No. 6 W.D. Appeal Docket 1984, Appeal from the Order of Court dated March 8, 1983 of the Orphans' Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania at No. 4231 of 1982. Appeal allowed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania at No. 77 W. D. Miscellaneous Docket, 1983.
Richard B. Tucker, Jr., Pittsburgh, for Pittsburgh National Bank.
Louis C. Long, Pittsburgh, for Baskin & Sears, Mary Louise McManus, David I. Cohen & Susan W. Laatsch, Co-Executors.
Herman C. Kimpel, Pittsburgh, for Brandt, Milnes, Rea & Wagner.
Patricia Liptak, Pittsburgh, for Edward J. Boyle Company and David Deasy.
Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson and Zappala, JJ. Flaherty, J., filed a dissenting opinion. Papadakos, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
Appellees Edward J. Boyle, III, Michael D. Boyle, David Deasy and Edward J. Boyle Company initiated an action in trespass and assumpsit in the civil division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas based upon the planning and administration of the Estate of Edward J. Boyle, Jr. After the decedent's death on September 20, 1975, his will was admitted to probate. The decedent, who was the sole shareholder of the Edward J. Boyle Company, bequeathed his stock in the company to his sons, Edward J. Boyle, III and Michael D. Boyle, and to David Deasy. The will provided further for a bequest of the decedent's estate which would qualify for the maximum marital deduction to Pittsburgh National Bank as the trustee of a revocable life insurance trust.
The debts of the decedent at the time of his death resulted in the insolvency of his estate. To satisfy the outstanding obligations, the decedent's daughters, the named beneficiaries of the residual trust created by the
trust agreement, authorized the trustee to make an unsecured loan of $200,000.00 to the estate from the trust. The loan was made and was used to pay the estate debts. The stock was transferred unencumbered.
Exceptions to the executor's First and Final Account and to the trustee's First and Partial Account were filed by a trust beneficiary, however, contending that the unsecured loan depleted the interests of the beneficiaries. The ensuing litigation was resolved by the execution of a family settlement agreement. Subsequently, the Orphans' Court confirmed the executor's account and entered a decree of distribution.
The complaint sets forth allegations of negligent estate planning and administration, unfair trade practices, malpractice, fraud, and intentional infliction of emotional distress arising from the foregoing transactions. Preliminary objections were filed by the defendants raising, inter alia, a question of jurisdiction. The defendants asserted that § 711 of the Probate, Estates and Fiduciaries Code ("PEF Code"), Act of June 30, 1972, P.L. 508, No. 164, § 2, as amended, 20 Pa.C.S. § 711, required that the jurisdiction of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas over this matter be exercised through its orphans' court division. The administrative judge of the civil division entered an order transferring the action to the orphans' court division for disposition. Following the transfer, however, the plaintiffs' petition to retransfer the action to the civil division was granted by Judge Schwartz of the orphans' court ...