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GRACE BUILDING CO. v. CHESTER COUNTY LAND CORPORATION (05/27/75)

decided: May 27, 1975.

GRACE BUILDING CO., INC., APPELLANT,
v.
CHESTER COUNTY LAND CORPORATION, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County in case of Chester County Land Corporation v. Grace Building Company. No. 1939 of 1967.

COUNSEL

Alfred O. Breinig, Jr., for appellant.

William J. C. O'Donnell, with him O'Donnell & O'Donnell, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 19 Pa. Commw. Page 269]

The question presented by this appeal is whether or not a certain tax sale must be set aside because of the alleged failure of the local tax claim bureau to follow the notice provisions of Section 308 and 602 of the

[ 19 Pa. Commw. Page 270]

Real Estate Tax Sale Law.*fn1 The Court of Common Pleas of Chester County held that it must. We affirm.

The relevant facts of this case are as follows. On July 1, 1959, Chester County Land Corporation (Chester) purchased a tract of land in West Bradford Township, Chester County. By an agreement dated July 16, 1962, all of the issued and outstanding stock of Chester was purchased from the estate of one Ivan C. Satow by Penrose Reichman and Ronald H. Reichman. On January 16, 1963, Penrose Reichman sent a letter to the township tax collector and the Chester County Tax Assessment Office advising of the stock transfer and requesting that all future tax bills be forwarded to Penrose Reichman, Box T, Paoli, Pa. On November 21, 1963, Penrose Reichman again sent letters to the above tax entities with the same request for a change of address.

Despite these letters, Chester's tax bills for the year 1964 were mailed by the township tax collector to its former address and not the Paoli address. These bills were returned by the post office with a notation, "Out-of Business." Payment not having been made, the tax collector sent a deliquent tax return to the tax claim bureau. The bureau then forwarded its notice of tax lien and notice of tax sale to Chester at its former address. These notices were returned by the post office with the notations, "Out of Business" and "Deceased." The subject properties were then posted, listed, and advertised for sale and eventually sold to Grace Building Co., Inc. (Grace) on or about October 11, 1966.

Chester discovered, sometime in November 1967, that its property had been sold to Grace and, on December 19, 1967, filed a complaint in equity with the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County. On December 20, 1973, the lower court issued a decree nisi

[ 19 Pa. Commw. Page 271]

    setting aside the October 11, 1966 tax sale to Grace and directing Chester to pay to Grace the price Grace had paid at the tax sale. Grace filed exceptions to the decree nisi, but these were denied and the decree nisi was ...


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