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BAHLEDA v. HANKISON CORPORATION (06/21/74)

decided: June 21, 1974.

BAHLEDA, APPELLANT,
v.
HANKISON CORPORATION



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, May T., 1972, No. 255, in case of Augustine M. Bahleda, Jr. v. Hankison Corporation.

COUNSEL

Henry H. Wallace, with him Wallace & Joyce, for appellant.

William C. Hurtt, with him Stephen D. Marriner, and Cleland, Hurtt and Witt, and McCreight, Marriner and McCreight, for appellee.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J.

Author: Hoffman

[ 228 Pa. Super. Page 155]

This is an appeal from the order of the court below sustaining the appellee's preliminary objections to appellant's complaint in trespass.

The complaint averred that the appellant began employment with the appellee (Hankison) under an oral contract in 1967. The parties executed a contract in 1969, under seal, by which appellant agreed, inter alia, that he would not directly or indirectly engage in a business in which Hankison was engaged for a period of two years. The agreement contained no geographical limitation.

In September of 1971, appellant notified Hankison Corp. that he had obtained employment with a competitor, Kellogg-American Corporation, and was, therefore, terminating his employment with the Hankison Corp. Hankison then notified Kellogg that appellant was not free to take employment with it by virtue of the covenant not to compete. Because of Hankison's action, appellant claimed damages for the loss of employment with Kellogg. He also claimed he was entitled to relief under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act*fn1 declaring the agreement to be null and void, and unenforceable.

Hankison filed preliminary objections to the complaint, alleging that the appellant failed to state a cause of action in that the agreement (affixed to the complaint) prohibited appellant from obtaining employment with a competitor; that the contract was valid on its face; and that by virtue of the contract, Hankison's conduct was privileged. After appellant was given several opportunities to amend the complaint which he refused to do, the preliminary objections were sustained and the complaint dismissed.

[ 228 Pa. Super. Page 156]

Appellant's cause of action in trespass is grounded upon ยง 766 of the Restatement of the Law of Torts*fn2 which provides:

". . . one who, without a privilege to do so, induces or otherwise purposely causes ...


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