenheit and a constant, relatively high degree humidity of sixty per cent moisture. To help effectuate this, a built-up roof with a vapor seal was required, which would prevent leakage of moisture from the outside and condensation from the inside.

[ 401 Pa. Page 360]

This action charges that the defendants negligently submitted plans for a roof which contained an improper vapor seal, faulty drain flushings, and fiberglass insulation material inadequate for the use intended, and that, as a result, the insulation material became saturated, soggy and inefficient within a short term of years, causing such high condensation on the inside ceiling of the building that the construction of a new and adequate roof became mandatory in order to carry on the weaving process. After trial, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff and from the entry of judgment thereon in the court below the defendants appeal.

It is charged that the evidence was insufficient to warrant a finding of negligence. With this, we must disagree.

In evaluating the motion for judgment n.o.v., the record, of course, must be read in the light most favorable to plaintiff's cause. This Court is not the trier of the facts: Hostetler v. Kniseley, 322 Pa. 248, 185 Atl. 300 (1936). Viewed in this light, there is ample evidence in the record to prove that the defendants were aware of the intended use of the building; that the problem of proper insulation was of paramount importance; that they recommended the use of insulating material which proved to be unsatisfactory; that this material would absorb and retain moisture, which fact was within their knowledge; that they made no previous tests of this material nor did they have any knowledge, specifically, of where it had been satisfactorily used for similar buildings; that they were sware that, unless the design and construction were such as to create and maintain a hermetically sealed envelope about the insulation material, moisture would infiltrate causing it to lose its insulating efficiency and function; that they did not specify in the plans that

[ 401 Pa. Page 361]

    such a complete envelope or enclosure be constructed; and, that in fact such was not done. All of these facts appearing in the record clearly constituted a basis for the ...


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