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NOTTINGHAM FIRE COMPANY CHARTER CASE. (03/16/59)

March 16, 1959

NOTTINGHAM FIRE COMPANY CHARTER CASE.


Appeal, No. 26, Jan. T., 1959, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Dec. T., 1956, in the matter of the incorporation of the Nottingham Fire Company. Order and decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Leonard Barkan, with him Allen D. Williams, Jr., for appellants.

Roland E. Sykes, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen and McBRIDE, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 394 Pa. Page 632]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE JONES.

Five fire companies of Bensalem Township, Bucks County, have jointly appealed from the order and decree of the court below approving Articles of Incorporation of a sixth fire company for the township and decreeing that the new corporation should come into existence on the terms stated in the Articles, when duly recorded, and that, as so recorded, the Articles should constitute the charter of the corporation to be known as the Nottingham Fire Company. As the applicable statute neither authorizes nor prohibits an appeal, the certiorari upon which the action of the court below is now before us is consequently broad. See In re Elkland Leather Workers' Association, Inc., 330 Pa. 78, 80, 198 A. 13.

The matter came before the court below on its merits upon exceptions of the appellant fire companies to the Report of the Master appointed by the court under the provisions of the Nonprofit Corporation Law of May 5, 1933, P.L. 289, as amended, 15 PS ยง 2851-1 et seq. When the application for a charter was first presented to the court, the appellants averred by way of a petition that the incorporation of an additional fire

[ 394 Pa. Page 633]

    company for Bensalem Township would be injurious to the community and to the residents of the township. The petition requested that the court set a day for a hearing on the charter application or appoint a Master to take testimony and make a Report as to the propriety of granting the application.

Section 207 of the Nonprofit Corporation Law of 1933 provides in part that "The court shall consider the application. It may hear evidence, if any there be, on behalf of the applicants and against the application, or it may refer the application to a master to make report as to the propriety of granting the application. In such case, upon the filing of the master's report, the court shall grant the applicants and protestants a hearing, if exceptions are filed by either of them."

Pursuant to the statutorily prescribed procedure, the court appointed a Master who, after a hearing, filed a report recommending the granting of a charter. Following argument on exceptions by the protesting fire companies to the Master's Report, the court found, as the Master had likewise found, that "the Articles are in proper form and within the provisions of the 'Non-Profit Corporation Law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania', approved May 5, 1933, P.L. 289 and its amendments, and that the purposes given in the Article are lawful and not injurious to the community." This was consonant with Section 207 of the Nonprofit Corporation Law of 1933, as amended, which provides that "If the court shall find the articles to be in proper form and within the provisions of this act, and the purpose or purposes given in the articles to be lawful and not injurious to the community, and that ...


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