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FREEZER STORAGE v. ARMSTRONG CORK CO. ET AL. (06/24/75)

decided: June 24, 1975.

FREEZER STORAGE, INC., APPELLANT,
v.
ARMSTRONG CORK CO. ET AL.



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Allegheny County, April T., 1974, No. 3732, in case of Freezer Storage, Inc. v. Armstrong Cork Co., and Acands, Inc.

COUNSEL

John E. Evans, Jr., with him Evans, Ivory & Evans, for appellant.

Ronald W. Frank, with him Robert J. Pfaff, and Buchanan, Ingersoll, Rodewald, Kyle & Buerger, and Egler & Reinstadtler, for appellee.

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

Author: Jacobs

[ 234 Pa. Super. Page 443]

In December of 1965, Pennsylvania joined a growing number of jurisdictions when its legislature passed a statute limiting the liability of persons furnishing the design or construction of improvements to real property.

[ 234 Pa. Super. Page 444]

The Pennsylvania statute*fn1 provides that no action shall be brought against such persons more than 12 years after the completion of any such improvement.*fn2 In this case we are squarely presented with a three-pronged attack upon the constitutionality of the statute as violating first, the Pennsylvania constitutional proscription against special legislation;*fn3 second, the correlative equal protection clause of the United States Constitution;*fn4 and last, the due process clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution.*fn5

The facts of the case reveal that the appellee, Armstrong Cork Co., undertook in 1956 to design, plan and install a low room temperature warehouse in a plant owned by the appellant, Freezer Storage, Inc. Appellant's complaint alleges that Armstrong was negligent in the designing, planning and installation of insulation material and that the appellant did not and could not reasonably have had knowledge of that negligence before 1970 when defects in the workmanship became apparent. Armstrong filed preliminary objections to the complaint alleging that the 1965 Act "destroyed" the appellant's right of action.*fn6 These preliminary objections were sustained by the court and, as to the appellee, the complaint was dismissed.*fn7

[ 234 Pa. Super. Page 445]

The Act in question provides in pertinent part that

"[n]o action . . . to recover damages:

(1) [f]or any deficiency in the design, planning, supervision or observation of construction, or construction of an ...


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