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STAHL v. FIRST PENNSYLVANIA BANKING AND TRUST COMPANY. (06/04/63)

June 4, 1963

STAHL, ATTORNEY GENERAL, APPELLANT
v.
FIRST PENNSYLVANIA BANKING AND TRUST COMPANY.



Appeal, No. 356, Jan. T., 1962, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 5 of Philadelphia County, Sept. T., 1961, No. 2574, in case of David Stahl, Attorney General, v. The First Pennsylvania Banking and Trust Company et al. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Francis T. Anderson, with him John P. Walsh, Special Assistant Attorney General, Jack M. Cohen and Joseph H. Savitz, Deputy Attorneys General, Samuel B. Blaskey, Special Counsel, and David Stahl, Attorney General, for appellant.

Harry E. Sprogell, with him Saul, Ewing, Remick & Saul, for appellee.

Theodore Voorhees, Philip Price, and Dechert, Price & Rhoads, for amicus curiae, under Rule 65.

J. B. H. Carter, Ernest Scott, and Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, for amicus curiae, under Rule 65.

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

Author: Bell

[ 411 Pa. Page 122]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BELL

David Stahl, Attorney General of the Commonwealth, has appealed from a final Order of Court of Common Pleas No. 5 of Philadelphia County, which sustained preliminary objections and dismissed his petition for (1) discovery and an accounting and (2) for an order upon the appellee First Pennsylvania Banking and Trust Company (hereinafter sometimes referred to as Pennsylvania) directing it to pay certain monies into the State treasury without escheat.

This petition was filed by the Attorney General pursuant to the Act of May 16, 1919, P.L. 177, as amended, 27 P.S. ยง 431 et seq. That Act provides that the Attorney General may petition the proper Court for an order on, inter alia, a person, bank or other corporation directing it to pay to the Commonwealth

[ 411 Pa. Page 123]

    money or property (together with interest thereon) which is escheatable under any other Act. Under the Act of 1919, any property which is made the subject of such an order is paid into the treasury of the Commonwealth and is appropriated by it and used for its own purposes. This is a temporary appropriation, not an actual and permanent escheat, since the rightful owner, i.e. any person legally entitled to such money (or the legal representatives thereof), can, at some future date, recover such property from the Commonwealth if he establishes his ownership or right thereto: Alpern v. Girard Trust Corn Exchange Bank, 403 Pa. 391, 170 A.2d 87.

In this petition the Attorney General sought possession of money or property (a) allegedly in the possession of Pennsylvania, and (b) allegedly escheatable under the Act of June 7, 1915, P.L. 878, as amended, 27 P.S. ยง 241 et seq. That Act provides for the escheat of certain property when, for the period of various fixed numbers of years, the rightful owner or his whereabouts are unknown, or when such rightful owner has not claimed the property sought to be escheated.

In his petition the Attorney General prayed that Pennsylvania pay into the State treasury without escheat a total sum of $4,693,797.26 and an order for a discovery and an accounting of other allegedly escheatable property from Pennsylvania for the years 1900 to 1933, and from the Bank of North America and Trust Company (hereinafter referred to as North America) from 1900 to 1929.

Pennsylvania was incorporated, sub nomine Pennsylvania Company for Insurance on Lives and Granting Annuities, by Special Act of Assembly of March 10, 1812, and its charter was amended, also by Special Act of Assembly, on February 26, 1836. Pennsylvania has merged many times with ...


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