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HILTON APPEAL. (12/12/62)

December 12, 1962

HILTON APPEAL.


Appeal, No. 181, April T., 1962, from order of County Court of Allegheny County, No. A 1997 of 1958, in re appeal of Alex E. Hilton et ux. from triennial assessment by Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review of Allegheny County. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

James A. Ashton, for appellants.

James Victor Voss, Assistant County Solicitor, with him Francis A. Barry, First Assistant County Solicitor, and Maurice Louik, County Solicitor, for Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review, appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Ervin, Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (woodside, J., absent).

Author: Montgomery

[ 199 Pa. Super. Page 587]

OPINION BY MONTGOMERY, J.

Appellants are the owners of residential property in the City of McKeesport, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Their appeal to the County Court of that county from the action of the board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review, fixing the assessment of their property for tax purposes for the triennial period 1958-1959-1960 having been dismissed, the present appeal followed. They assign as error the refusal of their motions for pretrial discovery, an alleged limitation placed on their right of cross-examination of the tax assessor who made the appraisal of their property, and finally the dismissal of their appeal. We find no merit in any of their assignments of error.

[ 199 Pa. Super. Page 588]

Appellant's case rests entirely on the contention that their property was not assessed uniformly with other comparable properties in the same district. Initially, they contended that the assessment exceeded the fair market value of their property, but later conceded that this was not true.

In preparation of their case, appellants submitted to the board a list of seven other properties alleged to be comparable with their own, and at the pretrial of the case requested the court, under Pa. R.C.P. 4009, to order the board to make available for inspection before trial the records of the board including, but not limited to, cubage, measurements and assessors' notes on the properties included in said list. Upon the refusal of this request, appellants thereupon informed the court that they intended and desired to subpoena the proper assessors for deposition, along with the records heretofore demanded of the board. However, no such subpoenas were ever issued or served on the assessors, nor was any notice in writing served on the board as required by Pa. R.C.P. 4007(c).

Pa. R.C.P. 4009 authorizes the court in which an action is pending, on motion of a party, to "order a party to produce and permit the inspection, including the copying and photographing, by or on behalf of the petitioner, of designated tangible things, including documents, papers, books, accounts, letters, photographs and objects, which are in his possession, custody or control; ...", "Subject to the limitations provided by Rule 4007(a) and Rule 4011". Both of said rules exclude privileged matters. (Emphasis ours.)

Appellants' motion was refused for two reasons, viz.: (a) the documents sought to be inspected being the working papers of the assessor are privileged under section 4(e) of the County Assessment Act of 1939, June 21, P.L. 626, ยง 4, 72 P.S. 5452.4, and ...


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