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STAHL v. INSURANCE COMPANY NORTH AMERICA (10/05/62)

October 5, 1962

STAHL, ATTORNEY GENERAL
v.
INSURANCE COMPANY OF NORTH AMERICA, APPELLANT.



Appeals, Nos. 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41 and 42, May T., 1962, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, No. 360 Commonwealth Docket, 1958, in case of David Stahl, Attorney General, v. Insurance Company of North America, Indemnity Insurance Company of North America, Life Insurance Company of North America et al. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Robert B. Ely, III, with him George H. Hafer, Robert L. Rubendall, and Hull, Leiby and Metzger, for appellants.

Jack M. Cohen, Deputy Attorney General, with him Robert M. Taylor, Special Assistant Attorney General, and David Stahl, Attorney General, for appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen and O'brien, JJ.

Author: Eagen

[ 408 Pa. Page 484]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE EAGEN

These are appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County dismissing a petition in escheat proceedings for lack of jurisdiction.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania initiated the action to compel the Insurance Company of North America to pay into the State Treasury without escheat certain unascertained personal property presently in the possession and control of the respondent company which is due and payable to others, and which has remained unclaimed for a period of seven years and upwards. By agreement, several subsidiary companies of the original respondent were permitted to intervene.

The petition was specifically filed pursuant to the provisions of the General Act of Assembly of May 16, 1919, P.L. 177, as supplemented and amended, 27 P.S. § 431 et seq., and as re-enacted by The Fiscal Code of April 9, 1929, P.L. 343, § 1310, as amended, 72 P.S. § 1310.

In answer filed, the respondents denied holding any property under conditions rendering it escheatable to the Commonwealth, but included a cross-petition therein, wherein it was stated that certain unclaimed personal property belonging to others was within the control and possession of the respondents, which is the

[ 408 Pa. Page 485]

    subject of the controversy with the Commonwealth. It asserted that this property for certain stated reasons was not payable to the Commonwealth with or without escheat and requested a declaratory judgment in favor of the respondents.

Subsequently, all of the parties to the litigation entered into a stipulation setting forth in detail certain facts dealing with the property involved.*fn1 In the stipulation, it was also recited that the Commonwealth claimed the property with or without escheat under tenlisted and allegedly relevant statutes; that the respondents denied liability under any existing law or statute; that all parties requested the court to decide the issue as if the ...


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