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CATTIE v. JOSEPH P. CATTIE & BROTHERS (03/13/61)

March 13, 1961

CATTIE, APPELLANT,
v.
JOSEPH P. CATTIE & BROTHERS, INC.



Appeal, No. 103, Jan. T., 1961, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 2 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1955, No. 1168, in case of Catherine M. Cattie et al. v. Joseph P. Cattie & Brothers, Inc. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

John R. McConnell, with him Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, for appellants.

Charles A. Wolfe, with him Sidney L. Wickenhaver, Joseph B. Quinn, and Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, for appellee.

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

Author: Bell

[ 403 Pa. Page 162]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL.

Appellants, representing the estate of Joseph P. Cattie, Sr., the original lessor, brought an action in trespass against the defendant-corporation, lessee, for the value of machinery and equipment removed by the lessee after the termination of the lease between Cattie and the corporation. At the conclusion of the jury trial the Court below directed a verdict for the corporation. After plaintiffs' motion for a new trial was dismissed, judgment was entered on the verdict and plaintiffs took this appeal.

On appeal from a directed verdict for the defendant we take the plaintiff's evidence as true, giving plaintiff the benefit of all favorable evidence and all reasonable inferences arising therefrom: Thompson v. Gorman, 366 Pa. 242, 246, 77 A.2d 413; Valera v. Reading Co., 349 Pa. 123, 124, 36 A.2d 644.

Accepting plaintiff-appellants' evidence and all reasonable inferences therefrom the facts may be thus summarized: Cattie (the decedent) and his two brothers each owned one-third of the stock of the defendant-corporation, of which Cattie was the president and active manager. The corporation occupied certain land and buildings at the northwest corner of Gaul and Letterly Streets in Philadelphia. The land and buildings were owned by Cattie until his death on July 3, 1950, and had been leased to the corporation since January 1, 1921, under various written leases. After Cattie's death the corporation continued in possession of the premises until December 21, 1951, at which time the lease was terminated on notice from the present appellants. At that time the machinery and equipment which are the subject of this lawsuit were removed

[ 403 Pa. Page 163]

    from the building by the corporation. Among the equipment removed was a craneway (which is in the nature of a track approximately 20 feet high) which rested upon columns embedded in a concrete foundation on the floor and a tram rail system (similar to the craneway but consisting of a single railed track running throughout the building) which was supported by cross beams embedded in the walls of the building. It is conceded by plaintiffs (as well as by defendants) that the craneway and the tram rail system were fixtures.

In order to remove the craneway and the tram system from the building, it was necessary to cut them up with acetylene torches and remove them piece by piece. The equipment was thus totally destroyed and was sold for scrap. The value of this equipment just before its destruction was estimated to be in excess of $69,200. The corporation sold the metal as scrap for $10,414.02.

Appellants claim the value of the equipment and machinery before its destruction and sale, namely, $69,200 (as well as the value of certain other ...


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