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WILLIAM DONER v. JOWITT AND RODGERS CO. (03/16/79)

decided: March 16, 1979.

WILLIAM DONER, APPELLANT,
v.
JOWITT AND RODGERS CO., APPELLEE



No. 72 January Term 1978, Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court at No. 726 October Term 1977 affirming the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia at No. 2880 January Term 1971.

COUNSEL

Avram G. Adler, Stanley P. Kops, Philadelphia, for appellant.

John J. O'Brien, Jr., Elizabeth Iannelli, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Larsen, J., dissents. O'Brien, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Eagen

[ 484 Pa. Page 497]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Plaintiff-appellant, William Doner, began an action in trespass for damages resulting from personal injuries allegedly suffered in January of 1969, as a result of a fall on the premises of defendant-appellee, Jowitt and Rodgers Company [hereinafter: Jowitt]. The action was instituted by the filing of a summons in January of 1971. The complaint was filed in February of 1971. On February 1, 1974, Jowitt filed interrogatories addressed to Doner. Doner did not object to or answer the interrogatories.

On April 7, 1976, notice of intention to file a praecipe and interlocutory order for sanctions was served by Jowitt on counsel for Doner, Stanley P. Kops of Freedman, Borowsky and Lorry, 8th Floor, Lafayette Building, Philadelphia. On

[ 484 Pa. Page 498]

April 22, 1976, an interlocutory order was entered by the prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia directing Doner to answer the interrogatories within thirty days or suffer a judgment of non pros.

On April 23, 1976, Jowitt's counsel wrote Kops at the Rohm and Haas Building, Philadelphia, and, inter alia, stated:

"As agreed, if Answers to Interrogatories cannot be filed by thirty (30) days from April 22, 1976 due to the confusion as to exactly which law firm is handling this file on behalf of [Doner], you will call this office prior to May 22, 1976 to request a reasonable extension of time to file the Answers. Otherwise, a judgment of non pros may be entered against [Doner]."*fn*

On May 21, 1976, Kops wrote Jowitt's counsel confirming a telephone conversation of that date wherein the request for a reasonable extension of time to file answers to the interrogatories was made in order to determine if Kops still was representing Doner. On June 21, 1976, Kops again wrote Jowitt's counsel confirming a telephone conversation of that date ...


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