Superior Court concurs with trial court’s judgment in breach of contract case

By Kasey Schefflin-Emrich | Dec 4, 2018

HARRISBURG -- The Superior Court of Pennsylvania agrees with a trial court’s judgment on the pleadings in an alleged breach of contract case.

According to a Nov. 21 decision, Montour Heights Country Club filed a complaint against Michael Carvelli and Jody Crissman In December 2016. Carvelli applied for membership in May of that year and named Crissman as a significant other in a form he filed out. 

In the complaint, Montour alleged a breach of contract by Carvelli and unjust enrichment by Crissman. 

In February 2017, the parties allegedly entered into a settlement agreement and the following month signed and filed a Praecipe to Settle and Discontinue the case without prejudice. Montour filed a first amended complaint in April 2017 and demanded almost $10,000 plus finance charges. 

The trial court entered judgment in February in favor of Montour and against Carvelli and Crissman in the amount of a little more than $11,000, plus interest and suit costs. The defendants filed a notice of appeal to the Superior Court in March.

According to the court document, the appellants argue, “Montour should not have filed an amended complaint because a discontinuance is the exclusive voluntary termination of an action.” The appellants also assert Montour filed the amended complaint without consent from them or the court. 

The trial court granted Montour’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and in favor of Montour based on the appellants' response to the amended complaint which “merely contained 12 number[ed] paragraphs, each containing only the word ‘denied.'

“Appellants’ first two issues both assume that the Settlement Agreement, on which the Praecipe to Discontinue was based, was before the trial court,” the Superior Court stated. ”It was not. Its absence from the pleadings, in the record before the trial court, is fatal to Appellants’ case. Because Appellants’ general denials had the effect of admissions pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1029(b), we agree that the trial court properly granted judgment on the pleadings.”

The appeal also argued the trial court was wrong in awarding Montour attorney fees against Crissman.

“Careful examination of Appellants’ brief, however, reveals that there is no argument regarding attorney’s fees,” the Superior Court stated. “This Court will not consider an argument that has been abandoned and is undeveloped.”

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