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HERMAN SNYDER v. MELVINA GOLDEN AND STEPHINIA WELLS (10/19/84)

filed: October 19, 1984.

HERMAN SNYDER, T/D/B/A HERMAN SNYDER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY,
v.
MELVINA GOLDEN AND STEPHINIA WELLS, IN HER OWN RIGHT, AND AS HEIR OF THE ESTATE OF JOHN WELLS, DECEASED, APPELLANTS



No. 375 Pittsburgh, 1983, Appeal from the Judgment of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division of Allegheny County, at No. G.D. 80-12447

COUNSEL

James S. Ehrman, Pittsburgh, for appellants.

Seymour A. Sikov, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Tamilia, Johnson and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Montgomery

[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 282]

The instant appeal by the Defendant-Appellant*fn1 arises following the entry of a judgment by the lower court en banc, which dismissed all exceptions filed by the Appellant after a non-jury verdict for the Plaintiff-Appellee. We can discern no error by the lower court in the dismissal of the exceptions filed by the Appellant.

The Appellee, a general contractor, filed this mechanic's lien action against the Appellant, seeking a recovery for renovation work completed at Appellant's premises. The record shows that on or about March 17, 1980, the Appellee entered into an agreement to perform construction work necessary to restore the Appellant's property to a habitable condition after a fire. The Appellant claimed that the Appellee promised to restore the property for a price not to

[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 283]

    exceed $25,000.00. The Appellee denied that such a maximum was agreed to, and contended that because of difficulty in determining the extent of work to be done, the contract price was to be determined upon the completion of the work. No written contract existed between the parties covering the work in issue. The parties agreed that the Appellant had paid a total of $29,000.00 to the Appellee during the course of the construction. The issue of the amount of the balance due, if any, was the primary issue to be resolved in the case.

The lower court determined that the Appellee was entitled to recover the amount of $27,024.00 plus interest. The Appellant raises five contentions of error, which except as otherwise discussed herein, were properly preserved for appellate review by timely objections and written exceptions in the lower court.

First, the Appellant argues that the lower court erred in finding that an implied contract existed between the parties. The Appellant contends that the terms of discussions between the parties that the building would be restored "to a habitable condition" were too indefinite for the lower court to determine that any implied contract existed. The lower court concluded that despite the fact that some terms were not definite, the parties understood that a significant amount of work was to be done, and that it would be difficult to determine the exact amount to be paid for the work until after it was completed because the fire damage was so extensive. The trial judge determined that the Appellant had agreed to pay for the various extra parts of the project which the Appellee indicated had been the subject of agreement between the parties. It is apparent that the lower court was not convinced that the Appellee agreed to limit the total price for the project to $25,000.00. There was abundant evidence in the record, in the form of testimony and documentary evidence, to support the trial judge's findings in those regards. The trial judge, in his opinion, stated that he credited the testimony of the Plaintiff and his witnesses, who testified that a contract for

[ 334 Pa. Super. Page 284]

    the work existed between the parties. It is well-established that a trial judge's findings, in a non-jury case, have the force and affect of a jury's verdict, and will not be disturbed if supported by sufficient evidence. Bigham v. Wenschorf, 295 Pa. Super. 146, 441 ...


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