Appeal from the Judgment of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Beaver County, No. 954 of 1988.
Kelly M. Tocci, Aliquippa, for appellants.
Edward A. Mihalik, Aliquippa, for appellees.
McEwen, Popovich and Montgomery, JJ. Popovich, Judge, dissenting.
[ 389 Pa. Super. Page 392]
This is an appeal from a judgment entered on an order dismissing appellants' complaint on the ground that the court did not have jurisdiction over the non-resident defendants. For the reasons below, we reverse.
Appellants entered into an agreement with appellees to purchase a residential dwelling in Center Township, Beaver County. When appellants ultimately took possession of the residence, they discovered several latent defects which, appellants allege, resulted in damages to them in excess of $10,000.00. Thereafter, appellants commenced this action alleging both breach of warranty and fraudulent misrepresentation of the defects in question. Appellees asserted, by way of preliminary objections, that the court lacked personal jurisdiction in that appellees currently reside in Arizona.
[ 389 Pa. Super. Page 393]
The trial court agreed and dismissed the complaint. This appeal followed.
Appellants' complaint alleges that appellees falsely and fraudulently misrepresented the condition of the property with the intent to induce appellants to purchase it. Thus, appellants argue that Pennsylvania has personal jurisdiction over appellees pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 5322(a)(3) which provides:
(a) General rule. -- A tribunal of this Commonwealth may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person (or the personal representative of a deceased individual who would be subject to jurisdiction under this subsection if not deceased) who acts directly or by an agent, as to a cause of action or other matter arising from such person:
(3) Causing harm or tortious injury by an act or omission in this Commonwealth.
In dismissing appellants' complaint, the trial court relied on Stepnowski v. Avery, 234 Pa. Super. 492, 340 A.2d 465 (1975). Stepnowski involved a breach of contract claim in regard to the sale of a residence. The plaintiffs therein sought jurisdiction under the "doing business" section of the Pennsylvania long-arm statute.*fn1 This court held that an isolated sale of a personal residence by private individuals who thereafter become nonresidents is insufficient to meet the "doing business" requirement. The court noted that plaintiffs did not allege ...