HARRISBURG – The Superior Court of Pennsylvania sent part of a breach of contract and unjust enrichment case filed against Waldron Electric Heating and Cooling Inc. back to the Washington County Court of Common Pleas for further proceedings, according to an opinion filed by the Superior Court on Nov. 14.
The court ruled that the trial court "erred in finding that Waldron Electric was barred from asserting a claim for the reasonable value of services under section 517.7(g)."
The court did not make a determination as to whether Waldron established a right to recovery any payment.
According to the Superior Court opinion, defendants Daniel P. Caseber and Margaret A. Caseber won an arbitration award in a case filed against them by Waldron, which alleged that the Casebers rescinded an $870 agreement to have Waldron install surge and protection lighting after some of the work had already been completed.
Waldron appealed the ruling in favor of the Casebers to the common pleas court.
The common pleas court ruled in Waldron’s favor on March 21, 2016, but only in the amount of $196 instead of the full contracted amount. According to the Superior Court's opinion, Waldron’s award covered the $65 house call and Waldron’s $131 fee associated with the transfer of the case to Washington County from Allegheny County.
“On March 31, 2016, Waldron Electric filed a motion for post-trial relief requesting that the trial court direct verdict in its favor on its unjust enrichment claim for damages equal to the reasonable value of the work performed,” according to the Superior Court's opinion. That request was denied on Jan. 6, 2017.
Despite a three-day rescission period written into applicable laws, the Superior Court said in its opinion that the law does give Waldron the right to “'the recovery of payment for work based on the reasonable value of services which were requested by the owner if a court determines that it would be inequitable to deny such recovery.'”
In a dissent, Judge John Musmanno said he believes the rescission period should be applied in the Waldron case.
“In practice, the majority’s interpretation eviscerates the protection expressly granted to consumers,” Musmanno said in his dissent.