The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCCUNE
This is an action to recover from defendants the rental allegedly due on a lease of bowling equipment. The law of Massachusetts applies.
The complaint and amended complaint alleged that on August 17, 1962, the defendants, who then owned a bowling alley in Allegheny County, entered into a lease with a manufacturer of bowling equipment by the name of Bowl-Mor Company, a Delaware Corporation with headquarters in Massachusetts. The lease covered sixteen automatic rubber-duck pin setting machines which were rented for a period of ten years at a rental of $144,000.00 payable in equal weekly installments following an initial payment of $1200.00.
On June 19, 1964, the machines were repossessed and on July 17, 1964, they were sold at public sale (after notice and advertisement of the sale) for $19,200.00 to G.E.
The complaint demanded $119,652.62 which was the total rental less the $19,200.00 received at public sale together with the $5297.00 received in rental payments (minor expenses were also claimed which prevents an exact balancing of the aforesaid sums).
The Answer averred that the machines were not satisfactory, failed to operate properly, were not put in operable condition in spite of complaints to Bowl-Mor and that the defendants had instructed G.E. to remove the machines.
Pursuant to the request the machines were removed by Bowl-Mor (not G.E.) and that Bowl-Mor was acting as an agent of G.E. It was alleged that the defects vitiated the lease and the rental had been paid for the months during which the machines had been used, that G.E. through Bowl-Mor had acted pursuant to the request to remove the machines and had consented to a cancellation of the lease by removing the equipment.
A counterclaim was included for $5900.00 which had been expended, it was alleged, to repair and maintain the equipment while it was in use.
The reply to the counterclaim asserted that G.E. had not duty to remedy defects in the machinery because the lease permitted assignment by Bowl-Mor, while providing that the assignee would not be liable for any of the Lessor's obligations. Further, G.E. took the equipment only because defendants had threatened to put it in storage at G.E.'s expense if it were not taken back and G.E. had notified defendants before they took it that they would sell it and hold defendants for any deficiency.
The defendants of course denied that they ever acquiesced in the plan of G.E. to sell the machines or that they would be liable for any deficiency.
An amended answer set forth an additional defense, i.e., that G.E. in an agreement dated July 23, 1964, permitted Bowl-Mor to repurchase the equipment and took a demand note from Bowl-Mor for the amount due G.E. and the demand note held by G.E. had been paid in full by Bowl-Mor and therefore G.E. had no cause of action against the defendants. The contention was that G.E. had renegotiated the transaction with Bowl-Mor after the default occurred and had delivered the equipment to Bowl-Mor and had taken a new note from Bowl-Mor and had been paid in full.
We tried the case non jury and in our opinion the last contention was supported by the evidence. If an assignee of a contract fails to collect from the obligor, but thereafter receives satisfaction from the assignor, is he barred from asserting the ...