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Superior Court of Pennsylvania
June 26, 2002, Argued ; February 11, 2003, Filed
No. 458 EDA 2002
[**544] OPINION BY POPOVICH, J.
[*P1] Wawa, Inc., appeals the order sustaining the preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer of Alexander J. Litwornia & Associates, Alexander J. Litwornia and Chester L. Taylor, herein known as Appellees. We reverse.
[*P2] ] The standard of review to assess a challenge sustaining preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer is as follows:
All material facts set forth in the complaint as well as all inferences reasonably deductible therefrom are admitted as true for [the purpose of this review.] The question presented by the demurrer is whether, on the facts averred, the law says with certainty that no recovery is possible. Where a doubt exists as to whether a demurrer should be sustained, this doubt should be resolved in favor of overruling it.
Price v. Brown, 545 Pa. 216, 680 A.2d 1149, 1151 (Pa. 1996)(citation omitted).
[*P3] [**545] The record reveals that Appellant filed a First Amended Complaint [***2] alleging that Appellees were guilty of commercial disparagement, intentional interference with actual and prospective contractual relationships, and civil conspiracy.
[*P4] Appellant averred Appellees engaged in a consolidated effort to disparage it in three locations targeted for new convenience food markets dispensing gasoline in the Lehigh Valley area--these were in proximity to Appellee/Taylor's stores. Appellant contended Appellees contacted at least one of the landowners to dissuade her from selling and disseminated a videotape to local officials containing erroneous data that an excessive amount of traffic would be generated by Appellant's proposed convenience stores.
[*P5] Appellees filed preliminary objections which sought dismissal of the suit on the basis "the conduct alleged by Wawa was protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America and/or Article I[,] Section 20 of the Pennsylvania Constitution." The court agreed and dismissed Appellant's complaint. This appeal ensued raising three issues; to-wit:
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2003 PA Super 55 *; 817 A.2d 543 **; 2003 Pa. Super. LEXIS 157 ***
WAWA, INC., Appellant v. ALEXANDER J. LITWORNIA & ASSOCIATES, ALEXANDER J. LITWORNIA AND CHESTER L. TAYLOR, Appellees
Subsequent History: [***1] Counsel Corrected May 8, 2003.
Prior History: Appeal from the Order Entered December 24, 2001, In the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, Civil Division, No. 2001-C-387. Before WALLITSCH, J.
Wawa Inc. v. Alexander J. Litwornia & Assocs., 54 Pa. D. & C.4th 375, 2001 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 367 (County Ct. 2001).
Disposition: Reversed and remanded.
immunity, preliminary objection, right of petition, demurrer, disparagement, disseminated, Associates, conspiracy, videotape, sham
Civil Procedure, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Defects of Form, Demurrers, Appeals, Standards of Review, General Overview, Constitutional Law, Bill of Rights, Fundamental Freedoms, Freedom to Petition, Freedom of Speech, Scope, Torts, Intentional Torts, Defamation, Libel, Antitrust & Trade Law, Regulated Industries, Transportation, Railroads, Exemptions & Immunities, Noerr-Pennington Doctrine, Sham Exception, Concerted Action, Civil Conspiracy, Defenses, Public Entity Liability, Immunities, Judicial Immunity