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[U] Arway Linen & Uniform Rental Service, Inc. v. North Philadelphia Sullivan's, Inc.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 11, 2014

ARWAY LINEN & UNIFORM RENTAL SERVICE, INC. Appellee
v.
NORTH PHILADELPHIA SULLIVAN'S, INC., T/A SULLIVAN'S STEAKHOUSE Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Judgment Entered March 27, 2013 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Civil Division at No(s): 2481 February Term, 2011

BEFORE: BENDER, P. J., LAZARUS, J., and FITZGERALD, J. [*]

MEMORANDUM

LAZARUS, J.

North Philadelphia Sullivan's, Inc., T/A Sullivan's Steakhouse ("Sullivan's) appeals from the judgment entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County following a verdict in favor of Arway Linen and Uniform Rental Service, Inc. ("Arway"). After our review, we affirm in part and we vacate and remand in part.

Arway, a Pennsylvania corporation, provides linen and uniform rentals to various restaurants and dining facilities. On March 10, 2008, the parties entered into a 60-month rental agreement whereby Arway provided black linens to Sullivan's. Arway delivered the linens to Sullivan's King of Prussia restaurant three times each week. The parties stipulated that Arway had drafted the agreement; the parties also stipulated that Sullivan's had terminated the agreement by two certified letters in which it claimed that 20% of the linens had shadings and creases that rendered them substandard and not usable.

Following Sullivan's unilateral termination of the agreement, Arway filed a breach of contract action against Sullivan's. Sullivan's filed a motion for summary judgment, which was denied.

On October 3, 2012, the parties appeared before the Honorable Patricia A. McInerney for a bench trial on stipulated facts. Following trial, the court entered findings of fact and conclusions of law, and entered judgment in favor of Arway for $112, 800 in loss of bargain damages and attorney fees, plus interest at a rate of 18% per annum from June 1, 2010 until the date of the court's decision. Sullivan's filed post-trial motions. The trial court granted Sullivan's request to remove interest, but otherwise denied Sullivan's request for relief. Sullivan's filed this appeal and a Statement of Errors pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b). The trial court issued a Rule 1925(a) opinion finding that Sullivan's improperly terminated the rental agreement and, therefore, it had breached the contract.[1] On appeal, Sullivan's raises the following claims:

1. Whether Sullivan's is entitled to summary judgment where no genuine issues of material fact exist related to Sullivan's termination of the rental agreement at issue?
2. Whether the trial court erred as a matter of law in finding a breach of the rental agreement at issue where the facts surrounding the termination of the agreement were stipulated to at the time of trial?
3. Alternatively, whether the trial court erred as a matter of law in finding that the contract at issue was unambiguous where both parties differed in their interpretation of the contract and neither aligned with the explanation of the rental agreement as provided by the court?
4. Whether the trial court erred in its award of damages where no evidence or supporting documentation was presented at trial by [Arway] to support a contractual award of $112, 800?

The rental agreement provides, in relevant part:

The Customer expressly waives the right to terminate this Agreement during the initial term or any extension thereof for claimed deficiencies in service and/or quality of merchandise which the Customer claims does not meet the above standards unless (1) the claims are made promptly in writing to the Company, (2) the Company is afforded a minimum of thirty (30) days from date of receipt of the written claim to resolve the claimed deficiency and (3) the Company does not resolve the claimed deficiency within that period of time. All written notices regarding claimed deficiencies in service, quality of goods and/or notice to terminate under this Agreement shall be sent by certified ...

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