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CITY PITTSBURGH v. IMLER SUPPLY COMPANY. IMLER SUPPLY (02/13/84)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: February 13, 1984.

CITY OF PITTSBURGH
v.
IMLER SUPPLY COMPANY. IMLER SUPPLY, INC. ET AL., APPELLANTS

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of City of Pittsburgh, a municipal corporation v. Imler Supply Company, a Pennsylvania Corporation, No. GD 77-25408.

COUNSEL

Samuel P. Kamin, with him William G. Sutter, Jr., for appellants.

James R. Fitzgerald, for appellee.

Judges Craig, MacPhail and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 285]

Appellants appeal an order of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas granting poundage against funds deposited in the court pursuant to the Eminent Domain Code (Code).*fn1

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 286]

Following a condemnation of the Appellant's property,*fn2 the City of Pittsburgh paid into court the sum of $67,522.29 as estimated just compensation, pursuant to Section 522 of the Code.*fn3 After Appellants petitioned the court of common pleas to receive this fund, together with interest, the Allegheny County Prothonotary filed a Petition for Poundage on Eminent Domain Damages Paid into Court. The court granted the Prothonotary's Petition and ordered that $951.72 be paid to the Prothonotary from the fund on deposit with the court.

On appeal, Appellants contend that Section 522 of the Code prohibits the assessment of any fee against funds on deposit as estimated just compensation. Section 522 states, in pertinent part:

The court thereafter upon petition of any party in interest shall distribute such funds or any funds deposited in court under section 407 to the persons entitled thereto in accordance with the procedure in section 521, but if no petition is presented within a period of five years of the date of payment into court, the court shall order the fund or any balance remaining to be paid to the Commonwealth without escheat. No fee shall be charged against these funds.

Appellee reads this section to prohibit the assessment of a fee only in situations where the fund is paid to the Commonwealth without escheat. There is nothing in the language of this section, however, which warrants such a reading. The final sentence of this

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 287]

    section which provides that "[n]o fee shall be charged against these funds" is without reservation, and must be applied to the entire section. Indeed, the use of the plural term in referring to "these funds" indicates that the final sentence is intended to apply not only to "the fund . . . to be paid to the Commonwealth without escheat" but also to "any funds deposited in court under section 407. . . ." Therefore, it is clear from the language of this section that under no circumstances are funds deposited as estimated just compensation subject to a prothonotary's fee.

Appellee also argues that the Code's provision eliminating payment of a fee has been superseded by the Second Class County Prothonotary Fee Act (Act).*fn4 This Act establishes a fee schedule for various services performed by the prothonotary, including that of receiving and distributing money paid into court.*fn5 Apart from setting the dollar amount to be charged, however, the Act makes no revisions in existing law relating to such fees. It is clear, therefore, that a law establishing exceptions to a fee requirement is neither inconsistent with this Act, nor superseded by it.

For the foregoing reasons we reverse the order of the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas.

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 288]

Order

Now, February 13, 1984, the order of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas in the above referenced matter, dated October 27, 1982 is hereby reversed.

Disposition

Reversed.


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