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REDDING v. ATLANTIC CITY ELECTRIC COMPANY ET AL. (10/09/70)

decided: October 9, 1970.

REDDING
v.
ATLANTIC CITY ELECTRIC COMPANY ET AL., APPELLANTS



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Adams County, Feb. T., 1969, No. 2, in case of Carroll J. Redding et ux. v. Atlantic City Electric Company et al.

COUNSEL

M. Carton Dittmann, Jr., with him Benjamin Lerner, Donald Blanken, Edwin W. Scott, Vincent P. McDevitt, and Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll, for appellants.

Donald G. Oyler, with him Wolf and Oyler, for appellees.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen. Mr. Justice Roberts concurs in the result.

Author: Cohen

[ 440 Pa. Page 534]

This is an appeal from an order dismissing appellant's preliminary objections which alleged that equity

[ 440 Pa. Page 535]

    had no jurisdiction to determine the validity of a condemnation of an easement for a transmission line by electric public utility corporations.

Appellants are electric public utility corporations who as part of an extra-high voltage transmission system being constructed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland are attempting to construct an extra-high voltage transmission line from the Conemaugh Switching Station in Central Pennsylvania to a point on the Pennsylvania-Maryland border in York County. Appellants negotiated with Carroll and Virginia Redding, appellees, for the purchase of a right of way across their property in Adams County but were unable to reach an agreement. They then initiated condemnation proceedings by action of the board of directors of each appellant and by application to the Public Utility Commission under the Act of May 8, 1889, P. L. 136, § 4, added May 21, 1921, P. L. 1057, § 1, 15 P.S. § 3272.

Appellees appeared and participated in a Commission hearing and objected to appellants' application. By order dated August 26, 1968, however, the Commission found that the service to be furnished through the proposed exercise of the eminent domain power was "necessary or proper for the service, accommodation, convenience, or safety of the public, and that a certificate to that effect should issue." Appellees filed no appeal with the Superior Court.

After originally refusing the tender of a condemnation bond and opposing a petition for approval of the bond in the Court of Common Pleas of Adams County, appellees, on October 25, 1968, withdrew all objections to the bond as presented. Appellants then proceeded to clear the right of way and construct the transmission towers.

On January 8, 1969 appellees filed a complaint in equity seeking to enjoin appellants permanently from entering upon their ...


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