Submitted: November 1, 2018
Gregory A. Morris, Esq. Liguori & Morris
EASON PRIMOS JUDGE
Ms. Lyles and Mr. Morris:
Below Karen Lyles (hereinafter "Appellant") appeals
from the May 14, 2018, order of the Court of Common Pleas
(hereinafter "CCP"). In that order, the CCP held
that Appellant had failed to meet her burden of proving her
case by a preponderance of the evidence and dismissed the
suit. Specifically, the CCP held that Appellant had failed to
establish that Appellee/Defendant Below Meineke Car Care
Center (hereinafter "Appellee") breached the
standard of care and that, as a result of a breach, Appellant
was damaged. This Court similarly finds no merit to
Appellant's appeal and affirms the CCP's decision.
The Court's review is confined to the facts contained in
the record, and it is those facts that are referenced herein.
record reflects that on August 22, 2016, Appellant took her
2008 Acura MDX with over 200, 000 miles (hereinafter the
"Vehicle") to Appellee for an oil change. An
employee of Appellee, Benjamin Marvel (hereinafter "Mr.
Marvel"), was working on the Vehicle and removing the
drain plug to initiate an oil change, and noticed that the
threads in the aluminum oil pan were stripped. Upon discovering
the damaged threads, Mr. Marvel, an experienced technician
and manager at Meineke, went to the lobby to speak with
Appellant and took Appellant into the shop to explain the
Marvel testified that once the threads are damaged, they must
be replaced either with an oversized drain plug or a full oil
pan replacement. He stated that these are the only two
options to remedy the problem and that, typically, he will
try the plug first. Mr. Marvel testified that he explained
these options to Appellant. As the oversized drain plug does
not always remedy the issue, Mr. Marvel indicated to
Appellant that he was uncertain if the plug was going to
work; if it did not, she would need to return and replace the
entire oil pan. It is undisputed that Mr. Marvel did not
provide Appellant with any other options at that time and
that, ultimately, Appellant had the oversized drain plug
placed in the Vehicle.
September 16, 2016, Appellant brought the Vehicle back to
Appellee, as she had noticed that there was oil dripping from
the Vehicle. Appellee informed Appellant that the only way to
remedy the situation was to replace the oil pan and gave her
an estimate for the repairs; however, Appellant chose to go
to another dealership to have the oil pan replaced.
subsequently filed a civil debt action against Appellee in
Justice of the Peace Court No. 16 (hereinafter "JP
Court") seeking damages for the cost of replacing the
oil pan. On June 2, 2017, the JP Court held that Appellant
had failed to meet her burden of proving her case by a
preponderance of the evidence. The JP Court found that there
was insufficient evidence and no expert testimony to prove
that Appellee had caused the stripped threads on
Appellant's oil pan. Moreover, the JP Court held that
"[g]iven the mileage and age of the vehicle,
Defendant's explanation of normal wear and tear is just
as feasible as Plaintiffs claim."
13, 2017, Appellant filed an appeal from the JP Court's
decision to the CCP. On May 14, 2018, the CCP ruled in favor
of Appellee and affirmed the JP Court's decision. In so
holding, the CCP found that Appellant had failed to show that
Appellee had caused the damage to the Vehicle or that Mr.
Marvel had acted in a way that was below the standard of care
that a mechanic would have used in those
31, 2018, Appellant filed an appeal to this Court. In her
Opening Brief, Appellant argues that the CCP did not take all
of the evidence into consideration, namely, evidence that
there were more than two options for repairing the Vehicle.
Appellant asserts that another option would have been to pay
for rethreading the oil pan, instead of paying to replace the
entire oil pan. Appellant also argues that Appellee was
responsible for the damage to the Vehicle, as "Meineke
destroyed the threads by placing adhesive and aftermarket
washer on the threads of the oil pan."
argues that the factual findings from the CCP are
sufficiently supported by the record and that Appellant had
ample time to obtain an expert opinion to testify as to
whether her damages were caused by Appellee. Moreover,
Appellee points to the testimony of its representative, Mr.
Marvel, that the alleged damage to the threads of the oil pan
was likely caused by the age, normal wear and tear, and
mileage of the Vehicle, and was not the result of any
negligence or breach of care on the part of Appellee.
from the Court of Common Pleas to this Court "shall be
reviewed on the record and shall not be tried de
novo." This Court functions as an intermediate
appellate court when considering appeals from the Court of
Common Pleas. Thus, issues not raised in the trial court
are not heard on appeal,  and this Court limits its review to
correcting errors of law and determining whether the lower
court's factual findings "are adequately supported
by the record and are the product of an orderly and logical
deductive process." This Court does not sit as a trier of
fact with authority to weigh the evidence, determine
questions of ...