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WEST CHESTER PLAZA ASSOCIATES v. CHESTER ENGINEERS (09/23/83)

filed: September 23, 1983.

WEST CHESTER PLAZA ASSOCIATES
v.
THE CHESTER ENGINEERS, APPELLANT



No. 2053 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from the Order of July 2, 1981 In the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, Civil Division, No. B.S. No. 149 of 1980.

COUNSEL

John R. Merrick, Kennett Square, for appellant.

Richard L. Cantor, Paoli, for appellee.

Cercone, President Judge and McEwen and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Cercone

[ 319 Pa. Super. Page 198]

Appellant, The Chester Engineers, takes this appeal from the order of the lower court denying appellant's petition to open judgment, which was entered by confession by appellant's landlord, West Chester Plaza Associates, appellee.

[ 319 Pa. Super. Page 199]

Appellant argues, inter alia, that there was sufficient evidence presented to raise a question for a jury as to whether appellee-landlord breached its duties under the lease, and thus, that the court erred in refusing to open judgment.*fn1 We agree.

It is the well established rule that to open a confessed judgment, a party must act promptly, allege a meritorious defense, and present sufficient evidence of that defense to require submission of the issues to a jury. Bell Federal Savings & Loan Ass'n of Bellevue v. Laura Lanes, Inc., 291 Pa. Super. 395, 435 A.2d 1285 (1981); Pa.R.Civ.P. 2959. Although at one time it was further required that a party establish equitable considerations sufficient to impress the court with the need for relief, it is now held that equitable considerations are no longer relevant unless related to a particular asserted defense. Bell Federal Savings & Loan Ass'n of Bellevue v. Laura Lanes, Inc., supra; Kardos v. Morris, 470 Pa. 337, 368 A.2d 657 (1977). With this rule firmly in mind, we turn now to the facts of the instant case.

On May 2, 1978, appellant-tenant entered into a lease with appellee-landlord for the rental of office space in West Goshen Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. The leasehold consisted of three offices and a reception area. In an addendum, the lease provided in part:

It is agreed and understood that Lessor shall supply to Lessee all heating, air-conditioning, water, sewer, and any other utilities needed for the comfortable occupation of the demised premise.

Initially, the tenant found the leasehold to be satisfactory. Then, in the fall of 1978, appellant noticed a change in the quality of the air coming into the office. This change apparently coincided with the rental of an adjacent ...


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