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PITTSBURGH PETITION (03/22/54)

March 22, 1954

PITTSBURGH PETITION


Appeal, No. 246, March T., 1953, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, July T., 1952, No. 3127, in re Petition of City of Pittsburgh. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Alvin J. Porsche, Assistant Solicitor, with him Harry C. Beschel, City & School Tax Lien Solicitor, and Joseph M. Tague, for appellant.

Morley W. Baker, Special Deputy Attorney General, with him Frank F. Truscott, Attorney General, and H. G. Florin, for appellee.

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

Author: Arnold

[ 376 Pa. Page 448]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ARNOLD

City of Pittsburgh appeals from an order denying it the right to sell certain property free of the Commonwealth's liens for unemployment compensation contributions unpaid by the former owner.

In 1950, under authority of the Act of July 5, 1947, P.L. 1258, 53 PS § 10201.1 et seq., the City Treasurer sold for unpaid taxes and the City purchased the property of one Hinnau. The period of redemption having passed, the City agreed to sell the property to one Volpe, and under the provisions of the Act petitioned the court to confirm the sale free of all claims against it. The Commonwealth has of record several liens against Hinnau for unpaid unemployment compensation contributions approximating $4,000 and asserts priority and continuation of lien.

The question raised is whether either the treasurer's sale or the Act of 1947 divests the Commonwealth's liens.

Pertinent provisions of the Act of 1947 are: "In case of resale of such lands, which have been purchased by the city under this act,... it may appear that there are... rights... or claims against such lands, which have not been divested by the tax sale,... the city may present its petition... to the court of common pleas... setting forth, (1) the location..., (2) the name or names of the former owner or owners,... or any other person or persons... [having] any... claim against such land,... (4) that the period of redemption has expired and the city... has agreed to sell said land,...Thereupon a rule shall be granted upon

[ 376 Pa. Page 449]

    the persons named in the petition,... who have... any... claim against said land, to appear... and show cause why the title... should not be adjudicated and decreed valid and indefeasible as against all... persons having any... claim against said lands whatsoever, and... why the sale of the said land by the city... should not be made free and clear of their... claims... If any person shall appear and make answer... [setting] up any claim... against said land adverse to the title of the city... the court shall order and decree that such person or persons shall commence proceedings within thirty days... as may be necessary to establish his claim, and failing therein..., the court shall... direct a conveyance of the land... If any person or persons appear at any stage of the proceedings who may appear to the court to have any interest whatsoever in the land and pay all taxes, [etc.]... the court may direct a conveyance to said person..."

The City contends that under the provisions of the Unemployment Compensation Law the Legislature did not intend contributions to have the status of taxes having priority over other claims under the provisions of The Fiscal Code, April 9, 1929, P.L. 343, 72 PS § 1401, which states that "whenever the... property of a... person shall be sold at a judicial sale, all taxes, interest, bonus, penalties and public accounts due the Commonwealth shall first be allowed and paid out of the proceeds of such sale before any judgment, mortgage or any other claim or lien against such... person." It further contends that the provisions of the Act under which the tax sale was had provide for divestiture of the Commonwealth's claims ...


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