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RAMAD REALTY CORP. v. SPRINGETTSBURY TOWNSHIP SEWER AUTHORITY (08/30/73)

decided: August 30, 1973.

RAMAD REALTY CORP., APPELLANT,
v.
SPRINGETTSBURY TOWNSHIP SEWER AUTHORITY, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of York County in cases of Ramad Realty Corp. v. Springettsbury Township Sewer Authority, No. 5 August Term, 1972, and Condemnation of Lands of Ramad Realty Corp., Springettsbury Township, York Post Office, Pennsylvania, recorded in Deed Book 58-Y, Page 216-217 v. Springettsbury Township Sewer Authority of the Township of Springettsbury, York County, Pennsylvania, for purposes of a sewer line, No. 249 August Term, 1972.

COUNSEL

Donald L. Reihart, with him Laucks & Monroe, for appellant.

Gerald E. Ruth, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 10 Pa. Commw. Page 2]

This case involves the question of what remedies are available to a landowner when his property is taken or damaged by an Authority possessing the power of eminent domain without a declaration of taking having

[ 10 Pa. Commw. Page 3]

    been filed or any other procedure provided by the Eminent Domain Code*fn1 (Code) having been followed before the taking.

Appellant is an owner of a tract of land in Springettsbury Township, York County. In July of 1970, Appellee, Springettsbury Township Sewer Authority, entered upon Appellant's premises and constructed a sewer line without having filed a declaration of taking. On May 24, 1972 Appellant filed an action in equity in which it sought (1) an injunction forcing the Authority to remove the sewer and restore the property to its original state; and (2) damages, both actual and punitive, for the alleged unlawful entry on and seizure of appellant's land. On June 1, 1972, the Authority filed a Declaration of Taking with respect to the land in question.*fn2 On June 15, 1972, Appellee filed preliminary objections to Appellant's equity action basically alleging that Appellant's exclusive remedy in this matter was under The Eminent Domain Code. Thereafter Appellant filed Preliminary Objections to the Declaration of Taking asserting that the Declaration should be dismissed because of the pendency of the prior equity action. In the alternative, Appellant alleged that the construction of the sewer line was unlawful and unreasonably situated.

The two actions were consolidated and argued*fn3 before the Court of Common Pleas of York County. That court held that the Code provided an exclusive remedy and that the equity action should be dismissed. The

[ 10 Pa. Commw. Page 4]

    court also overruled the Preliminary Objections to the Declaration of Taking which were based on allegations that the sewer line was unlawful and unreasonably situated.

Appellant's first contention is that equity has jurisdiction to issue injunctive relief when a municipality constructs a sewer line without filing condemnation proceedings. In essence, Appellant argues that when a municipality has not filed a Declaration of Taking, equity is available to challenge the right, power and authority of the municipality to exercise the right of eminent domain. In limited circumstances, this proposition may be correct but ...


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