Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 2 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1964, No. 684, in case of Joseph Goldstein and Lena Goldstein, his wife v. The Carillon Hotel of Miami Beach.
Robert C. Daniels, with him Freedman, Borowsky & Lorry, for appellants.
Harry R. Mayer, for appellee.
Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien. Mr. Justice Cohen took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
On or about January 18, 1964, wife-appellant was a guest in a hotel operated by appellee in Miami Beach, Florida. She sustained personal injuries as the result of a fall which occurred while she was showering in the bathroom of the room in which she was registered. She and husband-appellant commenced an action of trespass against appellee to recover damages suffered as a result of the fall.
The action was commenced by writ of summons on March 11, 1964, and service was made by serving an employee of appellee at an office maintained by appellee in the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia. This employee was the party admittedly in charge of the Bellevue-Stratford office of appellee. Subsequently, in December of 1964, a complaint in trespass was filed and served in the same manner as was the writ of summons.
Appellee filed preliminary objections in the nature of (a) a petition raising a question of jurisdiction over the person; (b) a motion to dismiss because of improper venue and forum non conveniens, and (c) a demurrer.
The court below sustained appellee's position relative to jurisdiction and dismissed the complaint. It did not, however, rule on any of the other preliminary objections on the merits, but entered an order dismissing them as moot, in view of the decision on the jurisdiction question. Appellant has appealed the order of the court below dismissing the complaint.
Appellee is a partnership consisting of two individuals and a Florida Corporation. Pa. R.C.P. 2131(a), provides that: "Service of process upon a partner or a registered agent of a partnership, or upon the manager, clerk or other person for the time being in charge of any regular place of business of a partnership shall
be deemed service upon the partnership and upon each partner individually named in the action, provided the person served is not a plaintiff in the action." As hereinbefore stated, service was concededly made on the person in charge of the Bellevue-Stratford office of appellee, and the validity of that service is, therefore, dependent upon whether appellee's Bellevue-Stratford office constitutes a "regular place of business" of the partnership.
Appellants served interrogatories on appellee for the purpose of determining the nature of the operation conducted by appellee with specific reference to the operation of its Bellevue-Stratford office. The answers to these interrogatories disclose that appellee has maintained an office under a lease with the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel for at least seven years, and that this office is staffed by two employees of appellee, one of whom has been employed there for approximately seven years and the other for approximately three years. Appellee's Miami office informs the Philadelphia office of available space, and the Philadelphia employees are empowered, on proper application, to issue confirmed reservations if space is available. The individual partners are both residents of Florida and the Corporation, which is a partner in the enterprise, is a Florida Corporation. The partnership entity is not registered to do business within the City of Philadelphia or the Commonwealth. One of the individual partners comes to Philadelphia approximately twice a year, ostensibly to oversee or direct the operations of the Philadelphia office. The employees of the Philadelphia office are paid by checks ...