Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County in the case of Abington Heights School District v. Township of South Abington, William Cole, Alfred Lockett and Giles Stanton, No. 26 September Term, 1979.
Joseph A. O'Brien, with him Kenneth A. Rhodes, Oliver, Price and Rhodes, for appellant.
William J. Garvey, with him James M. Scanlon, Scanlon, Howley & Scanlon, for appellees.
Judges Rogers, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 72 Pa. Commw. Page 389]
Abington Heights School District (school district) has appealed from a judgment of compulsory non-suit entered against it in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County in its action against South Abington Township and the township supervisors (township) seeking specific performance of an alleged agreement for the exchange of parcels of real property.
In the period from 1974 to 1976, each the school district and the township had expressed to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission its interest in acquiring a parcel of land owned by the Commission located in South Abington Township and known as the carnival grounds. The Turnpike Commission directed the parties to determine between themselves which would purchase the property. The school district and the township entered into negotiations in which the school district expressed its willingness to convey two parcels of land owned by the school district to the township in exchange for the carnival grounds when the township should acquire it from the Turnpike Commission. In September, 1976, the school district's solicitor prepared a draft of an agreement and an addendum thereto under which the township would acquire the carnival grounds, remove the improvements there located, grade the property, and convey it to the school district
[ 72 Pa. Commw. Page 390]
in consideration of the school district's conveying to the township, subject to certain use restrictions, the two parcels of ground owned by the school district. This agreement was never formally or otherwise approved for execution by either party and not executed by either.
During early 1977, the school district learned that the township and the Turnpike Commission had scheduled a closing for the conveyance of the carnival grounds to the township on February 15, 1977. As a result, members of the school board and the township supervisors met again and discussed various proposals which might be included in a formal agreement. No agreement was executed and the township acquired title.
Negotiations continued without formal approval by either board of the terms of an agreement or the execution of an agreement.
The school district brought the action for specific performance on August 10, 1979. The township's defenses were that the parties never came to an agreement as to the exchange and that there was never a writing which bound the township, so that the case was never taken out of the Statute of Frauds.*fn1 After hearing, the chancellor entered judgment of non-suit on motion of the township on the ground: that the school district had failed formally to approve the execution of an agreement prior to suit; that all meetings of the parties consisted only of informal discussions; that neither party ...