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SHAFER v. HANSEN. (06/28/57)

June 28, 1957

SHAFER, APPELLANT,
v.
HANSEN.



Appeal, No. 122, March T., 1957, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, May T., 1955, No. 279, in case of Maurice F. Shafer et al. v. Walter J. Hansen et al. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

P. G. Schaaf, with him J. S. Jiuliante, Jr. and C. A. Mertens, for appellants.

Will J. Schaaf and Joseph V. Agresti, with them Marsh, Spaeder, Baur, Spaeder & Schaaf and Agresti & Agresti, for appellees.

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

Author: Jones

[ 389 Pa. Page 501]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE JONES

The action here involved was instituted pursuant to Rule 1061(b)(4) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure to quiet the title to certain real estate. The court below entered judgment on the pleadings for the defendants on the ground that the county treasurer's deed for the property, upon which the plaintiffs relied for their claim of title, was null and void because of fatal irregularities in the procedure pursued by the treasurer in putting the premises up for sale for the payment of delinquent taxes. This appeal by the plaintiffs followed. The facts are undisputed and appear by stipulation of the parties.

Elizabeth Hansen, at the time of her death on February 4, 1942, was the owner of the property in suit which consisted of a lot of ground in the City of Erie improved with a two-family dwelling. By her will, Mrs. Hansen devised the property to her two sons, Walter J. Hansen and James T. Hansen, whom she also appointed as her executors. The will was duly probated, and the testatrix's two sons qualified as her personal

[ 389 Pa. Page 502]

    representatives and, in that capacity, served throughout the administration of the estate to its completion. Following settlement of their final account, the executors were discharged on October 29, 1942, by the Orphans' Court of Erie County. The two Hansen brothers are the defendants in the action and the present appellees.*fn1

The stipulation of the parties establishes that, at the time of the treasurer's tax sale of the property and for some ten years prior thereto, title to the premises was vested by law, as disclosed by the records in the office of the Register of Wills for Erie County, in Walter J. Hansen and James T. Hansen. And, while they took no immediate steps to have the change in ownership noted on the county assessment rolls, the fact is that, although the property continued to be assessed in the name of their mother, the records in the county treasurer's office showed the county taxes on the property for the year 1943 to have been paid by one Mildred Petri; for 1944 by Elizabeth Hansen (who had died in 1942); for 1945 by an unidentified person; for 1946, by a Mildred Jansen; and for 1947 by Mrs. James T. Hansen. However, for the succeeding years 1948, 1949 and 1950, the taxes were not paid. The county treasurer exposed the property to public sale on December 8, 1952, for the payment of the delinquent taxes and sold it to the plaintiffs' predecessors for a bid covering the unpaid taxes in an aggregate amount of approximately $60. The property at the time had an assessed valuation of $8,050.

The purchasers at the treasurer's sale were Harry Myers and LaDora Myers, his ...


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