Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 3 of Philadelphia County, Dec. T., 1965, No. 2627, in case of Irving Canter v. American Honda Motor Corporation and Motor Sport, Inc., also known as M-S, Inc.
Joseph G. Manta, with him James M. Marsh, and LaBrum and Doak, for appellant.
George P. Williams, III, with him Lawrence T. Hoyle, Jr., and Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, 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 January 13, 1966, plaintiff, Irving Canter, instituted an action of trespass in Philadelphia County against defendant, American Honda Motor Corporation (Honda), for personal injuries sustained in an accident which took place on May 7, 1964, in Montgomery County. The accident occurred while plaintiff
was driving a motorcycle manufactured by defendant, Honda, and sold to one Mal Schlecter, by Motor Sport, Inc., a/k/a M-S, Inc. Plaintiff's complaint alleged that defendant, Honda, was negligent in the design, manufacture, and testing of the motorcycle, as well as in failing to warn dealers and users of certain alleged dangerous characteristics of the motorcycle. On March 2, 1966, the defendant, Honda, filed a complaint against Motor Sport, Inc., seeking to join Motor Sport as an additional defendant, alleging that Motor Sport was negligent in failing properly to assemble, adjust, and test the motorcycle and its component parts; and further, that Motor Sport was either solely liable, jointly and severally liable with the defendant, Honda, or liable over to Honda.
Motor Sport filed preliminary objections, raising the question of venue under Pa. R. C. P. 2179, setting forth (1) that it is a Delaware Corporation, having its principal place of business and registered office in Delaware County; (2) that it had never conducted business in Philadelphia County; (3) that the accident occurred and the cause of action arose in Montgomery County, and (4) that no transaction or occurrence out of which the cause of action arose took place in Philadelphia County.
The defendant answered the additional defendant's preliminary objections, asserting it had no knowledge as to the truth of these assertions. The defendant took the deposition of one John J. Greytak, general manager and stockholder of additional defendant. The deposition established that additional defendant had a place of business at 95 Old York Road, Jenkintown, in Montgomery County, in addition to its other location in Delaware County. The deposition further revealed that the additional defendant never had a business location in Philadelphia County; that the nature of the additional defendant's business is the selling and
servicing of new and used automobiles, which included the sale and servicing of motorcycles in 1964. The deposition revealed that Motor Sport advertises on local radio and in local newspapers, such as the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Bulletin, and on major radio stations in the Philadelphia Area. Mr. Greytak related that he believed about 20% of his total business came from Philadelphia.
When questioned about actual sales taking place in Philadelphia, Mr. Greytak indicated that some demonstrations of cars were made in Philadelphia, and perhaps some agreements of sale were signed in Philadelphia. The court below concluded from the deposition and the oral argument that gross sales and service business in 1964 was 3.7 million dollars, and that in 1965, 4.1 million dollars. Mr. Greytak related that ...