No. 375 April Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division of Allegheny County, at No. GD 79-2926.
George E. Ewing, Pittsburgh, pro se.
Frederick N. Egler, Jr., Pittsburgh, for appellee.
Price, Brosky and Montgomery, JJ.
[ 305 Pa. Super. Page 488]
This appeal arises out of an action in Equity which plaintiff-appellant, George E. Ewing, motivated by a complaint and Petition for Special Injunction on February 2, 1979. The action eventually resulted into an adjudication of contempt and a judgment against Mr. Ewing, from which he appeals.
The facts are as follows: The appellant, George Ewing, is an attorney admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and of Allegheny County. Mr. Ewing leased office space at the Equibank Building, Two Oliver Plaza, Pittsburgh from Oliver Realty, the appellees in this action. After Mr. Ewing had fallen behind in his rent, he filed a complaint and a request for an injunction in order to prevent appellees from evicting him or disturbing his possession.
[ 305 Pa. Super. Page 489]
On the same day that the complaint was filed, February 2, 1979, the court (per Watson, J.) set a hearing on plaintiff's petition for February 8, 1979, and temporarily granted the relief sought by Mr. Ewing without prior notice or hearing pending a final judicial order. (R. 15b).
On February 8, 1979, the parties entered into a consent order which was signed by the Honorable Ralph H. Smith, Jr. (R. 16b). The order provided that the February 2, 1979 order restraining appellees from evicting Mr. Ewing was to remain in full force and effect through March 31, 1979, on the condition that Mr. Ewing pay $1,400.00 to appellee Oliver Realty, Inc. by February 12, 1979 and pay an additional $5,639.28 to appellee by March 31, 1979.
Mr. Ewing did issue a check for $1,400.00 during the week of February 12, 1979 but the check was returned by the bank for insufficient funds. Mr. Ewing told Albert Schwacke, an employee of Oliver Realty, that he was aware that the check had been returned due to insufficient funds. (R. 89b-91b). Although there was no evidence offered of any threatened lockout, Mr. Ewing presented another Petition for Special Injunction seeking to extend the injunction already in effect against defendants. (R. 17b). The court, by order of the same day, decreed that the two previous orders of February 2, 1979 and February 8, 1979, were to remain in full force and effect and that Mr. Ewing pay $5,639.28 to appellees by March 31, 1979. A hearing was set for April 5, 1979, in which the permanence of the order would be resolved. Mr. Ewing sent a check for $5,639.28 to appellees but again the check was returned due to insufficient funds.
Appellees decided to take action at this point, and on April 5, 1979, they petitioned the court to issue a rule to show cause why an attachment for contempt of court should not issue against the plaintiff. (R. 28b). Although Mr. Ewing had been served with a subpoena on April 3, 1979 requiring him to attend the hearing, he failed to do so. The court, upon being informed ...