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STANTON TRIESTER v. 191 TENANTS ASSOCIATION (11/16/79)

filed: November 16, 1979.

STANTON TRIESTER, LEONARD J. MERCER, JR. AND CLAUDE L. BENNER, APPELLANTS,
v.
191 TENANTS ASSOCIATION, MORRIS A. KRAVITZ, EDWARD HAISFIELD, ELAINE LIEBERMAN, RITA KORN, MEYER MARCUS, HARRY PENNEYS, EDWARD POLISHER, DAVID GINSBERG, SAMUEL L. LIEBERMAN, SANFORD M. ROSENBLOOM, MR. & MRS. JOSEPH ARIANO, MR. & MRS. DAVID BECKER, JULIE BECKER, MR. & MRS. MORRIS BERGER, MR. & MRS. BORDMAN, HERBERT BRILLIANT, MR. & MRS. LOU BROOKS, MRS. LEO CHADWIN, MR. & MRS. JOSEPH COHEN, MR. & MRS. SAM CRAVITZ, JOYCE CREAMER, MR. & MRS. DANIEL DENENBERG, MR. & MRS. MAX ELION, MR. & MRS. STANLEY ELKMAN, MR. & MRS. REUBEN FEINBERG, DR. & MRS. HARRY FIELDS, ARTHUR FIRST, MR. & MRS. PHILIP FRANK, MR. & MRS. HARRY GOLD, MR. & MRS. JACK GOLDEN, DOROTHY RODGERS, MR. & MRS. JACK ROEBERG, MR. & MRS. SAMUEL ROSENBLUM, DR. & MRS. OSCAR ROSS, MR. & MRS. HARRY RUBEN, MR. & MRS. RALPH SCHWARTZ, ROSE SELDEN, MR. & MRS. ABE SEROT, MORTON SHERMAN, MR. & MRS. LOUIS SLONSKY, MR. & MRS. ALBERT SOLOMON, MR. & MRS. JERRY SOLOMON, LILLIAN SOLL, LILLIAN STRICKLER, PHILIP GOLDSTEIN, MR. MARTIN GOODMAN, MR. & MRS. EMANUEL GRABELL, MR. & MRS. LARRY GREGG, MR. & MRS. GROSS, ESTELLE S. HIRSHORN, ALAN HOROWITZ, MR. & MRS. ARNOLD JACOBS, MR. & MRS. CYRIL KARAFIN, MR. & MRS. MAURICE KENDALL, MRS. STANLEY KESSLER, MRS. LOUIS KUSHNER, MR. & MRS. JACK LIGHT, MR. & MRS. MICHAEL T. LUBIN, MRS. WILLIAM LEISER, MR. & MRS. ABE MASS, DR. & MRS. JEROME MILLER, MR. MARCUCILLI, MR. FRANK NETSKY, MR. & MRS. JOHN NETSKY, ADELE NIESSEN, MR. & MRS. ALBERT OLANOFF, MR. & MRS. CHARLES PENNEYS, DR. & MRS. RAYMOND PIZOR, MR. & MRS. VICTOR POTAMKIN, MR. & MRS. MAURICE RIFKIN, MR. & MRS. AARON ROBINSON, MR. & MRS. ARCHIE ROBINSON, MR. & MRS. HARRY ROBINSON, HELEN SULLIVAN, JACK SULLIVAN, MR. WILLIAM SULLIVAN, MR. & MRS. CHARLES SERNAKER, MR. & MRS. HARRY TEPLICK, BEATRICE TOUB, HELEN WEISS, MR. & MRS. RALPH WHITAKER, EDGAR WOOLMINGTON, MR. & MRS. SIMON YSEM, TRUSTEES AD LITEM AND INDIVIDUALLY, JOSEPH W. PELINO, ESQUIRE, DAVID E. WASSERSTROM, ESQUIRE, MORRIS CHUCAS, ESQUIRE, TOM P. MONTEVERDE, ESQUIRE; WASSERSTROM, CHUCAS & MONTEVERDE, A PARTNERSHIP



No. 2067 October Term, 1978, Appeal from the Order in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, No. 76-16009, Civil.

COUNSEL

Lenard L. Wolffe, Philadelphia, for appellants.

Charles Craven, G. Wayne Renneisen, Joseph R. Thompson, Philadelphia, Desmond J. McTighe, Norristown, Harry Rutenberg, Philadelphia, William H. Kinkead, III, and with him William H. Bradbury, III, Norristown, Donald J. Matthews, Jr., Deborah R. Willig, Philadelphia, and Arthur R. Tilson, Ambler, for appellees.

Price, Spaeth and Lipez, JJ. Spaeth, J., files a concurring statement.

Author: Price

[ 272 Pa. Super. Page 274]

The instant appeal is from an order of the trial court granting appellees' preliminary objection in the nature of a demurrer to appellants' action for disparagement of title, malicious use of civil process, and abuse of process. For the reasons stated herein, we affirm.

In May of 1973, appellants purchased a ten story apartment building known as 191 Presidential Boulevard, located in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County. On July 30, 1973, they filed a Declaration and Code of Regulations*fn1 with the Recorder of Deeds in Montgomery County establishing

[ 272 Pa. Super. Page 275191]

Presidential Boulevard as a condominium. In August of 1973 appellee, 191 Tenants Association, was formed by the tenants of 191 Presidential Boulevard to oppose the planned conversion from apartments to condominiums. In furtherance of its opposition, the tenants association, through its legal advisors, commenced an equity action on January 15, 1974, requesting, inter alia, that appellants be enjoined from converting the apartments into condominiums and from increasing the rent of any tenant whose lease may expire in the interim.*fn2 On March 28, 1974, judgment on the pleadings was entered on behalf of appellants and the case dismissed.*fn3 See 191 Tenants Association v. Triester, 98 Mont.Co.L.R. 206 (1974). That decision was

[ 272 Pa. Super. Page 276]

    affirmed per curiam by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on October 3, 1975. 191 Tenants Association v. Triester, 463 Pa. 143, 344 A.2d 466 (1975).

On April 18, 1977, appellants filed suit against the tenants association, its members, and its legal advisors seeking damages allegedly sustained as a result of the prior equity action. Appellants alleged that prior to the initiation of the equity action, appellees threatened to slander appellants' title to the premises and threatened to engage in meritless litigation to delay the conversion to condominiums. The complaint further alleges that appellees subsequently instituted a meritless suit, and that as a result the title to the planned condominiums was rendered unmarketable and uninsurable, thus preventing appellants from soliciting prospective condominium purchasers. Finally, the complaint alleges that because of the delay caused by the meritless suit and appellee-tenants' refusal to pay rent increases, appellants encountered a cash flow problem such that they were unable to pay the mortgage, taxes and other charges associated with the operation of the building. All of this was done maliciously with the result that appellants were forced to default on the mortgage and their ownership interest in the building was divested causing a loss of $15,000,000.

Preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer were filed on behalf of all appellees. After argument before an en banc court, the objections were sustained and appellants' complaint dismissed in an order dated July 3, 1978. It is from that order that appellants appeal, alleging that their complaint sufficiently stated causes ...


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