Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1964, No. 2904, in case of C.I.T. Corporation v. Elmer J. Jonnet, Jr. and Miracle Lanes, Inc.
Samuel M. Rosenzweig, with him Aaron Rosenzweig, for appellants.
Joseph A. Katarincic, with him Henry W. Fulton, Jr., Harry Woodruff Turner, and Kirkpatrick, Pomeroy, Lockhart & Johnson, for appellee.
Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Musmanno. Mr. Justice Jones and Mr. Justice Cohen concur in the result.
On January 30, 1961, the Commercial Appliance Company in Pittsburgh, sold to the Miracle Lanes, Inc., under a written conditional sales contract, a quantity of restaurant and bar equipment for the total sum of $33,655. On the same day, Elmer J. Jonnet, Jr., in his individual capacity, guaranteed in writing, as surety, Miracle Lanes' obligations under the contract. The Commercial Appliance Company assigned
its rights against Miracle Lanes and Jonnet to the C.I.T. Corporation, which had financed the transaction.
Through installment payments, Miracle Lanes had, by May 29, 1964, paid $19,322.85, leaving an unpaid balance of $12,197.13. The C.I.T. Corporation brought an action of assumpsit for this sum against Miracle Lanes and Jonnet. The defendants filed an answer averring that, beginning with June, 1964 payments "Were to have been made by Penn Hills Center, Inc. assignee of lease for cocktail lounge in which equipment described in these proceedings is located. To defendants' best knowledge and information and belief by the assumption thereof, arrangements were made whereby defendants herein were released from further liability on the documents herein described."
Apparently aware that such a nebulous defense would quickly melt into a judgment for the plaintiff, the defendants filed an amended answer where the nebulosity of the original answer drifted into a rhetorical cloud of different shape but of no greater tangibility. It said: "Defendants further allege and aver that in June of 1964 when Penn Hills Center, Inc., became assignee of the Lease for the Cocktail Lounge Plaintiff through its authorized agent and representative was apprised thereof and consented thereto and payments were made on account of the security agreement by the assignee to the Plaintiff. Defendants also allege and aver that Plaintiff's authorized agent and representative did release the Defendants from further liability therein."
In short order, the court below, upon appropriate motion by the plaintiff, granted judgment on the pleadings in favor of the plaintiff, plus $1,000 for attorneys' fees, stipulated in the conditional sales contract.
The defendants appealed, contending that their averments "were sufficient to bring ...