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BOYD ET AL. v. SHELL OIL COMPANY (11/26/73)

decided: November 26, 1973.

BOYD ET AL., APPELLANTS,
v.
SHELL OIL COMPANY



Appeals from decrees of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, Nos. 3189 and 3190 of 1972, in case of Alexander Boyd, Anna Emery Boyd, Jackson Herr Boyd v. Shell Oil Company and Allstate Construction Company; Union Deposit Corporation v. Shell Oil Company and Allstate Construction Company.

COUNSEL

Walter K. Swartzkopf, Jr., with him Rhoads, Sinon & Reader, for appellants.

Lee C. Swartz, with him H. Joseph Hepford, and Hepford, Zimmerman & Swartz, for appellees.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Jones.

Author: Jones

[ 454 Pa. Page 375]

These appeals concern a lessee's right, or lack thereof, under certain lease provisions to install automatic car washing facilities in its service stations without the prior consent of the lessors. The pertinent facts can be summarized as follows.

In the latter part of 1968, appellee, Shell Oil Company (Shell), leased two sites from appellants for the purpose of erecting and operating service stations thereon. These leases contained certain requirements and restrictions regarding Shell's construction and use of the premises, namely paragraphs nos. 3, 5 and 8, which require submission to and approval by the lessor of plans and specifications prior to any construction, termination of the construction requirements under any extensions of the lease, and written approval by lessor of any "additional or alternative use" of the premises.*fn1

[ 454 Pa. Page 376]

However, paragraph 8 also gives Shell the right, inter alia, to make "alterations" to the buildings, improvements, and facilities provided that such alterations do not reduce the value or usefulness of the premises.*fn2

In late September 1972, Shell engaged appellee Allstate Construction Company, Inc., to convert the third bay in each service station to permit installation of an automatic car wash facility. This basically involved knocking out the rear walls of these bays, replacing the walls with overhead doors, and installing certain machinery within the bays.

As lessors had not given their approval to this project, they commenced these actions in the Court of

[ 454 Pa. Page 377]

Common Pleas of Dauphin County, seeking both preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against the installation of the automatic car wash facilities. Following a hearing on October 4, 1972, the chancellor refused appellants' requests for preliminary injunctions. Subsequently, the chancellor filed an opinion dismissing the complaints, appellants filed exceptions which the court overruled, and final decrees were entered ...


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