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LARA v. DORNEY PARK COASTER CO. (11/12/87)

filed: November 12, 1987.

LARA, INC., APPELLANT,
v.
DORNEY PARK COASTER CO., INC. AND SOUTH WHITEHALL TOWNSHIP, APPELLEES



Appeal From Order Entered March 27, 1987, Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, Lehigh County No. 87-E-17.

COUNSEL

Thomas R. Elliott, Jr., Easton, for appellant.

Howard A. Wiener, Philadelphia, for Dorney Park, appellee.

Thomas H. Dinkelacker, Wilkes-Barre, for South Whitehall Tp., appellee.

Cavanaugh, Rowley and Montemuro, JJ.

Author: Cavanaugh

[ 369 Pa. Super. Page 29]

This is an appeal from a decree denying the petition of Lara, Inc. for injunctive relief and transferring the case from equity to the law side of the court. The first issue raised by appellant is that the court below erred in refusing to admit for purposes of the equity proceeding evidence relevant to the plaintiff's claim that South Whitehall Township interfered with the contract between Dorney Park and Lara, Inc. and that the Township abused its governmental power.*fn1

Dorney Park, an amusement park located near Allentown in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, maintained a racetrack facility for stockcar races. The appellant, Lara, Inc., conducted races at the track under a licensing agreement with Dorney Park. Lara, Inc., or its predecessor corporation, has been promoting car racing at Dorney Park for over twenty years, when a licensing agreement was first entered with Dorney Park. On April 16, 1979 Lara, Inc. and Dorney Park entered the agreement which is involved in the dispute now before the court. Under the agreement Dorney Park, as licensor, granted licensee, Lara, Inc., the option of renewing the license under certain circumstances. In September, 1986, Lara, Inc. notified Dorney Park by a letter that it exercised its option to renew the license for racing during the 1987 summer season. In October, 1986, the president of Lara, Inc. was notified that its license to operate automobile racing during the 1987 and any subsequent season was being rescinded. The apparent reason for the rescission of

[ 369 Pa. Super. Page 30]

    the license was an agreement which had been entered into between Dorney Park and South Whitehall Township under which Dorney Park agreed that all racing at its track would be ended as of November 1, 1986.

The appellant filed a complaint in equity against Dorney Park Coaster Co., Inc. and South Whitehall Township. In its complaint, the appellant sought to have the defendant, Dorney Park, enjoined from prohibiting the plaintiff from operating races during the 1987 season at the racetrack and interfering with the plaintiff's having races performed on the track. As far as South Whitehall Township was concerned, the plaintiff sought to restrain the Township from interfering with the agreement dated April 16, 1979, between Dorney Park and Lara, Inc.

The appellant also filed a petition for injunctive relief in which it sought a preliminary injunction directing Dorney Park to specifically perform its agreement with Lara, Inc. by allowing Lara to conduct stockcar races at Dorney Park for the 1987 racing season and for subsequent seasons. The court below, through Young, J., following a pre-trial conference, proceeded immediately to a final hearing on the merits. The court then entered its order of March 27, 1987, as a final order.*fn2

The first issue raised by the appellant is whether "The lower court [erred] in refusing to admit for purposes of the equity proceeding evidence relevant to plaintiff's claims of interference with contract and abuse of governmental ...


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