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PANKAS v. BELL (03/17/64)

March 17, 1964

PANKAS
v.
BELL, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 52, March T., 1964, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1963, No. 4067, in case of Sam Pankas, individually and trading and doing business as "Mr. Sam's Coiffures De Lite," v. Thomas Bell, individually and trading and doing business as "The Oliver Room Beauty Salon". Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Stephen A. Zappala, with him Zappala & Zappala, for appellant.

George Shorall, with him Royston, Robb, Leonard, Edgecombe & Miller, for appellee.

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

Author: Jones

[ 413 Pa. Page 495]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE JONES

On March 2, 1962, Thomas Bell (Bell), then aged 20 years, 7 months,*fn1 entered into a written employment contract with Sam Pankas (Pankas), a beauty parlor operator. Bell admits having read the contract at the time of its execution and that he understood the contract would bind him to work exclusively for Pankas.

The contract provided that Pankas would employ Bell for a period of two years, commencing March 1, 1962, as a beautician; that Bell would "devote 100% of his business time to the efforts and advancement of the owner's business"; that, if Bell should leave Pankas' employment, he would not "engage either directly or indirectly as an owner, employer or agent in the beauty or hair-styling business within a radius of ten (10) miles from downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for a period of two (2) years". The contract also provided that Pankas could terminate the agreement by giving two weeks' notice to Bell "for any cause that may prove detrimental to the business".

[ 413 Pa. Page 496]

Bell first became acquainted with Pankas in October, 1960, when he talked briefly with Pankas at a hairdressing exhibition given by Pankas at the Hilton Hotel. Having attended a professional hairdressing school in Washington, Pa., Bell secured a beautician's license and, thereafter, worked for Pankas until May, 1961, in a nonprofessional capacity. Bell then worked for the Towne Modeling Agency for eight or nine months before returning to Pankas' employment and executing the contract referred to.

In September, 1963, Bell and another Pankas' employee became partners in a newly opened beauty salon situated within three blocks of Pankas' salon and advertised themselves as former employees of the Pankas establishment. Bell admits that, while still in Pankas' employment, he gave his card for the new establishment to at least one customer.

The instant action in equity in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, seeking an injunction, was then instituted by Pankas and, after hearing, a preliminary injunction*fn2 was granted. This appeal followed.

"In reviewing the grant or denial of a preliminary injunction our familiar rule is to examine the record only to determine 'if there were any apparently reasonable grounds*fn3 for the action of the court below, and we will not further consider the merits of the case or pass upon the reasons for or against such action, unless it is plain that no such grounds existed or that the rules of ...


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