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ROBERT AND MINNIE FLAHARTY v. SCHOOL DIRECTORS EASTERN SCHOOL DISTRICT (03/14/75)

decided: March 14, 1975.

ROBERT AND MINNIE FLAHARTY, ET AL, APPELLANTS,
v.
SCHOOL DIRECTORS OF EASTERN SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of York County in case of Robert Flaharty, Minnie Flaharty, Glenn Flaharty, Norma Huyett, David E. Keesey, Ramon F. Dacheux, Louise Hake and James E. Sweltzer, Jr. v. School Directors of Eastern School District, No. 13 May Term, 1974.

COUNSEL

Allen H. Smith, for appellants.

Henry W. Rhoads, with him W. Burg Anstine, Clyde R. Hendershot, Anstine & Anstine, and Rhoads, Sinon & Reader, for appellees.

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

Author: Crumlish

[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 638]

Presently before us is an appeal transferred from the Supreme Court from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of York County, which on June 13, 1974 dismissed exceptions to two previous opinions and orders of that court. The first order sustained a demurrer of the Defendant School Directors of Eastern School District (Appellee) to the complaint in equity of Robert Flaharty and Minnie Flaharty, et al, (Appellants). The second order required Appellants to post bond in the amount of $100,000.00 indemnifying the school district for possible losses incurred as a result of the delay caused by litigation.

The factual posture of this appeal is as follows. The Eastern School District needed a new senior high school. A public hearing was convened by the school board (Board) for the purpose of determining cost estimates, which in due course were approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (Department). Subsequent to this approval, the Act of June 27, 1973, P.L. , No. 34, 24 P.S. ยง 7-701.1, colloquially referred to as the "Taj

[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 639]

Mahal Act" or Act 34*fn1 was enacted. After the effective date of Act 34, bids were invited and received for the general contract, heating, ventilation, plumbing and electrical work. No bids were requested or received for equipment and fixtures or water to site cost. The total cost at this point appeared to exceed by more than eight (8) percent the initial bidding construction cost estimates originally approved by the Department. Hence a new hearing was held pursuant to the terms of Act 34.*fn2

Appellants, disgruntled by Board and Department handling of the proposal, filed a summons in equity to which Appellees responded with a petition seeking an order requiring the prompt filing of a complaint and an indemnification bond. A complaint was filed praying, inter alia, that:

"1. The Eastern School Directors be enjoined from letting any contracts, issuing any bonds, or proceeding further with construction plans until a second hearing is held of a public nature.

[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 640]

"2. The Eastern School District Directors be enjoined from proceedings further with planned construction or proceeding with a second hearing until it has firm bids for water site costs, any and all other possible construction costs which ...


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