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COPPER PLUMBING v. MACIOCE (09/19/73)

decided: September 19, 1973.

COPPER PLUMBING, INC.
v.
MACIOCE, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1966, No. 2816, in case of Copper Plumbing, Inc. v. Domenic Macioce, d/b/a Robert Construction Company, Robert Builders, Inc., and Transamerica Insurance Company.

COUNSEL

Emil W. Herman, with him Don S. Carpenter, and Rothman, Gordon, Foreman & Groudine, for appellant.

Bernard J. Sweer, for appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, Cercone, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J. Dissenting Opinion by Spaeth, J. Spaulding and Cercone, JJ., join in this dissenting opinion.

Author: Hoffman

[ 225 Pa. Super. Page 237]

In this appeal from an order refusing to grant a new trial, appellant contends that the trial judge erred in limiting the cross-examination of appellee's witness.

The appellant was a general contractor for the construction of three "Winky's Restaurants" in Allegheny County: in Swissvale, Pleasant Hills, and Castle Shannon. The appellee corporation was a plumbing sub-contractor which sued for work performed at the three restaurants.

The appellee's complaint in assumpsit was in two counts: the first for the "inside" plumbing work and the second for the "outside" plumbing work. Appellant's answer admitted an oral contract for the inside work, but did not admit an express contract for the outside work. Instead, the answer alleged that the invoices prepared by appellee did not reflect the prices agreed

[ 225 Pa. Super. Page 238]

    upon for the outside work, and that much of the work, both inside and outside, was either not performed at all or not done according to specifications. Prior to trial, the appellee amended his complaint to exclude any claim for amounts due for outside work at the Swissvale restaurant.

The error complained of relates to the trial judge's refusal to allow appellant's counsel to cross-examine appellee's president with respect to the preparation of invoices for outside work at the Swissvale restaurant. The trial judge sustained the appellee's objection to such examination because the Swissvale contract was not in issue.

The scope and extent of cross-examination traditionally rests within the sound discretion of the trial judge. "[C]onsiderable latitude must be left to the trial judge, and his action will not be reversed in the absence of an abuse of discretion, or unless an obvious disadvantage resulted therefrom to the other party." Woodland v. Philadelphia Transport Co., 428 Pa. 379, 386, 238 A.2d 593, 596 (1968). A review of the record in the instant case discloses no such abuse of discretion and no particular injury or disadvantage to the appellant.

The evidence showed that the appellee's president prepared the invoices for the various contracts on the basis of information provided by employees who either supervised or actually performed the work. Appellant's counsel fully and extensively cross-examined the appellee's representatives concerning every itemized charge contained in the invoices and each element of work claimed to have been completed. With respect to the preparation of the invoices in issue, there was a full development of the manner in which each itemized charge was included in the final invoices ...


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