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RYDER v. PROSPECT PARK REALTY CO. (06/17/65)

decided: June 17, 1965.

RYDER, APPELLANT,
v.
PROSPECT PARK REALTY CO., INC.



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, No. 690 of 1964, in case of Fred W. Ryder v. Prospect Park Realty Co., Inc.

COUNSEL

John W. Wellman, for appellant.

Samuel Lichtenfeld, for appellee.

Ervin, P. J., Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, and Hoffman, JJ. (Flood, J., absent). Opinion by Hoffman, J.

Author: Hoffman

[ 206 Pa. Super. Page 109]

On November 2, 1963, a landlord's complaint issued by a justice of the peace of Delaware County was served upon appellee, Prospect Park Realty Co., Inc. The landlord, Fred W. Ryder, appellant in this proceeding, demanded repossession of certain premises, rent due, and other damages. After a hearing at which appellee was not present, the justice of the peace entered a judgment granting such repossession, and damages in the amount of $4680.00, plus costs.*fn1 This judgment was

[ 206 Pa. Super. Page 110]

    then transferred to the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County. Subsequently, appellee filed a petition with rule to show cause why the judgment should not be stricken. After an argument before the court, the rule was made absolute and the judgment was stricken.

The sole issue before us is whether the court below correctly ruled that a justice of the peace lacks jurisdiction over a landlord's complaint in which both repossession of real estate and money damages in excess of $500 are demanded. The Act of July 7, 1879, P. L. 194, § 1, as amended by Act of December 9, 1955, P. L. 817, § 1, 42 P.S. § 241, provides:

"The aldermen, magistrates and justices of the peace, in this commonwealth, shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the courts of common pleas of all actions arising from contract, either express or implied, and of all actions arising from contract either express or implied and of all actions of trespass, wherein the sum demanded does not exceed five hundred ($500) dollars, except in cases of real contract where the title to lands or tenements may come in question."

Jurisdiction under this section is determined by the sum demanded; such sum may be ascertained from the transcript of the justice of the peace. Neel v. Cann, 158 Pa. Superior Ct. 426, 45 A.2d 415 (1946). In the present case it is clear from the transcript that the amount claimed is in excess of the $500 jurisdictional limit set by the statute.

Appellant contends, however, that this limit does not apply to damages awarded for rent or for the unjust detention of premises in a proceeding brought by the landlord for the recovery of possession under Article V, § 504, of The Landlord and Tenant Act of ...


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