Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, at No. 84-12323
Beverly Poling-Kalis, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Robert O. Lampl, Pittsburgh, for appellees.
Beck, Johnson and Montgomery, JJ.
[ 352 Pa. Super. Page 251]
The Appellant, Pittsburgh National Bank, files this appeal from an Order of the lower court which granted the Appellees' petition to open a judgment taken by confession. The judgment was based upon a loan guarantee and was entered after a failure in payments on the loan. After careful review, we are constrained to conclude that the lower court erred in opening the judgment in this case, and we must therefore reverse.
The facts of record may be gleaned from the pleadings and from deposition testimony submitted to the lower court. It shows that the Appellee husband, John R. Larson, set up a meeting at the Appellant Bank with Robert M. Sadler, a Bank official with whom Larson had dealt on several prior
[ 352 Pa. Super. Page 252]
loan transactions. The purpose of the meeting was to secure a loan for Robert McConnell, a business associate of Mr. Larson. At that meeting, a loan of $15,000 was arranged for Mr. McConnell. However, it was understood that the loan had to be guaranteed, and there is no question that Mr. Larson agreed to act as a guarantor and signed an appropriate guarantee agreement at the same meeting.
The issues raised in this case involve the facts surrounding the liability of Mrs. Larson with regard to the loan. It is not disputed that Mrs. Larson's signature is on the same guarantee document that her husband signed. It is also clear that she did not sign the document at the Bank during the meeting, but either had it delivered to her by her husband for signature or received it in the mail from Mr. Sadler. It was agreed by all witnesses that Mr. Sadler never met with her with regard to the guarantee or made any oral or written statements or representations to her with regard to it. It should be noted that the guarantee document signed by both Mr. and Mrs. Larson has prominently printed on its face that it is a guarantee agreement with power to confess judgment, and also, it has information typed at the top to clearly indicate that it relates to a loan to Robert McConnell.
Mrs. Larson testified she did not recall the time or the circumstances of her signing of the guarantee agreement. She testified that she probably signed the document without reading it, and frequently signed business documents for her husband, based upon her trust in him, without any real examination or attempt to understand them.*fn1
[ 352 Pa. Super. Page 253]
There was a disagreement in the testimony as to the factual circumstances surrounding the loan. Mr. Sadler stated that he told Mr. Larson that he would authorize the unsecured loan to Mr. McConnell only upon a joint guarantee of Mr. and Mrs. Larson. Mr. Larson denied this and also denied that he had delivered the guarantee agreement to his wife, as asserted by Sadler. The Larsons claimed that the guarantee must have been sent to Mrs. Larson in the mail by Sadler ...