Plaintiffs' argument of mutual mistake is also without merit. The only mistake in this case was plaintiffs' decision to settle prior to trial and proceed to judgment against Agate Elevator. If plaintiffs were dissatisfied with the offer of settlement of the released defendants, the offer should have been rejected. Instead, plaintiffs, who were represented by an experienced lawyer, determined to release certain defendants for the payment of $69,500. Clearly, the mistake, if any, was unilateral, and with full knowledge of the facts known to all counsel at the time. See RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF CONTRACTS § 154 (1979).
The Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 8326, also undermines plaintiffs' argument of mistake. Section 4 provides that "[a] release by the injured person of one joint tortfeasor, whether before or after judgment, does not discharge the other tort-feasor unless the release so provides. . . ." Here, plaintiffs negotiated agreements that released Donald Carpenter and Bryan Crites as his agent, servant and employee. Since the releases "so provide," the intent of plaintiffs is clear. Hasselrode v. Gnagey, 404 Pa. 549, 172 A.2d 764 (1961). Their complaint of mistake must be rejected.
Plaintiffs' final argument that we should proceed to judgment against Donald Carpenter, determine damages, and credit Carpenter with "his share of the verdict of $9,933" is without merit. See plaintiffs' motion at para. 16. First, Donald Carpenter has not filed a post-trial motion and thus he appears content with the judgment. Second, the release insulates Carpenter from all further liability to plaintiffs. Third, the issue of damages was not submitted to the jury because the jury's resolution of the agency question resolved all pending questions. Fourth, the judgment of July 19, 1984 resolves the cross-claim of Agate Elevator against Donald Carpenter. And, fifth, plaintiffs have no standing to advance the cause of Carpenter, and this court has no reason to determine damages because plaintiffs have been paid by Carpenter, and the remaining tortfeasors as required by the releases.
In summary, plaintiffs' claim of fraud and mistake is an attempt to extricate themselves from a situation that they have created. Apparently, they are dissatisfied with the settlement of $69,500, or the finding of the jury, or both. As we noted in our opinion of October 1, 1984, the finding of the jury is supported by competent evidence, and there is no justification to set aside the releases. Plaintiffs gambled and lost, and the bargain they struck is neither unconscionable nor unjust.
The motion of plaintiffs to set aside the releases will be denied. An appropriate order will follow.
ORDER OF COURT
AND NOW, this 5th day of November, 1984,
IT IS ORDERED that the motion of plainiffs to set aside joint tortfeasors releases to Donald Carpetner and Bryan Crites be and hereby is denied.
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