Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 2 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1963, No. 3388, in case of Karl Bolgen v. Progressive Composition Co., Inc., Progress Plate Making Co. and Hanson Co., Inc.
Lloyd J. Schumacker, with him Schumacker and Lunkenheimer, for appellants.
Leonard M. Sagot, with him Ettinger, Poserina, Silverman, Dubin, Anapol & Sagot, for appellee.
Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ.
Plaintiff, Karl Bolgen, instituted an action in equity against the defendant corporations to recover certain moneys he had paid to them on account of the purchase by him of three Chevrolet trucks. At the hearing the action was treated as though it had been formally transferred to the law side of the court and was thus heard as a non-jury case. After trial, a verdict was entered in favor of the plaintiff in the sum of $8,720 plus interest. Defendants filed exceptions which were dismissed; and they now appeal.
The record supports the following findings: In order to avoid unionization of their employees, the defendant corporations, in 1957, induced the plaintiff, to do their hauling as an independent contractor. They entered into an agreement on April 19, 1957 whereby the defendants were to purchase a Chevrolet 1/2 ton sedan delivery truck for $1,835.08 which they would then resell to the plaintiff for the same amount, allowing
the plaintiff to pay therefor in weekly sums of at least $20. In addition, plaintiff was to receive payment for his services. The written agreement further provided: "If for any reason a condition arises whereby this contract is to be cancelled, we [that is, the defendants] agree to either let Karl Bolgen pay us the balance owing on the truck, and let him keep the truck entirely, or we give him the money he has contributed toward the purchase, and we keep the truck. However, it is further understood that when the full amount has been paid by Karl Bolgen, the truck is entirely his."
In the following years other vehicles were purchased without execution of a formal agreement but with an oral understanding that the terms previously agreed upon would apply.
In 1959 and 1960, two trucks and a van were purchased and the plaintiff paid $20 per week on each of the vehicles. He also paid $40 per week as repayment of loans and insurance premiums, thus making a total weekly payment of $100.
On May 14, 1962, the plaintiff ceased paying on the purchased vehicles as he was unable to do so, although he continued to work for the defendants receiving compensation for his services. In September of that year, the plaintiff asked for reimbursement of the amount he had paid toward purchase of the three vehicles, relying on the option contained in the above-quoted provisions of the written agreement. The defendants refused to pay back the money and the plaintiff filed suit. Later, by stipulation of the parties, the vehicles were sold, for a total sum of $1800.
The defendants contend in this appeal that the plaintiff is entitled to collect only $1,800 less $1,635.75 which defendants claim the plaintiff owes them on a running ...