Appeal from the Order of February 5, 1985, in the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Civil Division, at No. 1982-C-726.
Robert M. Davison, Easton, for appellants.
Maria C. Mullane, Allentown, for appellee.
Spaeth, President Judge, and Hoffman and Hester, JJ.
[ 346 Pa. Super. Page 495]
This is an appeal from an order denying appellants' motion to remove the non-suit which had been entered at the end of their case as plaintiffs in an action for personal injury. We find no error in entry of the non-suit, and affirm the order.
Appellants are a welder with forty years' experience (hereinafter, "appellant") and his wife. Appellant had been acquainted with Mr. Trumbauer, president of appellee corporation, for many years, and had performed various work
[ 346 Pa. Super. Page 496]
for him in exchange for auto parts and services. Appellant was engaged to repair a leaking steel tank which was part of appellee's air compressor.
Appellant first removed the motor and compressor from the tank, then visually examined the tank and noticed several pinholes near the bottom. He tapped the tank with a hammer to determine its thickness. As a result, the pinholes were enlarged to about the thickness of a toothpick. He thought the two small holes may have been caused by rust. He tried to look inside the tank but could not see anything since the opening was too small.
After preparing the surface of the tank, appellant brazed the area he thought was leaking, using a process similar to welding. After his work cooled, he checked for leaks by applying air pressure to the tank while brushing soapy water on the surface he had brazed. Soap began to bubble around a leak he had missed. He repeated the brazing process on this leak.
Appellant reapplied pressure to the tank to test it again, and it exploded, causing serious personal injuries.
At his negligence trial, appellant proved additional facts. The tank which exploded had been purchased by appellee around 1953. It had been used to hold compressed air to operate hoists and tools in the garage for about twenty years, when a larger tank had been purchased. Mr. Trumbauer drained the tank of moisture almost every day, a normal maintenance procedure, and continued to drain it even when it was in storage after the larger tank ...