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ECKBORG v. HYDE-MURPHY COMPANY (04/22/71)

decided: April 22, 1971.

ECKBORG, APPELLANT,
v.
HYDE-MURPHY COMPANY



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Elk County, May T., 1965, No. 123, in case of Paul G. Eckborg v. Hyde-Murphy Company.

COUNSEL

John R. Fernan, with him John H. Cartwright, for appellant.

Norbert J. Pontzer, with him Pontzer & Pontzer, for appellee.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Barbieri, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones.

Author: Jones

[ 442 Pa. Page 284]

This is an appeal from a judgment entered on the pleadings in a trespass action by the Court of Common Pleas of Elk County.

On March 15, 1969, Paul G. Eckborg (Eckborg) filed an amended complaint which was duly served upon Hyde-Murphy Company (Hyde-Murphy), a corporate entity; several days thereafter, Hyde-Murphy filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings to which Eckborg filed an answer. On August 6, 1969 the court entered judgment on the pleadings in favor of Hyde-Murphy.

The rationale of the court below, as set forth in its opinion, was: "We are of the opinion that (Eckborg), as an independent contractor unfortunately suffered his injuries because of his willingness to request and

[ 442 Pa. Page 285]

    accept services from another without first inquiring or testing with respect to the other's ability to perform such services."

The sole issue on this appeal is whether the facts averred in Eckborg's complaint failed to demonstrate a cause of action so as to justify the entry of a judgment on the pleadings.

Eckborg, whose business was servicing and installing of refrigerators and air conditioning, avers that on July 8, 1963, Hyde-Murphy, acting through Richard E. Cartwright, its general manager, requested Eckborg's services in checking the nonfunctioning air conditioning at its office in Ridgeway, Pa. In his complaint Eckborg further avers:

"5. [Eckborg], at the request of [Hyde-Murphy], as aforesaid, went to the offices of [Hyde-Murphy] at 222 Race St., Ridgeway, Pennsylvania, on July 8, 1963, about 2:20 o'clock p.m., E.D.T., and immediately checked for the reason of the malfunctioning of the air conditioning equipment ...


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