Appeal from the Decree of January 17, 1986 in the Court of Common Pleas of Crawford, County, Civil Division, at No. EQ. 1985 - 17.
Frank L. Kroto, Jr., Erie, for appellant.
Bruce W. Bernard, Erie, for appellees.
Watkins, Hoffman and Hester, JJ.
[ 357 Pa. Super. Page 458]
This is an appeal from an order of the trial court compelling appellant, Queen Cutlery, to permit appellees, Frank and Christine Snyder, entry into appellant's premises for the express and limited purpose of inspecting, testing, photographing and measuring or video-taping appellant's blade polishing machine. Appellant contends that (1) the lower court erred in ordering the inspection of appellant's premises and (2) appellee's claim is barred by the doctrine of laches. Appellant's arguments are without merit and we, therefore, affirm the order of the lower court.
In 1974 one of the appellees, Frank Snyder, suffered injuries to both his hands through the use of a blade polishing machine while in the employ of appellant. Appellees' counsel advised them that their sole remedy was to proceed against his employer through the Workman's Compensation Act, 77 P.S. §§ 1-1601. Appellees did so and recovered. Eleven years later, appellees were advised that at the time of the injuries they also had a possible product's liability action against the manufacturer of the blade polishing machine. Appellees retained present counsel for the purpose of pursuing a legal malpractice claim against their former attorney for failure to investigate and inform appellees of possible product's liability and loss of consortium claims. After filing such a claim against their former attorney, appellees filed the instant complaint in equity pursuant to Pa.R.Civ.P. 4009(c) seeking an order forbidding
[ 357 Pa. Super. Page 459]
appellant from removing, destroying or altering the blade polishing machine in question and permitting appellees access to appellant's plant to inspect the machinery and conduct other discovery relevant to the underlying legal malpractice claim.*fn1
The lower court entered the following order:
Plaintiffs will be given permission to enter Queen's plant at 507 Chestnut Street, Titusville, Pennsylvania, for a period not to exceed three hours to inspect, test, photograph, measure or videotape Defendant Queen's blade polishing machine which was used by the Plaintiff, Frank Snyder, when injured. If said exact machine cannot be precisely identified, then said inspection may be made of a substantially similar machine. Plaintiffs' attorney, an expert, Plaintiff Frank Snyder and a photographer will be allowed to be present during said inspection. Entry into said plant shall be at a reasonable time of day.
This Order is entered without prejudice to the right of the Plaintiffs to petition for additional limited discovery after entry into said plant and ...