Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, Jan. T., 1970, No. 1377, in case of Egyptian Sands Real Estate, Inc. v. Geza I. Polony and Gizella I. Polony.
Gerald I. Roth, for appellants.
David F. Dunn, for appellee.
Wright, P. J., Watkins, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, Cercone, and Packel, JJ. Opinion by Jacobs, J.
[ 222 Pa. Super. Page 316]
Defendants in this case are appealing a refusal of the lower court to open a judgment entered against them in the amount of $13,000 together with interest at the rate of 6 percent. We reverse.
On January 31, 1969, the defendants, Geza and Gizella Polony, husband and wife, signed a 5-year lease on the Egyptian Sands Motel and Cocktail Lounge, located in North Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania. Plaintiff, the lessor, signed the document through its president, James A. Herman. The transaction took place at the Egyptian Sands.
Approximately 12 years prior to the signing of the lease, the Polonys came to the United States from Hungary. A fair reading of the deposition taken by both parties pursuant to this action reveals that neither defendant had formal training in English, that both spoke, to some extent, in broken English, and that neither had ever hired legal counsel in this country. Mr. Polony is a musician and has been employed as a designer of low temperature equipment.
At the signing, plaintiff was represented by counsel. The defendants were dissuaded from procuring
[ 222 Pa. Super. Page 317]
outside assistance by the plaintiff's president, who convinced them to employ the plaintiff's attorney instead. The following colloquy between Mr. Polony and his subsequent counsel took place at the deposition: "Q. When you entered into the lease agreement dated January 31st, 1969, were either you or your wife represented by counsel? A. No. Q. Where did you sign this lease agreement? A. Out at Egyptian Sands. Q. Was any attorney present? A. Attorney Nabhan. Q. Who did Mr. Nabhan represent? A. Mr. Herman. Q. Was there any discussion between you and your wife on one hand and Mr. Herman on the other hand with respect to independent counsel? A. I asked Mr. Herman. Since I didn't have any legal business in the United States, I didn't have counsel prior to this. I wanted to show the lease to somebody, and Mr. Herman said, 'It isn't necessary because Mr. Nabhan is going to take care of it.' Q. Were you charged any legal fees by Mr. Nabhan in connection with this matter? A. Yes, sir. Q. So Mr. Nabhan represented you as well as Mr. Herman? A. Yes."
At this point, Mr. Nabhan, who was representing plaintiff at the deposition, interposed that he had not charged the Polonys in connection with the lease, but rather with a liquor license transfer. The colloquy continued: "Q. Do you have a statement from Mr. Nabhan? A. Yes. Q. This statement is dated April 23rd. Correct? A. Yes. . . . By Mr. Nabhan: I'm sorry. He paid one half of the cost of the preparation of the lease."
The lease is obviously drawn from a lessor's point of view. After reserving a total rent of $120,000 over a period of 5 years, it allows the lessor to treat the lessees as in breach of their covenants and conditions if "in his sole opinion [the lessor] deems ...