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WILLIAM O. HOYER AND VIRGINIA A. HOYER v. MURRAY B. FRAZEE (01/13/84)

filed: January 13, 1984.

WILLIAM O. HOYER AND VIRGINIA A. HOYER, APPELLANTS,
v.
MURRAY B. FRAZEE, JR. AND SWOPE & FRAZEE



No. 9 Harrisburg 1982, Appeal from the Judgment of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Adams County at No. 196 February Term 1978.

COUNSEL

Thomas A. Beckley, Harrisburg, for appellants.

Henry O. Heiser, III, Gettysburg, for appellees.

Cercone, President Judge, and Wickersham and Montemuro, JJ.

Author: Wickersham

[ 323 Pa. Super. Page 423]

Appellants William and Virginia Hoyer have taken this appeal from a determination by the Adams County Court of Common Pleas, Judge Keith B. Quigley specially presiding, that appellees Murray B. Frazee and Swope & Frazee were not liable for damages resulting from an error in the sale of land. This litigation began when the Hoyers filed a complaint in trespass and assumpsit against their attorney Murray B. Frazee and his law firm, Swope & Frazee, alleging that Frazee's negligence caused the Hoyers to purchase a thirty-three (33) acre parcel of land rather than the forty-five (45) acre parcel the Hoyers believed they were buying. The Hoyers also sued the seller of the property and the seller's attorneys, but after procedural maneuvers irrelevant to us now, the seller and its lawyers were dropped from the suit.

The matter was tried before the Honorable Keith B. Quigley, sitting without a jury. Judge Quigley made the following factual findings:

On July 23, 1973, plaintiffs executed articles of agreement offering to buy the land from the estate of Gladys J. Berry, deceased, which land was described as containing 45 acres, more or less.

At the time of this transaction, plaintiffs were residents of New York State. On or about August 3, 1973, they retained defendant attorneys to perform an examination record title and to represent plaintiffs in the closing of the sale.

According to the terms of the articles of agreement, the seller was to do a survey of the 45 acres. However, the estate did not agree to this provision and amended the agreement to provide that the sale would be accomplished with the use of an existing survey and a new survey to define the boundary where the subject property had been subdivided. Plaintiffs responded that this would be acceptable only if the existing survey were "certified."

[ 323 Pa. Super. Page 424]

In a letter dated August 21, 1973, Defendant Frazee indicated to the plaintiffs that he anticipated no difficulty with plaintiff's requirements as to the survey.

A subsequent letter from Defendant Frazee, dated September 12, 1973, advised plaintiffs that defendant attorneys had compared the description of the land in the deed with existing surveys as well as with the description in the Mapping Department in the Adams County Courthouse. Defendants also noted that the description was satisfactory by local standards and that they, the defendants, had no hesitancy in certifying the title. While it was pointed out that a title insurance company would insist on an exception to the ...


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