NO. 766 PHILADELPHIA, 1980, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Pike County, at No. 86 March Term, 1978, No. 10 May Term, 1978 E.D.
H. Robert Fiebach, Philadelphia, for appellants.
John T. Stieh, Milford, for appellee.
Hester, Cavanaugh and Van der Voort, JJ. Cavanaugh, J., dissented and would affirm on the basis of the opinion of the court below.
[ 305 Pa. Super. Page 474]
This is an appeal from the lower court's determination of a fair market value on a Motion for Deficiency Judgment, pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 8103 et seq., which is substantially a reenactment of 12 P.S. § 2621.1 et seq.
Cheltenham Federal Savings and Loan Association (hereafter referred to as Cheltenham) loaned Pocono Sky Enterprises, Inc. (hereafter referred to as Pocono) $250,000 and as security for the loan received for a mortgage on 66 non-contiguous lots in a real estate development of over 600 lots located in Pike County. Pocono subsequently transferred 55 of those lots to the appellants. The loan went into default and Cheltenham filed a complaint in Confession of Judgment, and judgment was entered against Pocono.*fn1 A sheriff's sale was eventually held, at which Cheltenham bid in the realty. Cheltenham thereafter filed a petition designated "Petition to File Deficiency Judgment", requesting the court to determine the fair market value. After a hearing, the court entered the following order, from which the appellants have appealed:
AND NOW, March 3, 1980, the fair market value of the subject real estate is fixed as of the date of execution sale, July 25, 1979, at $136,000.00.
Appellant's brief raises five issues, enumerated below.*fn2
[ 305 Pa. Super. Page 475]
Essentially they raise two fundamental issues specifically; first that the opinion of Cheltenham's expert on values, whose opinion Judge Thomson followed in determining fair market value, was improperly arrived at; and second, that the lower court's determination was contrary to the weight of the evidence.
The initial duty and authority to determine "fair market value" under petitions of this kind lies with the fact-finder, the lower court. Our review is limited to deciding whether there is sufficient evidence to sustain the holding of the lower court, or whether there is a reversible error of law. Shrawder v. Quiggle, 256 Pa. Superior Ct. 303, 311, 389 A.2d 1135 (1978). Recognizing our limited authority on appeal, and our deference in most cases to the lower court's determination, based upon its first-hand observation of the ...