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HUTTON v. SEITZ (01/05/54)

January 5, 1954

HUTTON
v.
SEITZ, APPELLANT



Appeal, No. 19, March T., 1953, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Armstrong County, Dec. T., 1948, No. 87, in case of Gale Hutton et ux. v. Catherine Seitz. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Robert D. Noel, Jr., with him H. A. Heilman, for appellant.

W. Davis Graham, with him Robert E. Ashe, for appellees.

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

Author: Arnold

[ 376 Pa. Page 222]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ARNOLD

This is an action of ejectment brought by the owner of a tax title resulting from a treasurer's sale (taking place in 1946), against the owner of the paper title alleged to have been vitiated by the treasurer's sale. The facts are not in dispute. It is admitted that all the incidents concerning the assessment, return and sale by the treasurer for delinquent taxes were regular. The sole irregularity alleged is that the surplus bond given by the purchaser to the treasurer was void because the bond did not specify the location or in any manner describe the lands sold by the treasurer. The court below refused to hold the same void and entered judgment for the plaintiff, and the defendant appealed. The judgment will be affirmed.

The appellant stands on the case of Bartholemew v. Leech, 7 Watts 472, in which the Supreme Court held that since "the surplus bond contains no specification of the land, and being referable to nothing in particular, it could neither create a lien nor give notice of one," and that such defect was fatal to the proceedings. (Emphasis supplied.)

[ 376 Pa. Page 223]

The Bartholemew case was decided under the Act of 1804, 4 Sm. L. 201, as amended by the Act of 1815, 6 Sm. L. 299, referring to the sale of unseated lands for taxes. Section 3 provides for the giving of a surplus bond by the purchaser to the sheriff or the coroner (who was authorized to make said sales), the latter officer being required to file the same forthwith in the office of the prothonotary of the proper county. The Act of 1804 was amplified by the Act of 1815 but the provision as to surplus bonds was unaffected. The Act of 1815 was made applicable to the sale of seated lands by section 41 of the Act of 1844, P.L. 486. In Day v. Swanson, 236 Pa. 493, 84 A. 958, the Municipal Tax Lien Act of 1901, P.L. 364, was held to repeal the Act of 1844 so far as seated lands were concerned. There was then no method for return and sale of seated lands until the Act of 1913, P.L. 285, which set up an undetailed procedure somewhat similar to the Act of 1815. The Act of 1929, P.L. 1684, also providing for sales for delinquent taxes, was repealed by the Act of 1931, P.L. 280, as the result of suggestions and criticisms throughout the Commonwealth concerning the Act of 1929. It was under the Act of 1931, as amended, that the present tax sale was had.

The Act of 1931 created an entirely new system for the sale of seated lands for delinquent taxes, and repealed all acts inconsistent therewith. Therefore subsequent to the Act of 1931 all proceedings for the sale of seated lands for delinquent taxes were embodied in a code which was all-embracing, and which displaced all of the old statutory law on the subject.

The Act of 1931, as amended, provides that upon return to the treasurer by the local tax collectors of lands upon which taxes have not been paid, the county treasurer shall expose said lands for sale after due ...


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