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In re Loan Sharks. Loans-Discounting Negotiable Instruments -Mercantile Trade Acceptance

-Interest - Acts of 1915 and 1919.

The Act of June 17, 1915, as amended by the Act of June 4, 1919, and known as the "Loan Shark Act,” authorizes the lending of money in sums up to $300 in accordance with the provisions of the act, but one licensed under this act is not authorized to engage in a banking business, or to discount negotiable instruments, the act specifically providing that no interest shall be charged in advance.

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL,

Harrisburg, Pa.

July 21, 1920.

Hon. John W. Morrison,
First Deputy Commissioner of Banking,

Harrisburg, Pa.
Dear Sir:

This Department is in receipt of your request for an opinion as to whether or not a Loan Company holding a license issued under the provisions of the Act of June 17, 1915, as amended by the Act of June 4, 1919, may be permitted to operate a mercantile trade acceptance business in connection with the loan business.

I note the letter of the corporation, licensed under the Act known as the "Loan Shark Act," above referred to, sets forth its plan of business as follows:

A dealer in electrical appliances sells an electric washing machine on the installment plan, taking a lease or a conditional bill of sale from the purchaser thereof. This dealer desires to obtain the cash on the purchase immediately, and, therefore, negotiates with the Loan Company a trade acceptance, which the Company discounts, taking the lease or conditional bill of sale as security therefor.

In my opinion there is no authority at law for the Loan Company to engage in this kind of business. The Act of 1915, as amended by the Act of 1919 known as the “Loan Shark Act," entitled persons, partnerships and associations or corporations who are properly licensed to loan money in sums of $300.00 or less, with or without security, to individuals, and to charge the borrowers thereof interest and fees upon various amounts as set forth in the Act. The Act specifically provides that interest shall 1100 be payable in advance.

The business proposed to be done by the Loan Company is a banking business clearly. While the Loan Company is authorized to lend money up to $300.00 in accordance with the provisions of the Act, it is not authorized to engage in a banking business, or to discount negotiable instruments, the Act specifically providing that no interest shall be charged in advance.

You are, therefore, advised that the new branch of business referred to would violate the provisions of the Act of June 17, 1915, as amended by the Act of June 4, 1919, and such a business could not be considered a part of the loan business, nor could it be conducted separately and distinctly from such loan business without the supervision of your Department.

Yours very truly,

BERNARD J. MYERS,

Deputy Attorney General.

Chorle v Chorle.

Averments

Divorce Libel

lant's Conduct.

Amendment-Endangering Life Libel

A libel in divorce charging cruel and barbarous treatment is sufficient. It need not be amended to include the charge that libellant's life was endangered thereby.

A divorce was refused for cruel and barbarous treatment where the evidence showed that the conduct of the libellant was as bad toward the respondent as the respondent's conduct was toward the libellant. Such a case does not call for a decree.

Libel in Divorce. Exceptions of Libellant to Report of Master. No. 899 July Term, 1919. C. P. Allegheny County.

Jacob Seligsohn and A. C. Hepps, for plaintiff.
Daniel Harrison, for defendant.

Before SWEARINGEN and CARNAHAN, JJ. CARNAHAN, J., May 25, 1920.— The husband charges his wife with cruel and barbarous treatment. He does not aver in his libel that his life was endangered thereby; but he subsequently amended it by adding such averment. The amendment was unnecessary. Libellant's counsel, however, thought it advisable to do so, in view of the mistaken impression which the Master seems to have had in reference to the sufficiency of the libel. The Master seems, still, to be in error in that respect; but it does not appear from the examination of the testimony and his report, that his recommendation that a decree be refused, is based upon lack of proof that the husband's life was endangered. In other words, it does not seem to us that he placed upon the libellant a greater burden than the law requires.

The Master's report should be sustained. The libellant's conduct toward his wife is not any better that his wife's conduct toward him; if we accept the wife's testimony, it is worse. Each used vile language toward the other. Neither one treated the other with respect. According to the husband, the wife was dirty and even filthy, but he continued to sleep in the same bed with her until she left him. The wife assaulted him; but he, also, assaulted the wife. The evidence indicates that he actually put her out of their home. The wife did charge the husband with having improper relations with his own sister. The husband is very sensitive about that charge; but he is not so sensitive respecting the honor of his wife, who was in a family way at the time of the hearing before the Master. He was asked on crossexamination, if he knew that she was in a family way (page 36, Testimony): “A. I didn't know she was in that condition when she left. I just heard

that two weeks after. Q. Two weeks after? A. Yes, sir; when I came in the Non-Support Court. Then is the time

I heard it. Q. Perhaps she didn't know it herself? A. I didn't know it myself either. It could be somebody else, too, after

she left my home." Upon the whole case, we are unable to see that the husband's marital troubles, caused by his wife, are any more serious than those of the wife, caused by the husband. Perhaps both are to blame.

The case is not one that calls for a decree in favor of the husband.

McAllister et al. v Township of Mount Lebanon. Eminent Domain Appeals Viewers Form of Affidavit

Strike Off -Acts of 1874 and 1901.

- Motion to

An appeal from an award of viewers for land taken in widening a road or street is a matter of right and not of grace, and the right of a property owner need not necessarily be defeated simply because the affidavit to his petition stated that the facts were “true and correct" instead of following the provisions of the Act of 1874 and subsequent acts. Motion to strike off the appeal refused.

A petition for an appeal from an award of viewers alleging ownership of certain lands taken in the widening of a street, that the damages awarded by the viewers were grossly inacequate and that he had been damaged in a larger amount with an affidavit attached that the facts were “true and correct," was sufficient. The affidavit need not be in the exact terms of the Acts of Assembly.

Sur Motion for Judgment for Defendant on the Whole Record. Nos. 1399 and 1400 October Term, 1916. C. P. Allegheny County.

R. P. & M. R. Marshall, for plaintiff.
Samuel A. Schreiner, for defendant.

SHAFER, P. J., November 26, 1919.—The proceeding is an appeal to the Common Pleas from an award of viewers, made in the Quarter Sessions, under the Act of June 7, 1901, P. L. 510. A road or street in the township was widened from thirty-three to sixty feet, one-half the additional width being taken from the land of appellant. The act provides that within thirty days from the filing of the report, any person whose property is taken or injured "may appeal and demand a trial by jury." The owner of the land in this case presented his petition in this court for an appeal, to which was added an affidavit that the facts set forth in the petition are true and correct. A motion was made to strike off the appeal because the affidavit did not state that the appeal was not taken for delay but that the appellant believed that injustice was done him, which motion was refused and afterwards the case came on for trial and the jury disagreed. The defendant assigns as the only reason for having judgment in his favor the same matter set up in the motion above mentioned. That motion was dismissed, as stated in the opinion of the court, for the reason that the Constitutional provision as to property taken, injured and destroyed, and the Act of 1874, made to carry out the same, which requires the affidavit above mentioned, do not apply to a case where the giving of damages is a matter of grace and not of right, and do not therefore apply to cases of township roads.

We are inclined to doubt very much the proposition that the taking of fourteen or fifteen feet of a man's land for the widening of a road to sixty feet in width in a township of the first class by direction of the township authorities and to be paid for by them, is a mere matter of grace, and we are further unable to see how, under the act above mentioned, the appellant had any authority to come into the Court of Common Pleas, unless it be by assuming the meaning of that act to be that an appeal may be taken as provided by law, which would necessarily send him to the Act of 1874 or other later acts, all of which require the affidavit above mentioned.

As the appeal is given as a matter of right, and might in some cases be taken by parties who did not believe in the justice of their cause, the legislature directed as in the case of demurrers and other proceedings where matter of fact is not alleged, that the appellant should swear that he was not seeking delay and that he believed injustice would be done him. We do not understand that it was material that he should use the exact words of the affidavit. In the present case the petition alleges ownership

McAllister et al. v Township of Mount Lebanon.

of certain lands; that the viewers have given him damages to the amount of $181.00 and that these damages are grossly inadequate and that his property has been damaged to the extent of $4,000.00, and his affidavit is that that statement is true. It seems to us that it would be sticking in the bark to hold that an affidavit in these specific terms would not take the place of the general terms provided for by the act. For this reason, and because the defendant has already been heard once on that subject, we are of the opinion that the affidavit is sufficient. The motion is therefore refused.

Green v Sheffler et al.

Trespass -Landlord and Tenant--Distress

Punitive Damages Expert Testimony.

-Sale of Household Goods

In an action for damages against a landlord for the sale of goods on a landlord's warrant, plaintiff is entitled to prove the market value of the goods sold, and when by reason of the goods being in possession of defendant, they cannot be appraised, their value may be established by one experienced in the sale and purchase of furniture, It was for the jury under all the testimony to fix the value.

Where the evidence in an action for damages against a landlord for the sale of household goods on a landlord's warrant justified punitive damages, the court refused to set aside a verdict in favor of plaintiff where such damages were clearly allowed, and such verdict was not excessive.

Motion of Defendant for a New Trial. No. 1806 January Term, 1919. C. P. Allegheny County

R. P. & M. R. Marshall, Levy & Levy and Charles H. Sachs, for plaintiff. A. E. Sloan, for defendant.

Before MACFARLANE, Ford and STONE. STONE, J., December 29, 1919.-Counsel for the defendant has filed a motion for a new trial alleging that the Court erred in failing to withdraw a juror and continue the case on account of remarks made by counsel for plaintiff in his opening address to the jury; these remarks had to do with an arrest made of the plaintiff on the Saturday night previous to the Monday on which the landlord's) warrant was issued. The theory of counsel for the plaintiff was: that starting with the aforesaid Saturday night there was a series of illegal acts performed by the defendant, looking to not only the apprehension of the plaintiff in order to get her out of the way to the end that the landlord's warrant might be issued, but also that the plaintiff's goods might be sold and purchased by the defendant, Friedman. We were, at the time of the trial, impressed with the theory of counsel for the plaintiff in believing that the various things done were a continuous series of acts by the defendant Friedman. We denied the plaintiff the right to produce any testimony relative to the arrest. We were not impressed at the time of the trial with the idea that the defendant had been prejudiced by the remarks of counsel for the plaintiff and so ruled. At the close of the change to the jury we referred to the matter and directed the jury to pay no attention to anything which happened prior to the time when the landlord's warrant was issued. We believed at the time we were acting within our discretion, and are not convinced from anything in the record or cited to us by counsel for the defendant that we have abused that discretion,

Green v Sheffler et al.

The defendant removed the goods of the plaintiff in the house at No. 35 Vine Street, Pittsburgh, Pa., and stored them, alleging as an excuse for his act, that some of the goods were being removed by other people. The goods were subsequently sold by the constable and purchased by the defendant Friedman. Plaintiff is entitled to prove the market value of the goods sold. In view of the fact that most of them had been purchased during the months of November and December previous to March in which the landlord's warrant was issued, we permitted her to testify as to the condition of the goods and the cost price thereof, instructing the jury relative thereto, to the end that in the event the jury found for the plaintiff, the proper and correct market value of the goods at the time of the taking should be arrived at by them. In order to assist the jury in determining this question we permitted a man who had had years of experience in the purchase and sale of furniture to determine the relative market values at the time of the purchase and at the time of the sale under the landlord's warrant, to testify as to the trend of the market with respect to household furniture: this simply for the purpose of assistaing the jury in determining the market value at the time of the sale. Under the circumstances, as testified to by the plaintiff and by witnesses, we fail to see how it was possible for the plaintiff to prove the value in any other way. This condition was caused to a certain extent by the defendant in removing the goods from the house and storing them in a place controlled by the defendant and which action prevented the plaintiff, were she able to do so, from having the goods inventoried and appraised as to their market value.

In order to assist the jury in determining the market value at the time of the sale, we permitted the witness Skees to testify; his testimony was not binding upon the jury, but it was for them to consider its value in aiding them to come to a proper conclusion as to the market value of the goods at the time of sale.

This is a case in which the testimony, if believed by the jury, would fully warrant them in assessing punitive damages against the defendant Friedman. It is impossible to determine how much they allowed the plaintiff for the value of the goods taken and how much for punitive damages. The plaintiff introduced evidence showing that on no less than two occasions, was an attempt made to pay whatever rent might be due, but in both cases the defendant Friedman increased the amount, and as a result, both parties who attempted to pay the rent, did not make any payment. The plaintiff also testified that she had paid the rent for the month for which the landlord's warrant was issued. The whole testimony of the plaintiff if believed by the jury, was sufficient to warrant it in rendering the verdict for the full amount it did render in this case. We are not convinced that any error was committeed concerning which the defendant has any just ground for complaint, or that under all the evidence the verdict was excessive in amount. The motion for a new trial must therefore be refused.

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