No. 2107 October Term, 1978, Appeal from the Judgment dated June 29, 1978 of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in Civil Action No. 66-1477
Raymond Jenkins, Ambler, for appellants.
Raymond B. Reinl, Willow Grove, appellee.
Spaeth, Stranahan and Sugerman, JJ.*fn*
[ 277 Pa. Super. Page 335]
This is an appeal by Jesse A. and Anna J. Shahboz, the appellants, from the denial of their Motion for Judgment N.O.V. by the court below.
On February 8, 1966, the appellee, Patsy DeSiato, filed a Complaint in Assumpsit which alleged a breach of an oral contract to do masonry work that the parties had entered into on June 12, 1960. The appellants denied the allegations in their Answer and filed New Matter and a Counterclaim alleging that the appellee breached the contract and thereby caused the appellants to incur additional expenses and a loss of profits in operating their motel. The appellee denied these allegations in an Answer to appellants' Counterclaim that was filed on November 14, 1966.
The case appears to have remained dormant for the next five years until June 19, 1971 when counsel for both parties signed a praecipe to place the case on the pre-trial list.*fn1 However, that praecipe was either not filed or filed and misplaced. In 1974 another praecipe was filed and a pre-trial conference was held on October 2, 1974. The parties agreed to submit the matter to an arbitration hearing.
On February 11, 1975, an arbitration panel awarded a verdict to the appellee for $2835.00 plus 6% interest from December 8, 1960, the date of the breach. On February 28, 1975, the appellants appealed the arbitrator's award to the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County and filed a praecipe to have the case put on the trial list.
The trial began on June 23, 1975, more than fourteen years after the cause of action accrued and more than nine years after the Complaint had been filed. At the close of the appellee's case, the appellants submitted a Motion for a Compulsory Non-suit contending that the appellee had failed
[ 277 Pa. Super. Page 336]
to prove a prima facie case*fn2 and that the appellants had been prejudiced by the appellee's failure to bring the case to trial with reasonable promptness.*fn3 That motion was denied. The jury rendered a verdict of $4000.00 for the appellee and a verdict against the appellants on the counterclaim.
In a Motion for Judgment N.O.V. the appellants requested the court below to grant a non pros nunc pro tunc. The lower court denied ...