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RANDOLL PIERCE & ROSEMARY PIERCE v. PHILADELPHIA HOUSING AUTHORITY AND ERNEST DIXON V. ALBERT J. KAYTES & COMPANY (01/11/85)

filed: January 11, 1985.

RANDOLL PIERCE & ROSEMARY PIERCE
v.
PHILADELPHIA HOUSING AUTHORITY AND ERNEST DIXON V. ALBERT J. KAYTES & COMPANY, APPELLANT AND RANDOLL PIERCE & ROSEMARY PIERCE V. SARAH STEINBERG AND ALBERT J. KAYTES & CO., APPELLANT V. PHILADELPHIA HOUSING AUTHORITY



No. 1231 Philadelphia 1983, No. 1232 Philadelphia 1983, Appeal from the Judgment entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County at Nos. 1083 November, 1977 and 545 December, 1977

COUNSEL

Alton G. Grube, Sellersville, for appellants (1231 and 1232).

James M. Marsh, Philadelphia, for Philadelphia Housing, appellees (1231 and 1232).

Cirillo, Olszewski and Montgomery, JJ.

Author: Montgomery

[ 337 Pa. Super. Page 255]

The appeal in this case arises from the lower court's granting of a directed verdict as to one defendant in a consolidated personal injury action involving several defendants. The remaining defendants contested the directed

[ 337 Pa. Super. Page 256]

    verdict by the filing of motions for judgment n.o.v. or a new trial. These motions were denied in the lower court.

The record shows that the Plaintiff, Randoll Pierce, was injured on November 1, 1976, in a fall on a cellar stairway of a single family dwelling located at 2019 North 30th Street in Philadelphia. At the time, Pierce was an employee of a third party, and the purpose of his visit was to conduct repairs on a household appliance. The building was owned at that time by the Defendant-Appellant Sarah Steinberg (hereinafter referred to as "Steinberg"). Albert J. Kaytes & Company (hereinafter referred to as "Kaytes"), another Defendant-Appellant, was Steinberg's agent with respect to the property, and apparently had managerial functions with respect to it.

On December 4, 1968, Kaytes, acting as Steinberg's agent, entered into a lease covering the property, with the Philadelphia Housing Authority (hereinafter referred to as "PHA"), the Defendant-Appellee on this appeal. Details concerning that lease will be more fully discussed later in this Opinion. PHA in turn sub-let the premises to one Ernest Dixon, who lived at the dwelling at the time of the Plaintiff's injuries.

The Plaintiff instituted separate suits against Steinberg and Kaytes, and against PHA, asserting causes of action based upon negligence. In each action, the respective defendant or defendants joined the other or others as additional defendants. The two cases were consolidated for trial. At the conclusion of the presentation of all of the evidence, the court granted a motion by PHA for a directed verdict. Before the case was submitted to the jury, Steinberg and Kaytes settled with the Plaintiff, receiving a release as to all of the Defendants.

The Appellants maintain that the lower court erred in this case in directing a verdict in favor of the Appellee PHA. In Cox v. Equitable Gas Company, 227 Pa. Super. 153, 324 A.2d 516 (1974), our Court reviewed the applicable law, and discussed the standard by which a ...


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