Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Allegheny County, July T., 1963C, No. 2969, in case of Harvey Taylor and Lena Taylor, Archie McGhee and Evelyn McGhee and Sunset Lanes, Inc. v. Logan M. Crowe et al.
Stephen N. Lipton, with him Henry H. Wallace, and Wallace and Lipton, for appellants.
Andrew L. Weil, with him Frederick N. Egler, Fred Mercer, Jr., Egler, McGregor & Reinstadtler, and Mercer & Buckley, for appellees.
J. N. Poffinberger, Jr., with him Kirkpatrick, Lockhart, Johnson & Hutchison, for appellee.
Bell, C. J., Jones, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Barbieri, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien. Mr. Justice Pomeroy took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
Appellants are the owners of a bowling alley in Wilkins Township, Pennsylvania. Crowe and his agency (jointly hereinafter referred to as "Crowe") had been advising appellants in connection with the insurance needs of the various businesses in which they were engaged for many years. When their bowling alley building was completed in 1960, appellants sought comprehensive coverage for both the building and equipment, believing that such coverage would protect them, inter alia, against the perils of landslide. They learned that such coverage was available from the Brunswick Company,
from which appellants had purchased their equipment. However, Crowe represented to appellants that he could obtain the same coverage offered by Brunswick at a substantially lower premium. Crowe placed the coverage on the equipment with one group of appellees, Preferred Mutual Underwriters (Preferred), an association of six separate fire insurance companies. Their insurance was placed through Preferred's agent, Hood Brothers of Washington, Pennsylvania. Crowe placed the coverage on the building with Pennsylvania Threshermen and Farmers' Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and the Washington County Insurance Company (hereinafter referred to collectively as "Threshermen").
On February 14, 1961, six months after the policies went into effect, a landslide occurred and damaged appellants' building and equipment. Contrary to the representations of Crowe, the policies of insurance provided no protection to appellants against the risk of landslide.
Appellants brought suit in trespass against both groups of insurance companies and Crowe, claiming damages for Crowe's negligent misrepresentations as to the extent of the insurance coverage which he had procured. At the close of appellants' evidence, the insurance companies all sought and were granted points for binding instructions. The case was then submitted to the jury only as to Crowe. The jury returned a verdict in favor of appellants and made special findings of fact that Crowe had misrepresented to appellants that they were being covered by landslide insurance, and as a result of Crowe's failure to provide landslide insurance, appellants suffered a loss of $129,937, plus compensation for delay in payment in the sum of $40,899.21.
Appellants filed motions for a limited new trial to determine whether the insurance ...