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BERNARD E. JOHNSON AND LAVERNE CASBEER v. JOHN DEC (03/21/80)

filed: March 21, 1980.

BERNARD E. JOHNSON AND LAVERNE CASBEER, APPELLANTS,
v.
JOHN DEC, LLOYD L. DUGAN AND RUTH DUGAN H/W, H. EDWARD CARTER AND JOSEPH G. SLEMMER



No. 418 October Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order in the Court of Common Pleas of Potter County, Civil Division at No. 152 May Term, 1970.

COUNSEL

Anthony D. Miele, Williamsport, for appellants.

Priscilla M. Walrath, Wellsboro, for appellees.

Price, Wieand*fn* and Van der Voort, JJ.

Author: Price

[ 276 Pa. Super. Page 164]

The present appeal is from an order of the trial court granting appellees' motion for a compulsory non-suit in appellants' action to quiet title. Concluding that the court

[ 276 Pa. Super. Page 165]

    erred in entering a non-suit, we reverse the order of the trial court.

On September 12, 1966, four tracts of land recorded in the name of Edward C. Johnson were sold to appellees by the Treasurer of Potter County for delinquent taxes for the year 1964. Appellees paid a total of $141.93 for taxes, and provided surplus bonds pursuant to the Act of May 8, 1895, P.L. 47, § 1, 72 P.S. § 5891. Appellant, Bernard Johnson, as heir and successor to the interest of Edward Johnson, sought to redeem the parcels, and on August 26, 1968, consulted the Treasurer of Potter County. He was informed that his two year period for redeeming the property would expire on September 12, 1968, and that he could redeem the parcels by paying $141.93 owed as delinquent taxes plus an additional fee of 15 percent, for a total of $163.22.*fn1 That amount was paid on August 26, 1968, and a receipt was obtained from the treasurer stating that redemption had been made "in full." Shortly thereafter, the treasurer was informed by one of the appellees that this amount was insufficient, since appellees had paid the taxes for 1965 and 1966, and that certain of the appellees had also paid taxes for 1967. The treasurer attempted to notify Bernard Johnson of this new development, and posted a letter to him on October 9, 1968, informing him that additional sums were due. Bernard Johnson contacted his attorney and was subsequently informed that additional taxes were due, and that appellees had also paid additional sums on their surplus bonds in satisfaction of liens held by the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare. Bernard Johnson secured the aid of the other appellee, LaVerne Casbeer, and on April 11, 1969, they

[ 276 Pa. Super. Page 166]

    appeared before the Treasurer of Potter County and tendered an additional check for $1609.08. The check was accepted and the tax sale docket in the prothonotary's office in Potter County was marked "redeemed" as to all four parcels. The amounts actually paid were, however, insufficient to satisfy all of the claims against the property, and appellees were never reimbursed for the sums they had expended.

On May 11, 1970, appellants brought a quiet title action challenging the legitimacy of the treasurer's deeds that had been issued to and recorded by appellees. After considerable delay, the case was called to trial on July 17, 1978. At the close of appellants' case, the trial judge granted appellees' motion for compulsory non-suit ruling that by their evidence appellants had conceded that they had failed to tender to the treasurer the full amount that was required for redemption prior to the expiration of the period for redemption on September 12, 1968. Appellants appeal from the order of the court and allege that they did everything possible to effect proper redemption, and that any error was the fault of the Treasurer of Potter County and should not be imputed to them. We agree, and reverse the order of the trial court.

First, we must dispose of appellants' claim that a redeeming party need not pay the taxes that have accrued and been paid by a purchaser of property subsequent to the treasurer's sale as part of the redemption payment. The Act of May 29, 1931, P.L. 280, § 9, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5971i*fn2 provides that a redeeming owner must pay the full amount that the purchaser originally paid plus interest and penalty. With respect to taxes paid subsequent to the treasurer's sale, the Act states, "In case the purchaser has paid any taxes of any kind whatsoever, assessed and levied against said property, the same shall be reimbursed to said purchaser ...


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