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GOHEN v. GRAVELLE (07/02/63)

July 2, 1963

GOHEN
v.
GRAVELLE, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 160, Jan. T., 1963, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Dec. T., 1956, No. 7, in case of Frederick R. Gohen v. C. Paul Gravelle. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

James Fitzcharles, III, for appellant.

Donald W. VanArtsdalen, with him VanArtsdalen & Pratt, for appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.

Author: Cohen

[ 411 Pa. Page 521]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN

This is an appeal from the grant of a partnership accounting by the court below.

Frederick Gohen, plaintiff-appellee, and his brother-in-law, Paul Gravelle, defendant-appellant, engaged in a series of businesses between 1946 and 1955 which are the subject of this accounting. They comprised a gasoline service station in Flourtown, Pennsylvania, which was opened in 1946 and closed in 1950; two service stations opened in 1950 and closed in 1951;*fn1 and, a retail automobile parts shop and building in Eddington, Pennsylvania.

[ 411 Pa. Page 522]

During the period between 1946-55, all of these facilities were operated on an informal basis and no written partnership agreement was ever entered into. Nevertheless, there was an admitted understanding between the two men that they were equal partners in these ventures.

As to these activities the lower court ordered an accounting, and this part of the order is not questioned by appellant. Appellant claims, however, that a nozzle business, hereinafter to be described, was not part of the partnership and, therefore, he has no duty to account for that particular venture. We do not agree.

Around the time the partnership was formed, appellant conceived a method for the development of a hold open device to be used in conjunction with automatic gasoline nozzles. Appellant began experimenting with this device at the Flourtown station during regular working hours. The experiments continued, and in 1947 appellant borrowed money for the purpose of developing and promoting the device. Sales of the device began in 1947, and by 1948 nozzle conversion kits were being sold in increasingly larger numbers. After the sale of the service stations, the nozzle business was conducted from the partnership premises at Eddington until the brothers-in-law had a disagreement which resulted in the closing of the automobile parts shop. Throughout the 1946-55 period the book and bank accounts of the various endeavors - and of each partner's respective interest therein - were handled in a very loose manner. Without going into detail, it is sufficient to state that the funds and accounts of all ventures, including the nozzle activity, were co-mingled.

It is well established that a written agreement is not necessary to establish a partnership since its existence may be implied from a consideration of all the attending facts and circumstances. Pappas v. ...


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