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JAMES ALSTON v. PHILADELPHIA ELECTRIC COMPANY (12/28/84)

filed: December 28, 1984.

JAMES ALSTON
v.
PHILADELPHIA ELECTRIC COMPANY, APPELLANT



No. 00971 Philadelphia 1983, APPEAL FROM THE ORDER ENTERED MARCH 17, 1983 IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF PHILADELPHIA COUNTY, CIVIL NO. 438 MAY TERM 1974

COUNSEL

John J. Tinaglia, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Alan M. Feldman, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Cirillo, Olszewski and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Cirillo

[ 337 Pa. Super. Page 49]

James Alston, appellee, suffered severe and permanent injury from third-degree burns sustained when his attempt to install a flagpole was abruptly curtailed by the pole's contact with high-tension wires owned by appellant, Philadelphia Electric Company. Appellee's case was dismissed for failure of his counsel, Stanley M. Poplow, to take action on his behalf from March 5, 1975, until January 2, 1979. On June 1, 1982, Mr. Poplow was discharged and new counsel retained. Appellee's present counsel, Alan M. Feldman, learned the procedural history of the case and filed a petition for reinstatement on June 16, 1982. The petition was granted by the court en banc on March 10, 1983. This appeal followed.

Appellant contends that the trial court en banc abused its discretion in granting appellee's petition. We affirm the trial court en banc. Given the compelling reason for counsel's neglect, we cannot deprive this litigant of his day in court.

It is well established that the trial court is vested with the equitable power to grant a petition to reinstate a cause of action if there is a showing of good cause for failure to prosecute. Good cause may be shown if the following conditions are satisfied:

(1) the petition has been promptly filed; (2) a meritorious defense can be shown;*fn* (3) the failure to appear can be excused. A lower court's ruling opening or refusing to open will not be reversed unless there has been an error of law or a clear, manifest abuse of discretion. Kraynick v. Hertz, 443 Pa. 105, 277 A.2d 144 (1971); Fox v. Mellon, 438 Pa. 364, 264 A.2d 623 (1970); Atlas Aluminum Corporation v. Methods Research Products Co., 420 Pa. 407,

[ 337 Pa. Super. Page 50218]

A.2d 244 (1966); Walters v. Harleysville Mutual Casualty Co., 417 Pa. 438, 207 A.2d 852 (1965).

Balk v. Ford Motor Company, 446 Pa. 137, 140, 285 A.2d 128, 130-131 (1971). See also Robert W. Schultz v. Erie Insurance Exchange, 505 Pa. 90, 477 A.2d 471 (1984); Lincoln Bank v. C & H Agency, Inc., 500 Pa. 294, 456 A.2d 136 (1982); Queen City Electric Supply Co. v. Soltis Electric Co., 491 Pa. 354, 421 A.2d 174 (1980); McCoy v. Public Acceptance Corp., 451 Pa. 495, 305 A.2d 698 (1973); Pappas v. Stefan, 451 Pa. 354, 304 A.2d 143 (1973); Goldstein v. Graduate Hospital of University of Pennsylvania, 441 Pa. 179, 272 A.2d 472 (1971); Stephens v. Bartholomew, 422 Pa. 311, 220 A.2d 617 (1966); Thorn v. Borough of Clearfield, 420 Pa. 584, 218 A.2d 298 (1966); Autologic Inc. v. Cristinzio Movers, 333 Pa. Super. 173, 481 A.2d 1362 (1984); M.N.C. Corp. v. Mount Lebanon Medical Center, Inc., 334 Pa. Super. 359, 483 A.2d 490 (1984); Chervenak, Keane & Co. v. Hotel Rittenhouse Associates, 328 Pa. Super. 365, 477 A.2d 487 (1984); American Express Co. v. Burgis, 328 Pa. Super. 167, 476 A.2d 944 (1984); J. Rusiski v. M. Pribonic, 326 Pa. Super. 545, 474 A.2d 624 (1984); Steinberg v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 325 Pa. Super. 189, 472 A.2d 1072 (1984); Wurster v. Peters, 318 Pa. Super. 46, 464 A.2d 510 (1983); Bottero v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., 316 Pa. Super. 62, 462 A.2d 793 (1983); Snellbaker v. Herrmann, 315 Pa. Super. 520, 462 A.2d 713 (1983); First National Bank of Fryburg v. Kriebel, 311 Pa. Super. 428,

[ 337 Pa. Super. Page 51457]

A.2d 961 (1983); Vorhauer v. Miller, 311 Pa. Super. 395, 457 A.2d 944 (1983); Paules v. Sminkey, 290 Pa. Super. 223, 434 A.2d 724 (1981); Lincoln Bank v. Kelly, 282 Pa. Super. 261, 422 A.2d 1106 (1980); Faulks v. Papo Bar, Inc., 280 Pa. Super. 454, 421 A.2d 810 (1980); Tenreed Corp. v. Philadelphia Folding Box Co., 256 Pa. Super. 49, 389 A.2d 594 (1978); Dupree v. Lee, 241 Pa. Super. 259, 361 A.2d 331 (1976); Hersch v. Clapper, 232 Pa. Super. 550, 335 A.2d 738 (1975); Johnson v. Mulhall, 230 Pa. Super. 183, 326 A.2d 439 (1974); Boyles v. ...


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