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ISADORE VIRGILLI & CHARLOTTE R. VIRGILLI v. SOUTHWESTERN PENNSYLVANIA WATER AUTHORITY V. MATHER WATER COMPANY. MATHER WATER COMPANY (04/08/81)

decided: April 8, 1981.

ISADORE VIRGILLI & CHARLOTTE R. VIRGILLI, HIS WIFE
v.
SOUTHWESTERN PENNSYLVANIA WATER AUTHORITY V. MATHER WATER COMPANY. MATHER WATER COMPANY, APPELLANT



Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Greene County in case of Isadore Virgilli and Charlotte Virgilli v. Southwestern Pennsylvania Water Authority, a municipal corporation, v. Mather Water Company, a public-private corporation, No. 702, in Equity.

COUNSEL

William Jon McCormick, for appellant.

C. Robert McCall, with him R. Robert Maxwell and Paul V. Mahoney, Maxwell & Davis, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Rogers, Blatt, Craig, Williams, Jr. and Palladino. Judges Mencer and MacPhail did not participate. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish. Judge Wilkinson, Jr. concurs in the result only. This decision was reached prior to the expiration of the term of Judge Wilkinson, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 342]

This is an appeal by the Mather Water Company from a Greene County Common Pleas Court equitable decree directing Mather to pay arrearages owed on a delinquent water bill to Southwestern Pennsylvania Water Authority. We affirm.

Southwestern Pennsylvania Water Authority, a municipal authority created under the Municipality Authorities Act of 1945, Act of May 2, 1945, P.L. 382, as amended, 53 P.S. § 301 et seq., wholesales potable water, by contract, to Mather Water Company, a privately-owned public utility serving retail customers in Mather, Pennsylvania.*fn1

In September of 1978, Southwestern threatened to discontinue water service to Mather unless it paid an overdue water bill. As a result, Isadore and Charlotte R. Virgilli, retail customers of Mather, filed a complaint in equity in Greene County Common Pleas Court seeking an injunction restraining Southwestern from terminating wholesale water service to Mather.

Following a hearing, the court below temporarily enjoined Southwestern from discontinuing service and ordered Mather to pay into court the arrearages owed Southwestern. Southwestern then joined Mather in the equity action and Mather joined the Public Utility Commission as additional defendants. Responding to preliminary objections filed by Mather and the Commission, the court below dismissed the Commission for lack of jurisdiction and overruled Mather's objections challenging the court's equitable and subject matter jurisdiction.

On December 15, 1978, the court entered a decree nisi, which continued the injunction against Southwestern,

[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 343]

    adjudged Mather indebted to Southwestern in the amount of $8,220.49, and ordered Mather's customer bills to be paid to a court-approved trustee to be designated in the event Mather did not pay its bill within 15 days.*fn2 After overruling Mather's exceptions to the decree nisi, the lower court made its decree final on January 26, 1979. This appeal followed.

Consistent with the preliminary objections and exceptions filed below, Mather contends that the Public Utility Code, Act of July 1, 1978, P.L. 598, as amended, 66 Pa. C.S. §§ 101 et seq., and the decisions of our courts thereunder vest ...


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