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SIGAL v. MANUFACTURERS LIGHT AND HEAT CO. (01/19/73)

decided: January 19, 1973.

SIGAL, APPELLANT,
v.
MANUFACTURERS LIGHT AND HEAT CO.



Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Oct. T., 1970, No. 2, in re Serena Nemer Sigal v. The Manufacturers Light and Heat Co.

COUNSEL

Clyde W. Teel, with him Fackenthal, Teel & Stettz, for appellant.

Nathan L. Reibman, with him Joseph M. Reibman, and Reibman and Reibman, for appellee.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Manderino.

Author: Manderino

[ 450 Pa. Page 230]

The appellant, Serena Nemer Sigal, is the owner of approximately 3.66 acres of land in Palmer Township, Northampton County. On November 12, 1947, the appellant, with her husband, executed an easement in favor of the appellee, The Manufacturers Light & Heat Co. The easement authorized the construction of a 14 inch pipeline along a line which had been surveyed prior to the grant of the easement. In accordance with the easement the appellee constructed the 14 inch pipeline. For approximately 23 years there were no problems between the parties concerning the easement and the 14 inch pipeline.

In 1970, the appellee notified the appellant of its intention to construct a new 20 inch pipeline across her land, parallel to the 14 inch pipeline at a distance approximately ten feet away from the 14 inch pipeline. The appellant gave notice to the appellee not to enter her property. Appellee informed the appellant it was

[ 450 Pa. Page 231]

    acting within the rights granted to it under the 1947 easement agreement and the appellee then began construction of the 20 inch pipeline across appellant's property.

Appellant filed a complaint in equity, and a preliminary injunction, halting construction, was granted against the appellee on October 29, 1970. On November 2, 1970, a hearing on the appellant's motion to continue the injunction was held. Both parties agreed that this hearing would also serve as a hearing on the permanent injunction. At the conclusion of the November 2, hearing, the chancellor dissolved the preliminary injunction and refused to grant a permanent injunction. Exceptions filed by the appellant before the court en banc were dismissed and this appeal followed.

Appellee has moved for a quashing of this appeal arguing that the controversy is moot because construction of the new 20 inch pipeline is complete. Construction was completed between November 2, 1970, the date the preliminary injunction was dissolved and April 5, 1971, the date the court en banc dismissed appellant's exceptions. Appellee claims that since the act to be restrained has been completed there is nothing for this court to decide. We disagree.

In this case the appellant averred that the construction of the new 20 inch pipeline would constitute a continuing trespass and an unlawful taking. The complaint requested not only injunctive relief, but also prayed for damages, punitive and otherwise, and also requested general relief. Equity had proper jurisdiction in this matter and may, under the prayer for general relief, validly frame any proper relief agreeable to the case pleaded and proven.

In Hayden v. Hayden, 354 Pa. 11, 13-14, 46 A.2d 502 (1946), this Court stated that it is a well-established rule that an equity ...


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