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STEPNOWSKI ET UX. v. AVERY ET UX. (06/24/75)

decided: June 24, 1975.

STEPNOWSKI ET UX., APPELLANTS,
v.
AVERY ET UX.



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, No. 73-14823, in case of Raymond Stepnowski and Helmi Stepnowski, his wife v. Bernard A. Avery and Arlene C. Avery, husband and wife.

COUNSEL

Frank L. Caiola, for appellants.

Leigh P. Narducci, with him McCarthy, King, Narducci & Signore, for appellees.

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

Author: Jacobs

[ 234 Pa. Super. Page 494]

This is an appeal from an order granting a petition to strike a default judgment. The seminal issue which is presented is whether the isolated sale of a personal residence by private individuals who thereafter become nonresidents is sufficient to meet the "doing business" requirement of the Pennsylvania long-arm statute;*fn1 and, if so, whether the exercise of extraterritorial in personam jurisdiction based upon such a sale is consistent with due process requirements.

On August 15, 1973, the appellants, Raymond and Helmi Stepnowski, purchased a house in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, from the appellees who until the time of the transaction used it as their principal dwelling.

[ 234 Pa. Super. Page 495]

After selling their house, the appellees, Bernard and Arlene Avery, moved to Connecticut. The appellants allege that after entering into possession of the house they discovered certain latent defects in the roof and plumbing system which could not have been discovered by a reasonable inspection and which, they allege, had not been disclosed to them by the sellers.

The appellants notified the Averys of these defects and the cost of their repair by letter dated October 24, 1973. The Averys responded by letter denying responsibility and contending that not only were the alleged defects plainly visible but also they were discussed and considered in the negotiated purchase price.

The Stepnowskis filed a Complaint in Assumpsit on December 3, 1973, alleging money due because of the presence of the defects. A default judgment was entered on March 1, 1974, and was eventually stricken by the court on October 17, 1974, for want of proper jurisdiction.

As stated above the question presented is whether the appellees by selling their personal residence have subjected themselves to the jurisdiction of the courts of this ...


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