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PITTSBURGH HOTELS ASSN., INC. v. URBAN REDEVELOPME

February 14, 1962

PITTSBURGH HOTELS ASSOCIATION, INC., a Pennsylvania Corporation, Carlton Hotel Corporation, a Pennsylvania Corporation, Hilton Hotels Corporation, a Delaware Corporation, Allegheny Hotel Corporation, a Pennsylvania Corporation, Pittsburgher Hotel Company, a Pennsylvania Corporation, and Sheraton Mid-Continent Corporation, a Delaware Corporation, Plaintiffs,
v.
The URBAN REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF PITTSBURGH, a Pennsylvania corporation,and Leon Falk, Jr., Joseph S. Wohl and Golden Triangle Motor Hotel, Inc., a Pennsylvania corporation, and the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARSH

The plaintiff hotel corporations bring this action to enjoin the defendants, Golden Triangle Motor Hotel, Inc. and Falk and Wohl, its organizers and principal stockholders, from erecting, maintaining and operating a hotel or transient housing facilities on a parcel of land (Parcel 'B') *fn1" in Pittsburgh owned by the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (Authority). *fn2"

The action arises under the laws of the United States: Title I of The Housing Act of 1949, entitled Slum Clearance and Community Development and Redevelopment, *fn3" as amended through September, 1959. *fn4"

 Without answering the complaint defendants moved for summary judgment with a supporting affidavit (first Hazlett affidavit). After the hearing on the motion defendants filed another supporting affidavit (second Hazlett affidavit); thereupon the plaintiffs examined the files and records of the Authority, took and submitted the deposition of Robert B. Pease, Executive Director of the Authority, taken as on cross-examination, and served a Request for Admissions to which defendants have responded as directed by order of court.

 It is the opinion of the court that the rights of defendants are fixed by statutes, contracts, and supplemental documents; that the complaint, deposition, admissions, and affidavits clearly show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact; and that the defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Rule 56(c), Fed.R.Civ.P., 28 U.S.C.A.

 In arriving at these conclusions, we take as true all the well-pleaded facts contained in the complaint, as well as the admissions on file, giving to plaintiffs the benefit of all reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom. Bragen v. Hudson County News Company, 278 F.2d 615, 617 (3d Cir. 1960); United States v. St. Paul-Mercury Indemnity Co., 194 F.2d 68, 72 (3d Cir. 1952). So taken we do not think they disclose a cause of action on which relief can be granted, for if all of the alleged and admitted facts were offered in evidence and proved at trial, a judgment would have to be directed in favor of defendants. Shipley v. The Ohio National Life Ins. Co., 296 F.2d 728 (3d Cir. 1961); Madeirense Do Brasil S/A v. Stulman-Emrick Lumber Co., 147 F.2d 399, 405 (2d Cir. 1945), citing Sartor v. Arkansas Natural Gas Corp., 321 U.S. 620, 624, 64 S. Ct. 724, 88 L. Ed. 967; Moore's Federal Practice and Procedure, P56.15(1), p. 2107, P56.15(3), p. 2128, P56.15(8), p. 2165.

 Simply because defendants filed objections to certain of plaintiffs' Request for Admissions does not show, as plaintiffs contend, that there are genuine issues of material fact which would preclude summary judgment. Objections were sustained to 19 Requests because plaintiffs wanted defendants to agree to certain opinions, conclusions, conjectures, and interpretations which the plaintiffs placed upon certain documents, letters, plans and statutes. See opinion and order filed January 5, 1962. Should defendants be deemed to dispute these opinions, conclusions, conjectures, and interpretations, such disputes would involve issues of law rather than issues of fact. *fn5"

 The two affidavits filed by defendants do not attempt to dispute any material fact alleged in the complaint but merely provide the contractual and documentary background of the litigation. And, of course, the court is not required to accept as true the conclusions of law contained in the complaint, e.g., PP28, 29. (Paragraph references are to paragraphs of the complaint herein.) Delaware, Lackawanna and Western R. Co. v. Kingsley, 189 F.Supp. 39 (D.N.J.1960); Moore's Federal Practice and Procedure, P56.15(3), p. 2131.

 The facts thus disclosed appear to be as follows: Pursuant to Title I of the Housing Act of 1949, on January 3, 1952, the Authority entered into a 'Contract for Advance' with the Government for surveys and plans in preparation of a project known as the Lower Hill Redevelopment Project, Redevelopment Area No. 3 (attached to the second Hazlett affidavit and marked Ex. A). On February 21, 1955, pursuant to 312 of the Housing Act of 1954, 68 Stat. 629, *fn6" the Authority adopted a Resolution formally requesting that the Administrator of Housing and Home Finance Agency (HHFA) 'continue said project under the provisions of the Housing Act of 1949 as amended and in effect prior to August 2, 1954'. *fn7" Plaintiffs admit the existence of both these documents (Tr. of hearing of Nov. 17, 1961, pp. 37, 38).

 In accordance with Pennsylvania law, the City Planning Commission of the City of Pittsburgh prepared and recommended to the Authority a Redevelopment Area Plan for Redevelopment Area No. 3. This area comprises the Lower Hill District adjoining the Central Business District of Pittsburgh; it consisted of 46 city blocks together with access streets, making a total of 105 acres (P15).

 The Redevelopment Area Plan, *fn8" dated June 7, 1955, was promptly approved by the Authority and City Council. On October 11, 1955, a Loan and Grant Contract *fn9" was executed between the Government and the Authority. In accordance with the aforementioned Resolution adopted by the Authority, the Loan and Grant Contract specifically stated that it was executed for the purpose of extending federal financial assistance to the Authority to 'carry out a certain slum clearance and urban redevelopment project * * * under Title I of the Housing Act of 1949 as amended prior to the enactment of the Housing Act of 1954'. (Emphasis supplied.) Theexistence of these documents is not disputed.

 The Loan and Grant Contract approved the Redevelopment Plan and expressly contemplated that amendments to it might be made from time to time. See Part II, Art. I, § 101(B)(3), p. 1.

 The estimated cost of acquiring the properties in the Redevelopment Area and of demolition of buildings, etc. was in excess of $ 18,000,000 (P18). It is undisputed that the grant agreed to by the United States is nearly $ 9,000,000, by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania $ 1,000,000, by the City of Pittsburgh $ 3,000,000; Authority loans underwritten by the United States are in excess of $ 14,000,000, about 81% Of which has been expended. *fn10"

 The Redevelopment Plan provided for the redevelopment of the various parcels of land in the project area into commercial, cultural, parking and residential uses, and the maps in the Plan show the location of existing, contemplated, and eliminated streets. The land comprising Parcel 'B' contains approximately 5.34 acres and was designated for commercial land use purposes in the Plan. Chatham Street, 60 feet wide, intersected the Parcel for a distance of approximately 300 feet (P16). *fn11"

 The Plan specifically provided that a 'hotel' was permitted on land designated for commercial use (see Plan, subsection F-2-b(2)(a), p. 14). The portion covered by Chatham Street was to be used as a public thoroughfare and no structure was permitted thereon. The Plan limited the height of any building to be constructed on 'the Parcel adjacent to the Liberty Crosstown Thorofare at Fifth Avenue' to 'two stories or twenty feet' (see Plan, subsection F-2-b(2) (d), p. 15; P17). The restricted parcel appears on maps marked Exhibits B-1, and B-2 attached to the Plan, and it is a small triangular piece west of Chatham ...


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