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COUNTY LACKAWANNA v. THOMAS F. PATTON AND RALPH TYLER (12/19/80)

filed: December 19, 1980.

COUNTY OF LACKAWANNA, APPELLANT
v.
THOMAS F. PATTON AND RALPH TYLER, JR., TRUSTEES OF THE PROPERTY OF ERIE LACKAWANNA RAILWAY CO.; JOHN J. WEIDNER AND ROBERT ROMICH



No. 71 October Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Action -- Equity, for the County of Lackawanna, Dated June 28, 1978, at No. 6 November Term, 1977.

COUNSEL

James J. Ligi, County Sol., Scranton, for appellant.

Ronald M. Bugaj, Honesdale, for appellees.

Spaeth, Stranahan and Sugerman, JJ.*fn*

Author: Stranahan

[ 283 Pa. Super. Page 170]

This matter is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County dismissing the appellant's complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. We affirm the lower court's ruling.

To properly evaluate this appeal, the following facts must be considered.

On June 26, 1972, the Erie Lackawanna Railway Company (hereinafter Erie Lackawanna), filed a petition in The United States District Court for The Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division (hereinafter Reorganization Court), for reorganization under section 77 of The Bankruptcy Act.*fn1 On the same day, the Reorganization Court issued Order No. 1 in that matter. That order consisted of two parts. The first part was the reorganization court's approval of Erie Lackawanna's

[ 283 Pa. Super. Page 171]

    petition. The second part was an order restraining or enjoining all persons from commencing or continuing any proceeding against Erie Lackawanna and/or the property of Erie Lackawanna. That part of Order No. 1 was merely a restatement of the exclusive jurisdiction given to a reorganization court over a bankrupt railroad and its property by section 77(a) of The Bankruptcy Act.

On July 31, 1972, appellees Patton and Tyler, (hereinafter Trustees), were appointed Trustees of the property of Erie Lackawanna by the reorganization court.

Sometime in 1974, the Trustees entered into an agreement with the appellant to sell the appellant a 12.1 mile strip of land owned by Erie Lackawanna. In a petition filed on September 20, 1974, the Trustees asked the reorganization court for the authority to sell that strip of land to the appellant. In response to that petition, the reorganization court issued Order No. 297. Through that order, the reorganization court gave the Trustees the authority they sought. In the last paragraph of that order, the reorganization court reserved complete jurisdiction over the proceeds of the sale and the right to make such further orders as it might deem proper in regards to the subject matter of Order No. 297.

For some undetermined reason, the agreement between the Trustees and the appellant was never consummated. The answer to the question of why it was never consumated is not important for our purposes. The key fact, for ...


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