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BOARD COMMISSIONERS POTTER COUNTY ET AL. v. CLAUDE O. TURNER AND MABEL S. TURNER (02/23/78)

decided: February 23, 1978.

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF POTTER COUNTY ET AL., APPELLANTS
v.
CLAUDE O. TURNER AND MABEL S. TURNER, HUSBAND AND WIFE ET AL., APPELLEES. BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF POTTER COUNTY ET AL., APPELLANTS V. J. BOYD JESTES AND VELMA JESTES, HUSBAND AND WIFE ET AL., APPELLEES



Appeals from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Potter County in cases of Claude O. Turner and Mabel S. Turner, husband and wife; Louis Legacy and Gladys Legacy, husband and wife; and Earl Hyde and Margaret Hyde, husband and wife, v. Board of Commissioners of Potter County, Potter County Board of Assessment Appeals, and Chief Assessor, Ferdinand W. Gunzburger, No. 784 of 1976; and J. Boyd Jestes and Velma Jestes, husband and wife; Walter Slawuta, Lorene Dunn, Robert E. Rice, Jr. and Jane K. Rice, husband and wife, and Berwyn and Tyllis Baker, husband and wife, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, v. Board of Commissioners of Potter County, Potter County Board of Assessment Appeals, and Chief Assessor Ferdinand W. Gunzburger, No. 149 of 1977.

COUNSEL

D. Bruce Cahilly, Solicitor, for appellants.

John B. Leete, for appellees.

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

Author: Mencer

[ 33 Pa. Commw. Page 641]

The Board of Commissioners of Potter County, the Potter County Board of Assessment Appeals, and the Chief Assessor of Potter County (defendants) appeal from orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Potter County denying petitions to open peremptory judgments entered against them in two actions in mandamus. The plaintiffs in both cases, which were consolidated for argument before this Court, are Potter County taxpayers. This litigation arises from the alleged failure of the defendants to comply with the time schedule for reassessing property values set forth in The Fourth to Eighth Class County Assessment Law (Act).*fn1 We hold that the allegations made in the

[ 33 Pa. Commw. Page 642]

    complaints in these two matters do not establish causes of action in mandamus, and we therefore reverse the orders of the lower court.

In February 1975, the Board of Commissioners of Potter County entered into a contract with Commonwealth Appraisals, Inc., for the countywide reassessment of property values. The contract specified a completion date of August 1, 1976. However, the reassessments were not in fact completed until October 1976. Taxpayers were advised of the reassessments through notices mailed on or about October 20, 1976. However, these notices did not specify when the reassessed values were to be implemented for purposes of taxation.

On December 23, 1976, the first complaint in mandamus was filed on behalf of six named Potter County taxpayers. The complaint alleged a failure to comply with the time schedule established by the Act but made no allegation concerning when the reassessed values were to be implemented. The complaint requested that the defendants be compelled to fully comply with the statutory time deadlines relative to the implementation of new assessments. Peremptory judgment was entered against the defendants granting the relief requested, and defendants' petition to open judgment was subsequently denied by the Court of Common Pleas sitting en banc.

The second complaint in mandamus was filed as a class action on March 4, 1977 on behalf of certain named taxpayers and all other taxpayers similarly situated. It alleged similar facts and sought similar relief. Peremptory judgment was entered in favor

[ 33 Pa. Commw. Page 643]

    of the class on March 14, 1977, directing defendants to "assess and collect taxes . . . on the bases of the reassessed valuations in compliance with the mandatory dates . . . of the [Act]." ...


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