Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County in cases of Richard Clark v. Esther Weinberg et al., No. 321 May Term, 1975, and Betty Goldman, Executrix of the Estate of Esther Weinberg v. Richard Clark, No. 1188 September Term, 1975.
Thomas M. Holmes, with him Myron A. Pinkus, and Thomas J. Munley, for appellant.
Howard M. Spizer, for appellee.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Blatt and DiSalle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 301]
Betty Goldman (appellant), executrix of the estate of Esther Weinberg, appeals here from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County which upheld a tax sale of property to Richard Clark (appellee).
The property in question consists of three lots located in Scott Township which were originally purchased by Esther Weinberg in 1952. Following her death in 1960, the property was devised to her three children, and Betty Goldman was made executrix of her mother's estate. In December 1972, Richard Clark purchased the property at a public tax sale and received a county treasurer's deed which he subsequently recorded in the county deed book in April 1974. Shortly thereafter, Clark filed an action to quiet title
[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 302]
against Esther Weinberg and her devisees claiming title to the property in question by virtue of the county treasurer's deed. In July 1975, the appellant, as executrix of her mother's estate, initiated an action in ejectment alleging her claim of title. The lower court consolidated both actions for trial and it subsequently held that Richard Clark was the legal owner of the property. This appeal followed.
The appellant contends initially that the tax sale was invalid because the county treasurer had failed to give her proper notice. It is axiomatic that the notice provisions of a tax sale statute must be strictly complied with to guard against the deprivation of property without due process of law. C. Everett, Inc. v. Ayres, 22 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 422, 349 A.2d 514 (1975). The notice which was required to be given the appellant is defined in Section 7 of the Act of May 29, 1931, P.L. 280, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5971g, which provides in pertinent part:
[A]t least ten days before any such sale, written notice thereof shall be served by the county treasurer, by registered mail or certified mail, upon the owner of such land. . . . If notice was mailed as herein required, no such sale shall be prejudiced or defeated, and no title to property sold at such sale shall be invalidated by proof that such written notice was not received by the owner or terre tenant as herein provided.
At the trial in the lower court, the appellee introduced his county treasurer's deed as evidence of his title to the property. In Hughes v. Chaplin, 389 Pa. 93, 95, 132 A.2d 200, 202 (1957), our Supreme Court affirmed the principle that a property owner makes out a prima facie case to sustain his title by producing the county treasurer's ...