The opinion of the court was delivered by: WOOD
The plaintiff was arrested, detained and taken into custody on December 30, 1960, after one Ada Roland swore to an affidavit leading to warrants issued for his arrest.
He was prosecuted on criminal charges of larceny by bailee, fraudulent conversion, conspiracy and being an accessory before the fact of these crimes.
On June 19, 1961, the trial judge dismissed the case for insufficiency of evidence.
Now, Robert Sachs in this action has brought suit against Ada Roland's attorney and his law firm alleging that the acts of the attorneys were done maliciously and without probable cause.
The first count alleging malicious prosecution is barred by the Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations
which requires such actions to be brought within one year from the termination of the criminal proceeding which gave rise to the action. This Complaint was filed in November 1962 and the aforementioned criminal proceedings terminated in June of 1961, some 16 months earlier.
Therefore, the defendants' motion is granted as to Count I.
Also, paragraph 16 purportedly alleges a count for malicious use of process. This is the same cause of action as malicious prosecution and it is therefore barred by the Statute of Limitations.
The two remaining counts contain averments of an alleged abuse of process and negligence. These counts are not barred by the Statute of Limitations for Malicious Prosecution.
Under Pennsylvania law, when an attorney is guilty of a tortious act to a third person, such as when he encourages and induces his client to commit a trespass on another he is chargeable for his acts the same as anyone else. Adelman v. Rosenbaum, 133 Pa.Super. 386, 3 A.2d 15 (1938).
Where the trespass, allegedly committed by the attorney, involves the initiation or perversion of legal process, the torts of misuse of process and abuse of process occur.
In this case, the alleged negligence of the defendant consisted of urging the arrest and criminal prosecution of the plaintiff without probable cause.
It is apparent that the plaintiff is pleading a repetition of what constitutes a misuse of process or an abuse of process. He attempts to separate his negligence claim as a distinct cause of action.
No Pennsylvania case has been cited to us whereby the mere negligence of an attorney toward someone other than his client is actionable under Pennsylvania law. Therefore, the defendant's ...