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Superior Court of PA affirms decision for Burns White client in contract dispute

Pittsburgh, July 30, 2012 — Litigation Chair David B. White and Appellate Chair Ira L. Podheiser recently obtained a favorable decision from the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirming a money judgment in favor of a Burns White client which, when the litigation is finally concluded, will likely exceed half a million dollars. The case began when a law firm in Indiana, Pennsylvania commenced an interpleader action asking the court to determine whether the seller, Burns White’s client, or the buyer in an unconsummated property sale was entitled to the $300,000 escrow deposit. Following a jury trial in October 2011, the jury returned a verdict in favor of our client and determined that he was entitled to the entire deposit. In addition, because the contract of sale between the parties permitted the “prevailing party” in any litigation between them to recover reasonable counsel fees, the court awarded our client an additional $152,417.24 in legal fees and costs. The trial court also ruled that our client was entitled to post-judgment interest and accrued interest on the $300,000 deposit.

The buyer appealed the verdict and judgment, and, following briefing and argument, a three-judge panel of the Superior Court unanimously affirmed the judgment. In a 34-page opinion, the panel emphatically rejected all of the buyer’s arguments, which included allegations of error regarding admission of evidence, jury instructions, judicial recusal, change of venue, and challenges to the awards of counsel fees and contractual and post-judgment interest.

For additional information, contact Mr. White or Mr. Podheiser.

Note: The results obtained in a particular case are, of course, always heavily dependent on the facts and the law specific to that case.