Appeal, No. 158, March T., 1964, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, April T., 1964, No. 1512, in case of Carl A. Colteryahn Dairy, Inc. v. Schneider Dairy, Ronald Yochum, Richard Rump et al. Decree, as modified, affirmed.
Henry E. Rea, Jr., with him Carl Brandt, and Brandt, Riester, Brandt & Malone, for appellants.
Guy L. Warman, with him John A. Metz, Jr., Joseph Swartz, and Swartz & Dale, and Metz, Cook, Hanna & Kelly, for appellee.
Before Bell, C.j., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE JONES
This is an appeal challenging the validity of a decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which enjoined for a four month period (1) four individuals from (a) divulging the names or soliciting the patronage of customers of their former employer and (b) diverting any business of their former employer or attempting to persuade customers of their former employer from continuing their patronage, and (2) a corporation from (a) soliciting the patronage of customers of the plaintiff-appellee who became known to the individual defendants through a previous employment and (b) entering into new business relationships with such customers.
On January 26, 1964, following competitive bidding, Baldwin Dairy (Baldwin), which operated eight retail milk routes in the South Hills area of Allegheny County, was purchased by Carl A. Colteryahn Dairy, Inc. (Colteryahn). The Schneider Dairy (Schneider), had submitted a bid which was subsequently withdrawn. Colteryahn and Schneider are two of thirteen
major dairies which maintain milk routes in the South Hills area.
For some time*fn1 prior to the date of the sale, Ronald Yochum, Richard Rump, Albert Eltringham and Wayne Herman had been employed by Baldwin as driver-salesmen on certain specified retail routes. Shortly after the sale, these men gave Colteryahn seven days notice*fn2 of their intention to leave its employ,*fn3 admittedly giving false reasons for relinquishing their jobs, and went to work on February 3, 1964, for Schneider. Immediately after assuming employment with Schneider, they began to solicit the business of their former Baldwin customers.
Colteryahn promptly instituted an equity action in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County against Schneider and the four individual employees seeking both injunctive relief and damages. The action averred that Schneider was maliciously interfering with the business relations of Colteryahn and that Yochum, Rump, Eltringham and Herman were soliciting their old customers of Baldwin and, in some instances, making false and misleading statements to them. After an extensive hearing, the court below granted injunctive relief. It is from that preliminary decree that this appeal has been taken.
It is well established that on appeal from a decree which grants or continues a preliminary injunction, the appellate court will look only to see if there were any apparently reasonable grounds for the ...