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PHILADELPHIA v. SCHOFIELD (ET AL. (01/04/54)

January 4, 1954

PHILADELPHIA
v.
SCHOFIELD (ET AL., APPELLANT)



Appeal, No. 246, Jan. T., 1953, from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 2 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1947, No. 4943, in case of City of Philadelphia v. Seville Schofield and Norristown Trust Company. Order revoked and record remanded.

COUNSEL

Herman Blumenthal, for appellant.

David Freeman, with him Harry A. Rutenberg, for appellees.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Stern

[ 375 Pa. Page 555]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE HORACE STERN

The procedure in this case, although adopted by the court below in a creditable attempt to effect a practical adjustment of the controversy, is open to objections which require that the record be remanded for final hearing.

In accordance with the Act of May 16, 1923, P.L. 207, a vacant piece of ground situate at the intersection of the northeast side of Manayunk Avenue and the northwest side of Hermit Street in the City of Philadelphia was sold at sheriff's sale for unpaid taxes due

[ 375 Pa. Page 556]

    the city. The sale was held under that portion of section 31 of the Act which provided for the discharge of all claims, liens, mortgages, charges and estates, but subject, under section 32 of the Act, to the right of redemption of the owner of the property, or his assignees, or any party whose lien or estate was discharged by the sale. The purchaser was the present appellee Harry A. Rutenberg, Esq. on behalf of certain clients.

Within the year which the statute allows for the purpose one Raymond C. Biddle, claiming under a quitclaim deed from the former owners, filed a petition to redeem the premises. Appellee filed an answer, depositions were taken, and the court made an order which is the subject of the present appeal by the petitioner.

In his answer to the petition appellee challenged the validity of petitioner's title and therefore his right to redeem. Furthermore he demanded of petitioner, in addition to the sum of $4,400. paid by him at the sheriff's sale, the sum of $3,538. which he had expended for filling in and grading the lot after his acquisition of the property. Petitioner, on the other hand, asserted his right to redeem on payment merely of the $4,400. together with the charge for recording the sheriff's deed, a reasonable fee for drawing the deed, and interest at the rate of 10% per annum on the $4,400. running to a time to be fixed by the court, all as provided in section 32 of the statute.

Thus the controversy between the parties presented two questions for consideration: (1) Has petitioner the right to redeem? That right depends on the validity of the title he claims to have acquired from the previous owners. (2) If such right exists, should he be compelled to reimburse appellee for the latter's expenditures in grading and filling the lot? While ordinarily ...


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