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JAMES J. SHARKEY AND JESSICA SHARKEY v. WILLIAM SHOWERS (04/17/75)

decided: April 17, 1975.

JAMES J. SHARKEY AND JESSICA SHARKEY, ON BEHALF OF ALL TAXPAYERS OF UNION COUNTY, APPELLANTS,
v.
WILLIAM SHOWERS, L. DICE MILLER, DALE B. SPANGLER, COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, AND BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS OF UNION COUNTY, AND THOMAS Y. LAWRENCE, TAX COLLECTOR, AND JOHN EATON, CHIEF ASSESSOR, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Union County in case of James J. Sharkey and Jessica Sharkey, individually and on behalf of all Taxpayers of Union County, v. William L. Showers, L. Dice Miller, Dale B. Spangler, County Commissioners, and Board of Assessment Appeals of Union County, and Thomas Y. Lawrence, Tax Collector, and John Eaton, Chief Assessor, No. 372-1973.

COUNSEL

Charles J. McKelvey, with him McNerney, Page, Vanderlin & Hall, for appellants.

Graham C. Showalter, for appellees.

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

Author: Bowman

[ 18 Pa. Commw. Page 364]

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Union County sustaining appellees' preliminary

[ 18 Pa. Commw. Page 365]

    objections and dismissing appellants' class action complaint in "assessment appeal" with prejudice to the class, but without prejudice to the named appellants.

The named appellants and the class they purport to represent are taxpayers of Union County, a seventh class county. In July of 1973, appellants received their 1973 occupation tax assessment and discovered that their assessment had been increased without prior notice. Such an increase without notice, appellants contend, contravenes the notice provisions contained in section 701 of The Fourth to Eighth Class County Assessment Law, Act of May 21, 1943, P.L. 571, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5453.701 (Supp. 1974-1975) (Assessment Law).

After receiving his 1973 assessment, appellant, Sharkey, on August 3, 1973, sent a notice to the Union County Assessor informing the Assessor that he wished to appeal the recent occupational assessment made against him. Following a hearing, the Board of Assessment Appeals denied his appeal on August 21, 1973. Thereafter, Sharkey appealed the Board's decision to the Court of Common Pleas of Union County and incident to that appeal, added his wife and all other taxpayers of Union County as party "plaintiffs," thereby attempting to transform his appeal into an original jurisdiction class action suit.

Preliminary objections were filed to appellants' complaint by appellees in the form of a motion to strike the class action, which objections were sustained resulting in the appeal to this Court.

Section 701 of the Assessment Law, 72 P.S. § 5453.701 provides in summary that the Board, upon receipt of the assessment role, shall review said role by August 15. Within five days after the examination the Board must notify all taxpayers of any change in their assessments. The taxpayer must, if he wishes to contest his assessment, file a ...


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