Appeal from the Judgment Entered August 27, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Civil Division at No(s): 001103 Dec. Term 2005
BEFORE: STEVENS, P.J., COLVILLE, J., [*] and FITZGERALD, J.[**]
This is an appeal from the judgment entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in favor of Appellees John S. Velardi, Sr. (hereinafter Mr. Velardi), Philadelphia Airport Services (hereinafter PAS), Affiliated Building Services, LLC (hereinafter Affiliated Building), and Linc Facility Services, Inc. (hereinafter Linc Facility),  with regard to Appellant V- Tech Services, Inc.'s claims of fraud and promissory estoppel. After a careful review, we affirm.
The esteemed trial judge, the Honorable Arnold L. New, has thoroughly set forth, in relevant part, the facts and procedural history underlying this case, and we adopt them as our own. See Trial Court Opinion filed 4/12/12 at 1-18. We supplement Judge New's procedural history by noting that, on April 12, 2012, following the non-jury trial based on the stipulated record, Judge New assessed compensatory damages against Thomas Milton Street, Sr. (hereinafter Mr. Street) individually in the amount of $30, 000 and against Notlim, Inc. (hereinafter Notlim) in the amount of $338, 382.00, and punitive damages against Notlim in the amount of $338, 382.00, in connection with the default judgment entered in favor of Appellant as to these two parties. Moreover, on April 12, 2012, Judge New found in favor of Mr. Velardi, PAS, Affiliated Building, and Linc Facility and against Appellant on the claims of fraud and promissory estoppel. Thereafter, Appellant filed timely post-trial motions on Monday, April 23, 2012, which the trial court denied on August 2, 2012. Appellant filed a praecipe to enter judgment, and a timely notice of appeal on August 27, 2012. The trial court did not direct the filing of a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) statement, and therefore, no such statement was filed.
Appellant's first contention is it is entitled to judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) for its claims of fraud and promissory estoppel as it relates to Mr. Velardi, PAS, and Linc Facility. Specifically, Appellant contends the trial court disregarded Appellant's credible evidence demonstrating Mr. Velardi participated in Mr. Street's fraudulent assignment and falsely promised Appellant it would have the opportunity to perform under the baggage maintenance contract. See Appellant's Brief at 32-39. Appellant suggests "no two reasonable minds could disagree" that, contrary to the trial court's conclusion, Mr. Velardi individually, and on behalf of PAS and Linc Facility, made affirmative representations to Appellant regarding the assignment of the baggage maintenance contract to Appellant and he was, in fact, aware of the assignment at relevant times prior to the filing of this lawsuit.
Our standard of review of a trial court order denying a JNOV motion is as follows:
A JNOV can be entered upon two bases: (1) where the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law; and/or, (2) the evidence was such that no two reasonable minds could disagree that the verdict should have been rendered for the movant. When reviewing a trial court's denial of a motion for JNOV, we must consider all of the evidence admitted to decide if there was sufficient competent evidence to sustain the verdict. In so doing, we must also view this evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict winner, giving the victorious party the benefit of every reasonable inference arising from the evidence and rejecting all unfavorable testimony and inference. Concerning any questions of law, our scope of review is plenary. Concerning questions of credibility and weight accorded the evidence at trial, we will not substitute our judgment for that of the finder of fact. If any basis exists upon which the [court] could have properly made its award, then we must affirm the trial court's denial of the motion for JNOV. A JNOV should be entered only in a clear case.
O'Kelly v. Dawson, 62 A.3d 414, 419 (Pa.Super. 2013) (quotation and citation omitted).
Fraud is actionable in tort. See Gorski v. Smith, 812 A.2d 683 (Pa.Super. 2002).
The essential elements of a cause of action for fraud or deceit are misrepresentation, a fraudulent utterance thereof, an intention to induce action thereby, justifiable reliance thereon and damage as a proximate result. To be actionable, a misrepresentation need not be in the form of a positive assertion but is any artifice by which a person is deceived to his disadvantage and may be by false or misleading allegations or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed, which deceives or is intended to deceive another to act upon it to his detriment. Concealment can be a sufficient basis for finding that a party engaged in fraudulent conduct, provided that the other requisite elements of fraud are established. While concealment may constitute fraud, however, mere silence is not sufficient in the absence of a duty to speak.
Wilson v. Donegal Mutual Insurance Company, 598 A.2d 1310, 1315 (Pa.Super. 1991) (citations omitted). See The Brickman Group, LTD, v. CGU Insurance Company, 865 A.2d 918 (Pa.Super. 2004). Fraud must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. See Snell v. Com. State Examining Board, 490 Pa. 277, 416 A.2d 468 (1980).
The doctrine of promissory estoppel permits a claimant to enforce a promise in the absence of consideration. To maintain a promissory estoppel action a claimant must aver the following elements: '(1) the promisor made a promise that [it] should have reasonably expected would induce action or forbearance on the part of the promisee; (2) the promisee actually took action or refrained from taking action in reliance on the promise; and (3) injustice can be avoided only by enforcing the promise.' Crouse v. Cyclops Industries, 560 Pa. 394, 403, 745 A.2d 606, ...