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PRINCETON SPORTSWEAR CORPORATION v. H & M ASSOCIATES (09/29/86)

filed: September 29, 1986.

PRINCETON SPORTSWEAR CORPORATION
v.
H & M ASSOCIATES, SIDNEY BECKER AND LEONARD BECKER, APPELLANTS



Appeal from the Order entered July 1, 1983 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil, No. 762 April Term, 1978.

COUNSEL

Robert H. Malis, Philadelphia, for appellants.

Lewis Kates, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Spaeth, President Judge,*fn* and Beck and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Hoffman

[ 358 Pa. Super. Page 327]

This case is before us on remand from our Supreme Court for consideration of appellant-lessors' remaining contentions. In our earlier decision, we held that an exculpatory clause in the parties' lease agreement was valid and enforceable and, accordingly, reversed the trial court's order

[ 358 Pa. Super. Page 328]

    entering judgment in favor of appellee-lessee and against appellants in the amount of $600,000.00. 335 Pa. Superior Ct. 381, 484 A.2d 185 (1984). In a plurality opinion, our Supreme Court reversed. 510 Pa. 189, 507 A.2d 339 (1985).

In the opinion announcing the judgment of the court, Justice Larsen, joined by Justices Flaherty and Zappala, agreed that the exculpatory clause was valid and enforceable, but found that we had disregarded the trial court's findings that appellants' conduct negligently caused appellee's injury, findings making the clause inapplicable pursuant to an addendum to the lease. Chief Justice Nix, in a concurring opinion joined by Justice McDermott, found the exculpatory clause, which provided for a release from liability for damages or injury caused by fire, inapplicable on the basis that the fire was not the cause of appellee's injury, but rather appellants' refusal to respond after the fire. Justice Hutchinson, also concurring and joined by Justice Papadakos, found the exculpatory clause inapplicable on the ground that it referred only to the demised premises in which the fire did not occur. All the justices agreed, however, that we should consider the remaining contentions advanced by appellants.

The relevant procedural history and facts have already been set forth by both our Supreme Court and this Court, and we will not restate them here. See 510 Pa. at 190, 507 A.2d at 340 (opinion announcing the judgment of the court); 335 Pa. Superior Ct. at 383-85, 484 A.2d at 186-87. We will proceed, then, to address those of appellants' remaining contentions that are properly before us. For the following reasons, we affirm in part and reverse in part the trial court's order and remand this case for further proceedings consistent with this memorandum.

Appellants first contend that they are not proper parties to this action as agents of the lessor, Man-Tex Clothes, because they affirmatively disclosed its status as lessor to appellee. The trial court had "conclude[d] that under a theory of undisclosed agency [appellants] should be the parties held in the event that liability is established." Lower

[ 358 Pa. Super. Page 329]

Court Opinion at 6. We find it unnecessary to consider the court's rationale in so ruling because we believe that the court's result is correct on another ground. See Green v. Juneja, 337 Pa. Superior Ct. 460, 464 n. 5, 487 A.2d 36, 39 n. 5 (1985) (a reviewing court may affirm ...


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