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Schott v. Westinghouse Electric Corporation

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
259 A.2d 443 (1969)


Facts

Schott (plaintiff) twice suggested to his company, Westinghouse Electric Corporation (Westinghouse) (defendant), that heavy gauge steel be used instead of aluminum to make circuit breakers as a cost saving measure. The suggestions were rejected on the ground that any cost savings would be offset by the cost of implementation. Westinghouse’s employee suggestion program awarded cash prizes between $5 and $15,000 for savings suggestions that were adopted. The suggestion form contained a disclaimer requiring the employee to accept the Suggestion Committee’s decision as to eligibility or amount of award. Westinghouse later adopted the suggestion but refused to give Schott an award because the idea was arrived at independently. Schott sued for breach of contract. Westinghouse’s preliminary objection that the complaint did not set out a claim for which relief could be given was granted. The trial court concluded that the disclaimer controlled and therefore no contract was formed. Schott amended the complaint to include a claim for damages for unjust enrichment. The trial court granted Westinghouse’s preliminary objection on the ground that the Suggestion Committee’s decision was final. Schott appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Pomeroy, J.)

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Concurrence (Roberts, J.)

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Dissent (Bell, C.J.)

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