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WILLIAMS v. BRIDY (12/17/57)

December 17, 1957

WILLIAMS
v.
BRIDY, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 100, Jan. T., 1958, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Northumberland County, No. 918, in equity, in case of Lloyd L. Williams v. Edward A. Bridy and Bridy, Inc. Decree reversed.

COUNSEL

Richard Henry Klein, with him Penrose Hertzler, for appellants.

Andrew M. Pipa, Jr., with him H. F. Bonno, for appellee.

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

Author: Jones

[ 391 Pa. Page 2]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES

This is an appeal from a decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Northumberland County, sitting in equity, which granted a preliminary injunction restraining the defendants, individual and corporate, from entering upon a 21 1/2 acre tract of land in Coal Township, Northumberland County, and from removing material from a culm and refuse bank located thereon.

The scope of our review in this type of proceeding is clear.*fn1 In Lindenfelser v. Lindenfelser, 385 Pa. 342, 343, 344, 123 A.2d 626, we stated: "Our uniform rule is that, on an appeal from a decree which refuses,

[ 391 Pa. Page 3]

    grants or continues a preliminary injunction, we will look only to see if there were any apparently reasonable grounds for the action of the court below, and we will not further consider the merits of the case or pass upon the reasons for or against such action, unless it is plain that no such grounds existed or that the rules of law relied on are palpably wrong or clearly inapplicable: [citing cases]". With this rule in mind we examine the present record.

The entire controversy is centered on a 21 1/2 acre tract of land upon which is located a culm and refuse bank. Originally this tract was part of a larger tract known as the Fulton Tract and owned by the Fulton Company, a subsidiary of the Philadelphia & Reading Coal and Iron Company (hereinafter called Reading). In 1938 Fulton Company quitclaimed its interest in the Fulton Tract to the Great Anthracite Coal Co. (hereinafter called Anthracite), reserving to itself, inter alia, the right to strip the coal lying under the surface of the 21 1/2 acre tract now in dispute. In 1939 Anthracite conveyed its rights in the Fulton Tract to one Julius Christiana. In 1945, because of the nonpayment of taxes in 1939 and 1943, the Treasurer of Northumberland County exposed the Fulton Tract at public sale and, in the absence of any other bidders, the County of Northumberland purchased the Fulton Tract,*fn2 including the 21 1/2 acre tract.

In 1951 Bridy, the individual defendant,*fn3 purchased from the Fulton Company all the "stripping rights" which it had reserved in the coal under the 21 1/2 acre tract. ...


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