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HOFFMAN v. HIBBS (09/22/75)

decided: September 22, 1975.

HOFFMAN, APPELLANT,
v.
HIBBS



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, June T., 1970, No. 3672, in case of Sigmund Hoffman v. Charles C. Hibbs.

COUNSEL

George M. Bobrin, and Bobrin and Land, for appellant.

John J. O'Brien, Jr., for appellee.

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

Author: Jacobs

[ 235 Pa. Super. Page 471]

In this appeal we must determine whether the lower court properly entered judgment on the pleadings against appellant on the basis of the statute of limitations.

[ 235 Pa. Super. Page 472]

The present lawsuit was commenced on June 17, 1970, when appellant, Sigmund Hoffman, filed a complaint in trespass. The complaint alleged that on October 11, 1968, the defendant represented himself as Sigmund Hoffman and used the name Sigmund Hoffman while dealing with a Mr. and Mrs. Lewis who were insured by the company which employed appellant. Because of defendant's alleged outrageous behavior, Mr. Lewis's heart condition was aggravated and suit was commenced by the Lewises against appellant's company naming appellant as the representative responsible for the injury. The Philadelphia Inquirer also published a ruling by the judge handling the case which named appellant as the representative who caused the injury. Appellant alleged that because of defendant's unauthorized representation of himself as appellant and use of appellant's name, appellant suffered injury to his name and reputation and has been disgraced and exposed to contempt and ridicule causing him grievous physical and mental suffering.

On January 11, 1971, appellant's counsel filed with the court a petition for major case listing in which the action was entitled one in "Defamation."*fn1 Defendant thereafter filed an amended answer stating in new matter that the one-year statute of limitations for defamation*fn2 had expired prior to the commencement of appellant's action.

The court below, per Judge Sporkin, granted judgment on the pleadings in favor of the defendant on the basis of the statute of limitations. However, on October 5, 1972, Judge Sporkin vacated that judgment and on May 18, 1973, entered on order allowing appellant to

[ 235 Pa. Super. Page 473]

    amend his complaint to change the form of action from defamation to invasion of privacy, for which the statute of limitations is two years.*fn3

Appellant consequently filed on May 29, 1973, an amended complaint entitling the pleading: "Amended Complaint in Trespass (Action in Invasion of Privacy)". The amended complaint contained the same factual averments found in the original complaint but in paragraph 10 appellant claimed in addition to other injuries that his "right to privacy was wrongfully invaded." Defendant subsequently filed another answer alleging in new matter that the two-year statute of limitations for invasion of privacy had elapsed prior to the filing of the amended complaint. Judgment on the pleadings was again requested by defendant. On September 4, 1974, judgment on the pleadings was entered against appellant by ...


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