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ALEXANDER L. RICE v. BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY PENNSYLVANIA (04/14/87)

filed: April 14, 1987.

ALEXANDER L. RICE, APPELLANT,
v.
BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY OF PENNSYLVANIA



Appeal from the Judgment of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Beaver County at No. 1256 of 1984.

COUNSEL

Daniel W. Ernsberger, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Harriet F. Withstandley, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Cirillo, President Judge, and Rowley and Popovich, JJ.

Author: Rowley

[ 362 Pa. Super. Page 313]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This is an appeal from the entry of a summary judgment in favor of Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania. Appellant presents two issues for review. We affirm.

[ 362 Pa. Super. Page 314]

Appellant is a former employee of ARCO, and he received numerous harassing phone calls. After consulting a local police chief and the current Beaver County telephone book which said that "unless that person has first obtained the consent of one or both of the parties" participating in the call, it is a crime for that person to tap the phone, appellant taped some phone calls. Thereafter appellant obtained the consent of his supervisor at ARCO, who himself had obtained the consent of ARCO's in-house counsel, to tape a phone conversation between appellant and a former ARCO employee whom appellant suspected of making the harassing calls. The call was made on ARCO's premises, and thereafter, appellant and his supervisor were fired for illegally taping the phone call with the former employee.

Appellant sued Bell by filing a five count complaint. The second count of the complaint is for negligent rendering of legal advice and counts three and four are for products liability under sections 402A and B of the Restatement (Second) of Torts. After the pleadings were closed, both parties*fn1 moved for summary judgment. Appellant's motion was denied, but Bell's motion was granted as to all counts of the complaint. In this appeal, appellant raises issues only as to counts two, three and four of his complaint.

Appellant first argues that sections 402A and B of the Restatement should be extended to include recovery for non-physical harm such as injury to reputation and wage loss caused by defective products because tort liability in the present case is consistent with the expressed public policy behind the Restatement sections. Bell argues, inter alia,*fn2 that products liability applies only where there is physical harm caused by exposure to a hazardous product and that appellant's economic loss is not property damage

[ 362 Pa. Super. Page 315]

    and therefore not recoverable under a theory of products liability. In entering summary judgment in favor of Bell as to counts three and four of appellant's complaint, the trial court concluded that "the factual situation alleged by [appellant] does not come within the purview of said legal theory" and that ...


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