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APPEAL CHARTIERS VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT FROM ASSESSMENT PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT DIMENSIONS INTERNATIONAL v. TOWNSHIP ROSS (07/11/83)

SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: July 11, 1983.

IN RE APPEAL OF CHARTIERS VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT FROM ASSESSMENT OF PROPERTY OF DEVELOPMENT DIMENSIONS INTERNATIONAL, INC. APPEAL OF CHARTIERS VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT. JOHN L. CROWN, APPELLANT,
v.
THE TOWNSHIP OF ROSS, APPELLEE. ROBERT M. MUCHENSKI, APPELLANT, V. THE TOWNSHIP OF ROSS, APPELLEE. DANIEL M. DALEY, APPELLANT, V. THE TOWNSHIP OF ROSS, APPELLEE

No. 19 W.D. Appeal Dkt. 1983, Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court, dated September 8, 1982 at No. 184, Misc. Dkt. No. 3, affirming the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County at No. GD 81-22289, Nos. 20, 21, 22 W.D. Appeal Dkt. 1983, Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court, dated September 8, 1982 at Nos. 534 C.D. 1981; 536 C.D. 1981; 537 C.D. 1981, affirming the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County at S.A. 1152 of 1980; S.A. 1153 of 1980; S.A. 1154 of 1980

COUNSEL

Thomas J. Dempsey, Robert L. Federline, Arnold Friedman, Richard T. Wentley, Pittsburgh, for appellants.

William J. Fahey, Pittsburgh, for appellee Appeal and Review Bd.

Vincent A. Tucceri, Pittsburgh, for appellee Tp. of Collier.

Victor R. Delle Donne, Burton D. Morris, Pittsburgh, for appellee Dimensions Intern., Inc.

William P. Bresnahan, Pittsburgh, for appellee Allegheny Co.

William W. Milnes, John J. Klein, Pittsburgh, for Tp. of Ross.

Roberts, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson and Zappala, JJ. Nix, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this matter. Larsen, J., dissents and would make the majority result prospective only.

Author: Mcdermott

[ 501 Pa. Page 622]

OPINION

We have before us the consolidated cases of Appeal of Chartiers Valley, No. 19 W.D. Appeal Docket 1983; John L. Crown v. Township of Ross, No. 20 W.D. Appeal Docket 1983; Robert M. Muchenski v. Township of Ross, No. 21 W.D. Appeal Docket 1983; and, Daniel M. Daley v. Township of Ross, No. 22 W.D. Appeal Docket.*fn1 The common issue presented by these cases is whether the thirty day period set forth in Section 5571(b) of the Judicial Code,*fn2 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5571(b), defines the appeal period of all statutory appeals, regardless of specific provisions contained in individual statutes.

The appeals of Crown, Muchenski, and Daley (Nos. 20, 21 and 22) involve Section 645 of the First Class Township Code,*fn3 53 P.S. § 55645. That section provides, that in an appeal from a Civil Service Commission decision, which involves the suspension, removal or reduction in rank of a policeman or fireman, "[S]uch appeal shall be taken within sixty days from the date of entry by the commission of its final order." Id.

These appellants were either suspended or removed from the police force of the Township of Ross. In each case, appeals were filed to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. The appeals were filed more than thirty days, but less than sixty days, after the date of entry of the

[ 501 Pa. Page 623]

Commission's orders.*fn4 The court of common pleas quashed the appeals.

The Commonwealth Court, in an unanimous decision, per Williams, J., affirmed.*fn5 Upon petition to this Court, we granted allocatur.

The appeal of Chartiers Valley School District raises the same issue in a different factual context. On June 26, 1981, the Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review of Allegheny County, reduced the assessment of property owned by Development Divisions International, Inc. On August 13, 1981, forty-eight days later, Chartiers Valley School District filed an appeal from the reduced assessment to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.

The property owner filed a motion to quash this appeal, asserting that the appeal was untimely under Section 5571(b) of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5571(b). Appellant contended that the appeal period in tax assessment cases was controlled by Section 518.1 of the General County Assessment Law,*fn6 72 P.S. § 5020-518.1, and Section 12 of the Assessment in Counties of Second Class Act,*fn7 72 P.S. § 5452.12. Both sections provided for a sixty day appeal period. The motion to quash was denied.

On appeal the Commonwealth Court reversed, relying on their opinion in Crown v. Ross Township, 68 Pa. Commw. 588, 449 A.2d 878 (1982) and ordered the appeal quashed.*fn8 Upon

[ 501 Pa. Page 624]

    petition to this Court, we granted allocatur, and ordered this case consolidated with the appeals of Crown, et al.

The Judicial Code was created by the Judiciary Act of 1976, which, in conjunction with the Judiciary Act Repealer Act (JARA)*fn9 and the Judiciary Act Repealer Act of 1980 (JARA 80), represented "the culmination of a ten year effort to achieve the first complete judicial codification in Pennsylvania's history." 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 101 to 1700, p. vii (1981).

Although the Judicial Code was enacted in 1976, it did not take effect until June 27, 1978, the effective date of JARA. The primary purpose of JARA (and the subsequent JARA 80), was to repeal those statutes which had been supplanted by the Code. To this end, Section 2(a) of JARA, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 20002(a), expressly repealed parts or all of more than 1500 statutes, comprising approximately 6000 sections of Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes, enacted between 1700 and 1977. In addition to this express repealer, Section 2(g), 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 20002(g) provided:

All other parts of those acts which are specified in this section and all other acts and parts of acts are hereby repealed insofar as they are in any manner inconsistent with this act or the act to which this is a supplement.

Appellants argue that Section 5571(b) is inapplicable where a specific appeal period has been provided by an applicable statute, and that statute has not been specifically repealed.*fn10 Section 5571(b) of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 5571(b) provides:

§ 5571. Appeals generally

[ 501 Pa. Page 625]

(b) Other courts. Except as otherwise provided in subsections (a) and (c), an appeal from a tribunal or other government unit to a court or from a court to an appellate court must be commenced within 30 days after the entry of the order from which the appeal is taken, in the case of an interlocutory or final order.

Given the overriding purpose of the Judicial Code, the obvious intent of the legislature in enacting this section was to make uniform the appeal period applicable to cases heard by our courts.

Section 1971 of the Statutory Construction Act of 1972,*fn11 1 Pa.C.S.A. § 1971 provides:

§ 1971. Implied repeal by later statute

(a) Whenever a statute purports to be a revision of all statutes upon a particular subject, or sets up a general or exclusive system governing the entire subject matter of a former statute and is intended as a substitute for such former statute, such statute shall be construed to supply and therefore to repeal all former statutes upon the same subject.

(b) Whenever a general statute purports to establish a uniform and mandatory system covering a class of subjects, such statute shall be construed to supply and therefore to repeal pre-existing local or special statutes on the same class of subjects.

Clearly, under this section, Section 5571 accomplished the implied repeal of the sixty day sections relied upon by appellants, and the fact that these sections were not specifically repealed is of no consequence. Thus appellants' arguments must fail.*fn12

[ 501 Pa. Page 626]

We therefore affirm the order of the Commonwealth Court.


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