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ASTER v. BP OIL CORP.

April 14, 1976

Frank ASTER et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
BP OIL CORPORATION, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MUIR

 The Plaintiffs, Frank Aster, William Crooks, Samuel L. Glantz, Allen Passerin, Elmer Propert, Alvin Rosenberg, and Joseph Ryan, doing business as co-partners, originally filed a suit in equity against the Defendant, BP Oil, on May 19, 1975 in the Court of Common Pleas for Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. On August 25, 1975, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b), BP removed the suit to this Court. The case was tried to the Court with an advisory jury from April 2 through April 7, 1976. The Court makes the following findings of fact.

 I. FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. The tract of land which is the subject of this lawsuit is approximately one acre in size and is part of a fifty (50) acre tract situated at the Limestoneville interchange of Interstate 80 in Turbot Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.

 2. In late 1971, BP obtained an option to purchase this one acre tract and several adjacent acres from the then owners, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Stamm.

 3. The 1971 option was never exercised because neither BP nor the sellers could provide water or sewage facilities to the tract.

 4. The availability of the 50-acre tract of land for purchase was made known in 1972 to Mr. Allen Passerin, one of the Plaintiffs, by his attorney, H. William Koch, Esquire, who also represented Mr. and Mrs. Fred Stamm for purposes of selling the land.

 5. On December 26, 1972, the Plaintiffs entered into an agreement to purchase the fifty (50) acre tract of land from the Stamms for the purpose of developing a motel complex on the site.

 6. In February of 1973, Plaintiffs advised representatives of BP that they would be willing to sell one acre from the Stamm tract to BP for purposes of a gas station.

 7. On or about February 16, 1973, for a consideration of $200, Allen Passerin, acting on behalf of all Plaintiffs, executed and delivered a written purchase option to BP for the one acre parcel of land situate in Turbot Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, at a purchase price of $125,000.00.

 8. Under the purchase option, if exercised, BP agreed to purchase the parcel of land provided the Sellers complied with the conditions stated in the option.

 9. The purchase option of February 16, 1973 was on a standard printed form of BP.

 10. The purchase option dated February 16, 1973, was prepared in its entirety by one or more agents of BP.

 11. On or about March 20, 1973, Allen Passerin, on behalf of all Plaintiffs, executed and delivered to BP an amendment to said purchase option. (Uncontested)

 12. The amendment of March 20, 1973 was prepared by an executive of BP and, by or at the request of Allen Passerin, contained an additional phrase to cover blasting if required.

 13. By letter dated April 11, 1973, BP notified Plaintiffs that BP had elected to exercise said purchase option, as so amended. (Uncontested)

 14. Upon execution and delivery of said Notice of Election, a purchase agreement (hereinafter sometimes called the "Agreement") was created between Plaintiffs and BP. (Uncontested)

 15. Said purchase agreement was constituted in its entirety by the purchase option dated February 16, 1973 and the amendment dated March 20, 1973.

 16. On or about April 25, 1973, Plaintiffs took legal title to the fifty (50) acre tract of land. (Uncontested)

 17. Plaintiffs remain at the time of trial owners as tenants in copartnership of the entire 50-acre tract, including the one-acre parcel, ownership not having changed since the conveyance to Plaintiffs.

 18. The subject tract of land was surveyed by John S. Jacobs, Registered Professional Engineer, and a plot plan prepared. (The premises as described in said survey being hereinafter called the "premises"). (Uncontested)

 19. Both parties accepted said survey for the purpose of the deed description to be used in closing the transaction embodied in the Agreement. (Uncontested)

 20. In March of 1973, Mr. Passerin and John Dymond, the owner of the nearby Big "D" Truck Stop, discussed an arrangement whereby the tract of land could be connected to the Big "D" sewage treatment plant being designed and constructed by Envirosystems Corporation at the Big "D" Truck Stop.

 21. In March of 1973, Messrs. Passerin and Dymond attended a meeting of the Turbot Township Municipal Authority and discussed with the members of the Authority a proposal whereby the Municipal Authority would lease the sewage treatment plant at the Big "D" Truck stop from Envirosystems and in turn, sublease the facility to Messrs. Passerin and Dymond, subject to the approval of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources ("D.E.R.").

 22. On April 13, 1973, Samuel L. Glantz wrote BP, "We already have letters from the Sewer Authority granting permission to hook-in." (Defendant's 11)

 23. Plaintiffs never received any letter from the Sewer Authority granting permission to hook-in.

 24. On June 20, 1973, Mr. Passerin presented to the Turbot Township Municipal Authority a preliminary sewer layout for the 2,000 feet sewer pipeline to connect the tract of ...


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