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PRINTED TERRY FINISHING COMPANY INC. v. CITY LEBANON AND PITOMETER ASSOCIATES (03/09/79)

decided: March 9, 1979.

PRINTED TERRY FINISHING COMPANY INC.
v.
CITY OF LEBANON AND PITOMETER ASSOCIATES, INC., APPELLANTS



No. 1642 October Term, 1978, On Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County, Dated February 28, 1978, Civil Action - No. 35, December Term, 1970.

COUNSEL

George E. Christianson, Lebanon, for appellants.

Stephen A. Cozen, Philadelphia, and with him, Bernerd A. Bugzon, Lebanon, for appellee.

Cercone, Hester and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Hoffman

[ 264 Pa. Super. Page 193]

Appellant contends that interest on a reduced verdict obtained after a new trial on damages should not run from

[ 264 Pa. Super. Page 194]

    the date of the original verdict when the new trial was necessitated by the misconduct of appellee's counsel. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the order of the court below.

The case is a continuation of Printed Terry Finishing Company, Inc. v. City of Lebanon, 247 Pa. Super. 277, 372 A.2d 460 (1977), wherein the facts are set forth in greater detail. To summarize, after the jury returned a verdict in favor of appellee, Printed Terry, as to liability, a partner of the law firm representing appellee*fn* was seen shaking or holding the hand of a juror and whispering in the juror's ear or kissing her on the cheek. Although the court conducted a limited inquiry, he never received a satisfactory explanation of this encounter. However, he refused to declare a mistrial. On October 31, 1973, the jury returned a verdict of $534,249.28 against both Pitometer Associates, Inc., appellant herein, and the City of Lebanon. We held that by failing to obtain a satisfactory explanation of the encounter between the juror and appellee's attorney the lower court abused its discretion, and we affirmed the verdict as to liability but remanded for a new trial limited to the issue of damages. Id. On December 16, 1977, a second jury returned a verdict of $467,692.78, which amount is 87.54% of or $66,556.50 less than the original verdict. At no time prior to this second verdict did appellant tender any amount to appellee. On February 28, 1978, the lower court molded the verdict by ordering the addition of 6% simple interest on the second verdict from October 31, 1973, the date of the original verdict, for a judgment of $591,841.43. Post-verdict motions were denied. On April 11, 1978, the parties stipulated that the only issue on appeal would be appellant's share of the interest from October 31, 1973 to December 16, 1977, which amount is $57,936.27.*fn1 On May 12, 1978, judgment of $591,841.43 was entered in accordance with the February 28, 1978 order. This appeal followed.

[ 264 Pa. Super. Page 195]

Appellant contends that interest on $467,692.78, the reduced verdict returned after a new trial on damages, should run from December 16, 1977, the date of that verdict, and not from October 31, 1973, the date of the original verdict. Under the particular circumstances of this case, we agree.

[ 264 Pa. Super. Page 196]

The Act of April 6, 1859, P.L. 381, § 1; 12 P.S. § ...


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