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SCIOTTO v. SCIOTTO (03/22/72)

decided: March 22, 1972.

SCIOTTO
v.
SCIOTTO, APPELLANT



Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Blair County, Partition No. 1930 of 1966, in case of Rosario Sciotto v. Frank Sciotto.

COUNSEL

Neil B. Murchison, with him John F. Sullivan, for appellant.

Merle K. Evey, with him Patterson, Evey, Routch & Black, for appellee.

Jones, Eagen, O'Brien, Pomeroy and Barbieri, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Chief Justice Jones. The former Mr. Chief Justice Bell and Mr. Justice Roberts took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. The former Mr. Justice Barbieri took no part in the decision of this case.

Author: Jones

[ 446 Pa. Page 415]

This is an appeal from the decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County affirming the report of a master with respect to the distribution of jointly-owned property. We affirm this decree.

In 1951, the appellants, Frank Sciotto, and appellee, Rosario Sciotto, brothers, became tenants in common to several pieces of real estate devised to them by the will of their father and located in Altoona, Pennsylvania. In 1966, appellee commenced an action in equity to partition the aforementioned real estate. A master was appointed for the purpose of conducting a private sale of the said real estate and the property

[ 446 Pa. Page 416]

    was purchased by appellant for $12,000. In addition to conducting the sale, the master took testimony for the purpose of allocating certain debits and credits between the parties.

The master's report, filed pursuant to Pa. R. C. P. § 1569, found the appellant to have been in substantially exclusive possession of the premises since 1959, when the appellee married and left the house. After receiving testimony from a real estate appraiser and the parties to this litigation, the master fixed the fair monthly rental value of the premises at $65 and recommended that appellant be charged for rent at the rate of $32.50 per month from December, 1959.

The appellant filed timely exceptions to the master's findings pursuant to Pa. R. C. P. § 1569(c) alleging as follows: (1) as a matter of law and fact, the finding of the master that appellant had substantially exclusive possession of the premises was erroneous and (2) the fair rental value of the property as determined by the master was excessive.

The court below adopted the findings and conclusions of the master, except for modifying the report to limit rental payments to the period after December 15, 1961, the six-year statute of limitations precluding recovery prior to that date. This appeal followed.*fn1

This case arises under the Act of June 24, 1895, P. L. 237, § 1, 68 P.S. § 101, which provides: "In all cases in which any real ...


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