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BOKSER v. PHILADELPHIA (06/29/60)

June 29, 1960

BOKSER
v.
PHILADELPHIA, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 199, Jan. T., 1960, from decree of Court of Common Pleas No. 4 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1958, No. 2725, in case of Lewis Bokser v. City of Philadelphia et al. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Karl I. Schofield, Assistant City Solicitor, with him Matthew W. Bullock, Jr., Assistant City Solicitor, James L. Stern, Deputy City Solicitor, and David Berger, City Solicitor, for appellant.

Lester S. Hecht, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.

Author: Bok

[ 400 Pa. Page 463]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BOK.

The City of Philadelphia, defendant, appeals from a final decree in a declaratory judgment proceeding in favor of the plaintiff.

On July 14, 1954, as the result of an ordinance, the City concluded a contract with General Asphalt Paving Company to pave a street. Payment for the work was to be made partly in cash and partly by giving to

[ 400 Pa. Page 464]

    the contractor, for him to collect, assessment bills charged against the abutting property owners. These totaled $59,818.58.

Plaintiff is in the business of buying such assessments bills at a discount, and he bought the $59,818.58 in bills at a discount of 4 to 4.5 per cent. He bought them from the contractor and they were assigned to him: he then assigned them to his bank as security for loans. Such assignments are allowed by Section 33 of the Municipal Claims Act of May 16, 1923, P.L. 207, 53 PS § 7147. Notice under Section 8 of the Act (53 PS § 7142) was sent to the property owners of intention to file municipal claims if the bills were not paid within thirty days. Some, though not all, of the claims were paid, but none was contested on the merits.

The paving was done in two parts, and as each part was completed the City passed an ordinance designed to shoulder the payment for the work itself and to relieve the property owners. Accordingly a net total of $46,712.48 in outstanding bills remained payable to the contractor under these ordinances, after refunds had been made to such property owners as had paid their bills. This net amount was paid to the plaintiff's bank under his assignment, and represented the exact amount of outstanding assessment bills, with no allowance for interest or costs.

While the City was processing these payments, a taxpayer, stimulated by plaintiff, brought an action in equity to enjoin one of the refunding ordinances and declare it invalid: Altman v. City of Philadelphia, 393 Pa. 246 (1958), 141 A.2d 592. This decision upheld the ordinance and by agreement ruled the other. After it was handed down the City paid plaintiff $46,712.48, the aforesaid total of all outstanding bills, without ...


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