The opinion of the court was delivered by: HANNUM
Pending before the Court are Motions To Dismiss The Complaint in the above captioned cases. For the reasons contained herein these motions will be granted and both complaints will be dismissed.
I. Procedural Background.
The two complaints, both filed on February 12, 1981, challenge the constitutionality of Act No. 1980-82, the Pennsylvania Uniform Condominium Act, 68 Pa.Cons.Stat.Ann. § 3101 et seq. (hereinafter "the Act"). Aside from the fact that different parties are involved, the complaints are virtually identical, and the legal issues framed are the same, hence the need for only this one opinion as the reasoning contained herein applies with equal force to both cases.
The defendants' Motions To Dismiss were filed on March 2, 1981. Since the cases question the constitutionality of a state statute, the Court certified that fact to the Attorney General of Pennsylvania,
to afford the Commonwealth the opportunity to intervene as a defendant. The Commonwealth responded to this opportunity and filed Motions To Intervene As Defendant on April 10, 1981 which the Court granted. Thereafter, on April 16, 1981, the Commonwealth filed its own Motions To Dismiss The Complaint. The Court heard oral argument on the motions on April 24, 1981.
The facts in these two cases are simple. In each case the defendants are in the process of converting and marketing the respective residential complexes-River Park House and Green Hill Apartments-into condominiums. The plaintiffs are associations of tenants at the two apartment buildings and individually named tenants who purport to represent, as a class, all of the tenants in the two complexes.
The complaints allege that two of the Act's provisions are unconstitutional. The first provision grants aged, blind or disabled tenants who have occupied their apartments for at least two years a two-year period of protection from lease terminations or rent increases following notice to the tenants that their apartments are being converted into condominiums.
Plaintiffs have alleged that this provision is violative of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The second provision under attack allows a condominium developer to convey units subject to a reserved option to withdraw designated real estate from the condominium at a later date.
Plaintiffs allege that the above provision allows for a deprivation of the original unit purchasers' property without the due process of law guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
The relief sought by plaintiffs is a declaratory judgment that the Act is unconstitutional and also a permanent injunction preventing the Commonwealth from enforcing it. Plaintiffs have invoked this Court's jurisdiction pursuant to the Federal Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201 as well as alleging federal question and diversity jurisdiction.
The primary thrust of the argument posed by the named defendants in their briefs supporting the motions to dismiss is that the Act is constitutional. The Commonwealth, on the other hand, as the intervening defendant, places primary focus upon the issue of justiciability. Specifically, the Commonwealth raises the question of whether the plaintiffs have demonstrated the requisite standing so that the dispute may be susceptible of judicial resolution.
The question of standing is one addressed to the jurisdiction of this Court and it therefore must be decided preliminarily. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421, 89 S. Ct. 1843, 1848, 23 L. Ed. 2d 404 (1969), reh. den. 396 U.S. 869, 90 S. Ct. 35, 24 L. Ed. 2d 123 (1969). This threshold requirement is imposed both by Art. III of the Constitution and by the express terms of the Federal Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201.
Therefore, the approach taken by the Commonwealth, which argued the standing issue first, is appropriate. Furthermore, because the Court agrees with the Commonwealth's argument that the plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate standing to sue, the Complaints will be dismissed on that basis.
The posture of this matter is a pending motion to dismiss and the Court has therefore accepted the factual allegations of the complaints and has read the complaints liberally. However, no matter how liberally these complaints are read they still fall short of demonstrating to this Court that a "case of actual controversy" is present.
An indispensable requirement of standing to sue is "that the parties seeking relief allege "such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions ....' " Jenkins, supra at 423, 89 S. Ct. at 1849, citing Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 204, 82 S. Ct. 691, 703, 7 L. Ed. 2d 663 (1962). These ...