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RAGIN v. SCHWARTZ

April 15, 1975

Darlene RAGIN, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
Allan SCHWARTZ, Constable, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SNYDER

SNYDER, District Judge.

This is an action for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief challenging the constitutionality of those portions of Article III of the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951 (The Act) which authorize a landlord's seizure and sale of a tenant's property for unpaid rent without prior notice or opportunity to present a defense. *fn1" We find those portions of Article III violate Due Process requirements and will grant the requested relief.

 On July 30, 1973, Darlene Ragin entered into a written lease agreement for an apartment with Allegheny Commons East Associates, through its agent, Regional Sales, Inc., for a term of twelve months, at a monthly rental of $171.50, payable in advance. On April 20, 1974, after default in the payment due April 1, 1974, Mrs. Ragin found posted on her front door a "Notice of Distraint" which stated as follows:

 "NOTICE OF DISTRAINT

 To Darlene Ragin

 You are hereby notified that by authority and on behalf of your Landlord, Regional Sales Inc. I have this day distrained the several goods and chattels specified in the inventory hereto annexed the same being ALL THE GOODS AND CHATTELS LOCATED AT Ally Common apt. 112F in Pittsburgh County of Ally and State of Pennsylvania, for arrearages of rent due 1st day of April and unpaid for the amount of 171.50 Dollars; and if you do not pay the same, together with the costs of this proceeding, or replevy said goods and chattels according to law, within five days hereafter, I shall cause the said goods and chattels to be appraised, and proceed to sell the same, according to the Act of Assembly in such case made and provided.

 Given under my hand, this 20th day of April, 1974

 RENT PER MONTH: 171.50

 OTHER CHARGED:

 /s/ Allan Schwartz

 Constable

 2569 PARK HILL ...


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