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EASTON AREA JOINT SEWER AUTHORITY v. BUSHKILL-LOWER LEHIGH JOINT SEWER AUTHORITY (02/03/83)

decided: February 3, 1983.

EASTON AREA JOINT SEWER AUTHORITY, APPELLANT
v.
BUSHKILL-LOWER LEHIGH JOINT SEWER AUTHORITY, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County in the case of Easton Area Joint Sewer Authority v. Bushkill-Lower Lehigh Joint Sewer Authority, Borough of Tatamy, Borough of Stockertown, Township of Bushkill, Township of Plainfield, Township of Upper Nazareth, Township of Palmer, City of Easton, Township of Forks, Borough of West Easton and Borough of Wilson, No. 1981-C-893; and in the case of Easton Area Joint Sewer Authority v. Bushkill-Lower Lehigh Joint Sewer Authority, Bushkill Township, Plainfield Township, Palmer Township, Upper Nazareth Township, Borough of Tatamy and Borough of Stockertown, and Jack J. Schramm, Regional Administrator, Region III, United States Environmental Protection Agency and Gilbert Commonwealth Engineers/Consultants, No. 1980-C-12166.

COUNSEL

Karl H. Kline, with him Stanley E. Stettz, Teel, Stettz, Shimer and DiGiacomo, Ltd., for appellant.

John Molnar, Cassebaum, McFall & Molnar, P.C., for appellee, Plainfield Township.

Gary N. Asteak, for appellee, Bushkill Township.

Charles S. Smith, Joseph M. Reibman, Reibman and Reibman, Donald Himmelreich, Raymond C. Haggerty, Thomas Stitt, Elwood Malos, James G. Sheenan, Assistant United States Attorney, Thaddeus J. Bartkowski, Law Offices of Donald J. Farage, for additional appellees.

Judges Blatt, Williams, Jr. and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 71 Pa. Commw. Page 554]

This case comes before the Court on appeal by the plaintiff below from a dismissal of certain defendant municipalities from an assumpsit and trespass action. The trial court sustained preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer. We reverse that order and remand for further proceedings.

[ 71 Pa. Commw. Page 555]

On June 24, 1976, Easton, Forks Township, Palmer Township, West Easton Borough, Wilson Borough, and the Bushkill-Lower Lehigh Joint Sewer Authority (BLLA)*fn1 entered into an agreement by which they incorporated the Easton Area Joint Sewer Authority (EAJSA) to effectuate the planned expansion of the Easton Sewage Treatment Plant, and to provide sewage treatment facilities for the mutual benefit of the incorporators. Easton agreed to lease its treatment plant to EAJSA; Palmer, Forks and BLLA agreed respectively to pay 35.5%, 20.9%, and 43.6% of the construction costs outstanding after federal and state grant moneys had been exhausted on the expansion of Easton's plant.

The agreement established that EAJSA be composed of fourteen members with a total of ten votes between them. The four members appointed by Easton, and the four appointed respectively by West Easton, Forks, Wilson, and Palmer were to have one vote each; the six members appointed by the six municipalities which incorporated BLLA, one from each municipality, were to share the remaining two votes, even though the said municipalities were not parties to the agreement. EAJSA was to administer the expansion and operation of the enlarged plant.

In early 1981, EAJSA filed a complaint in Northampton County Court of Common Pleas consisting of nine causes of action in assumpsit and six in trespass. The ...


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