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BLUE CROSS APPEAL (03/16/65)

decided: March 16, 1965.

BLUE CROSS APPEAL


Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, April T., 1964, No. 697, in re appeal of City of Pittsburgh from Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review of Allegheny County.

COUNSEL

Edward L. Springer, with him Louis M. Tarasi, Jr., John W. Wishart, and Burgwin, Ruffin, Perry & Pohl, for appellant.

Frederick A. Boehm, Assistant City Solicitor, with him David W. Craig, City Solicitor, for City of Pittsburgh, appellee.

James S. Feight, Staff Counsel, J. Wesley Oler, William E. Lingelbach, Jr., W. James MacIntosh, and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, for The Associated Hospital Service of Philadelphia, under Rule 65.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen.

Author: Jones

[ 416 Pa. Page 575]

In 1961, Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania (Blue Cross), purchased certain realty in Pittsburgh for the purpose of erecting thereon its headquarters building. On April 27, 1961, Blue Cross filed a tax exemption application with the Board of Property

[ 416 Pa. Page 576]

Assessment, Appeals and Review of Allegheny County (Board), requesting the tax exemption of such realty under § 8 of the "Nonprofit Hospital Plan Act"*fn1 (Act) which provides: "Nonprofit corporations, subject to the provisions of this act, are hereby declared to be charitable and benevolent institutions, and all of their funds and investments shall be exempt from taxation by the Commonwealth and its policital subdivisions."

On January 3, 1964, after a hearing, the Board declared this Blue Cross realty exempt from taxation. On January 21, 1964, the City of Pittsburgh (City), pursuing its statutory remedy, appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County,*fn2 the basis of its appeal being three-fold: (a) that § 8 of the Act violates the Pennsylvania Constitution; (b) that § 8 of the Act violates the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution; (c) that Blue Cross is not a "charitable and benevolent" institution exempt from taxation under § 8 of the Act.

Blue Cross filed preliminary objections which raised two questions: (1) that the court below had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of this action since the Board possessed no discretionary power but its action was mandated by the provisions of the "Nonprofit Hospital Plan Act"; (2) the City had no standing to appeal. The court below dismissed Blue Cross' preliminary objections and from that order Blue Cross has appealed.

Preliminarily, it must be noted that on this appeal, taken under the Act of 1925 (March 5, 1925, P. L. 23, § 1, 12 P.S. § 672), our scope of review is limited to a determination whether the court below has ...


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