Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, March T., 1961, No. 867, in case of Chester Bozitsko v. Rolland A. Hoffman et al.
George I. Puhak, with him Andrew I. Puhak, for appellant.
Anthony P. Sidari, for appellees.
Ervin, P. J., Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, and Spaulding, JJ. Opinion by Jacobs.
[ 207 Pa. Super. Page 494]
This is an action to quiet title brought by the purchaser of a property at tax sale in 1956 against one of the grantees and the heirs and personal representatives of the other two grantees, to whom were conveyed six tracts of land in 1927, the deed being duly recorded.*fn1 It was tried without a jury. Plaintiff appeals from judgment entered for the defendants. We affirm.
The property in question is a 188 acre tract in Luzerne County which was assessed both in Butler Township and in Dennison Township, but was at trial determined to lie in Dennison Township. In 1928, after the conveyance of 1,368 acres, covering six tracts including the one at issue, from Joseph M. Hoffman and his wife to Arthur F. Hoffman, Rolland A. Hoffman and Llewellyn J. Hoffman, the six tracts were lumped together and assessed in Butler Township in the name of the Hoffman brothers. Although all six tracts were
[ 207 Pa. Super. Page 495]
included in this lumping process in Butler Township, the one tract which to this time had been assessed in Dennison Township was not removed from the Dennison Township assessment records, continuing there as an assessment of 188 acres of brush land in the name of "John Garity". In 1928 and thereafter there was no person by the name of "John Garity", which was apparently a corruption of "John Gartley", the original warrantee.
All taxes levied on the bulk assessment of the six tracts had been paid by the Hoffmans to the time of this suit. All the conveyances made from their land, including the Dennison Township tract, were described as being in Butler Township.
Taxes for the years 1954 and 1955 on the assessment of 188 acres in Dennison Township were not paid and the land was sold on September 5, 1956 by the Tax Claim Bureau of Luzerne County at public sale to the plaintiff for $800. On January 16, 1957, the Tax Claim Bureau gave the plaintiff a deed, which was duly recorded.
After a trial before the court without a jury, Judge Bigelow, the trial judge, found that John Garity was never the owner of the land claimed by the plaintiff; that the defendants never knew of the plaintiff's claim to the land until 1960, and that no mail notice of the 1956 tax sale was sent to Rolland A. Hoffman, one of the owners. The court below declared the tax deed and the sale on which it was based invalid and, after argument on objections before the court en banc, entered judgment to that effect. The court en banc held that the tax was paid, ...