Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, No. 61-9202 of 1961, in case of Barco, Inc. v. Steel Crest Homes, Inc.
Allen J. Levin, with him Folz, Bard, Kamsler, Goodis & Greenfield, for appellant.
Knox Henderson, with him Edward H. Fackenthal, Maurice Pollon, and Henderson, Wetherill & O'Hey, for appellee.
Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien. Mr. Chief Justice Bell dissents because of the inadequacy of the remedy at law.
Appellant filed a complaint in equity against appellee seeking certain relief allegedly arising out of a contractual relationship existing between the parties. Appellant alleged that it is engaged in the business of purchasing deferred payment contracts from dealers who sell owner-completed houses. It further alleges that appellee is such a dealer, and that by a written contract between appellant and appellee, appellee agreed to submit to appellant for purchase at specified prices all of the installment or deferred payment contracts
made by appellee with its customers for a 5 year period from the date of the contract. Averring that appellee has failed to offer such contracts to it and intends to continue such actions, and averring that it had no remedy at law, appellant sought equitable relief in the form of a decree (1) enjoining appellee from offering installment contracts for purchase to anyone but appellant; (2) directing appellee to offer these contracts to appellant; (3) requiring appellee to account to appellant for all such contracts not submitted to appellant for purchase; and (4) awarding appellant the damages which it had sustained by reason of appellee's breach.
Appellee filed preliminary objections to the complaint, averring that an adequate remedy existed at law. Preliminary objections were sustained and the case certified to the law side.
In its opinion sustaining the preliminary objections, the court below stated: "Plaintiff, in addition to his prayer for damages, seeks, in effect, specific performance of the above-mentioned contract by enjoining the defendant from doing any acts in violation thereof, as well as an accounting of these contracts which allegedly have not been submitted to it. We will first consider whether or not plaintiff is entitled to an injunction on the basis of the allegations in its Complaint.
"While our Courts have by injunctive relief, prevented the violation of obligations contained in a contract, General Building Contractors' Association v. Local Union No. 542, 370 Pa. 73 (1952), it is well established that this power will not be exercised where there is an ample remedy by an action for damages at law. Greenberg v. The First Mortgage Guarantee & Trust Co., 242 Pa. 35 (1913); Streng v. The Buck Run Coal Company, 241 Pa. 560 (1913). Here the plaintiff complains of the action of the defendant in not submitting to it (plaintiff) deferred payment contracts which the
defendant has entered into with its customers and further alleges that the defendant will continue this course of conduct. We do not know of any reason why plaintiff can not, under these circumstances, seek a complete and adequate remedy at law, in the form of an action in assumpsit for damages for this alleged breach of contract. The only way in which plaintiff would be injured by such a breach would be a loss of profits from not being able to finance these contracts. We do not see why damages can not be ascertained here with a ...