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CHARLES D. HUGHEY v. ROBERT BEECH ASSOCIATES (10/06/77)

decided: October 6, 1977.

CHARLES D. HUGHEY, APPELLANT,
v.
ROBERT BEECH ASSOCIATES, A/K/A BEECH EMPLOYMENT AGENCY



Appeal from Order of October 9, 1975 and Judgment Entered Thereon on October 17, 1975 of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, County of Allegheny, Pennsylvania, at No. 5178 of 1974.

COUNSEL

Kim Darragh, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Richard F. Welch, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ.

Author: Cercone

[ 250 Pa. Super. Page 8]

This appeal is taken from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, sitting en banc, dismissing plaintiff's exceptions to a non-jury verdict for defendant and entering judgment on that verdict.

[ 250 Pa. Super. Page 9]

Plaintiff-appellant, Charles Hughey, contacted defendant-appellee, Beech Employment Agency, in May of 1973 in response to an advertisement for a "fee paid" job opportunity -- that is, one in which the employer agreed to pay the employment agency's fee. Beech sent appellant to the employer, Thrift Drug Company, which employed him at a starting salary of $10,200.00 a year. Thrift, pursuant to a contract with Beech, paid Beech its fee of $1,224.00. Appellant signed an agreement with Thrift to the effect that he was indebted to Thrift in the amount of $1,224.00, and that the indebtedness would be cancelled at the rate of $306.00 for each three months of employment completed, with the result that the debt would be eradicated at the end of one year's employment.

Appellant's employment began on June 19, 1973 and ended on July 20, 1973, when a back problem he had developed on the job forced him to resign. He paid Thrift $1,224.00 pursuant to his contract and asked Beech for a refund of $1,139.00, the difference between the amount the agency received and the amount it was entitled to under the Act of July 31, 1941, P.L. 616, as amended, 43 P.S. 574(m), effective November 16, 1972, which provides in pertinent part:

"No employment agency shall charge a fee for its services until the applicant has accepted a position. . . .

For a position known to be of a duration of ten (10) weeks or less or for a position that the applicant loses within a period of ten (10) weeks after the starting date, the fee will be a maximum of ten (10%) percent of the amount earned, except if the applicant fails to report as agreed or resigns to accept employment elsewhere, then the agency shall be entitled to its full fee."

When appellee refused to make a refund, appellant brought this assumpsit action. His earnings for the month of his employment amounted to $850.00. The statute appears, therefore, to limit defendant's fee to $85.00, and it makes no difference by whom it is paid. Without reference to ...


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