No. 02356 Philadelphia, 1982, Appeal from the Order entered August 6, 1982 in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Civil Division, No. 82-5719
Stanley M. Shingles, Philadelphia, for appellants.
Alan B. Epstein, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Spaeth P.j., and Beck and Tamilia, JJ. Spaeth, P.j., filed a dissenting statement.
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This is an appeal from a denial of appellants' request for injunctive relief seeking to enjoin its former employee, Selma Carson, from invoking her right to arbitrate under the arbitration provision in the parties' 1972 employment contract.
At the outset, we note that our review of a decree denying a preliminary injunction is limited to a consideration of whether there were any apparently reasonable grounds for the action of the court below. Hospital Association of Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth Department of Public Welfare, 495 Pa. 255, 433 A.2d 450 (1981); Pennsylvania Securities Commission v. Continental Manufacturing Company, 465 Pa. 411, 350 A.2d 831 (1976); Duggan v. 807 Liberty Avenue Inc., 447 Pa. 281, 288 A.2d 750 (1972); Jostan Aluminum Products Company, Inc. v. Mount Carmel District Industrial Fund, 256 Pa. Super. 353, 389 A.2d 1160 (1978). We will affirm the decision of the court below unless the record reveals a clear or manifest abuse of discretion or palpable legal error committed by the lower court. Duggan v. 807 Liberty Avenue, supra; Stander v. Kelley, 432 Pa. 1, 246 A.2d 649 (1968); Diehl v. Lockard, 254 Pa. Super. 111, 385 A.2d 550 (1978). Because we hold that the lower court did not err in concluding that appellant failed to meet its burden of establishing a substituted contract, we affirm.
In November, 1972, Carson contracted with appellant, Buttonwood Farms, to serve as its Executive Director and Chief Administrative Officer. The contract entered into provided Carson a minimum annual salary of $20,000, fringe benefits, retirement compensation and life insurance, and covered all terms and conditions of her employment, including a right to severance benefits. The contract detailed at paragraph five sets forth conditions of breach that would result in involuntary termination and forfeiture of compensation:
5. Forfeiture of compensation to EMPLOYEE subsequent to termination shall result solely upon the following
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conditions of breach by EMPLOYEE and for no other reason or reasons:
a) Conviction of EMPLOYEE for any felony in any court of record;
b) Intentional misappropriation of EMPLOYER's funds and assets as may be determined ...