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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CHARLES E. ANDREWS AND ELLA ANDREWS (01/25/85)

filed: January 25, 1985.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, AND JOHN A. FULMER, SR., ASSIGNEE, REAL PARTY IN INTEREST
v.
CHARLES E. ANDREWS AND ELLA ANDREWS, HIS WIFE, AND IDA E. ANDREWS, HEIR, AND VIOLA STATLER, TERRE TENANT AND HELEN SHAFER, TERRE TENANT APPEAL OF JOHN A. FULMER, SR.



No. 01608 Philadelphia 1983, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Northampton County at No. 490 October Term, 1956; 1979-J-10994.

COUNSEL

Gene F. Roscioli, Easton, for appellant.

William P. Hogan, Easton, for appellees.

Wieand, Del Sole and Popovich, JJ. Wieand, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Popovich

[ 338 Pa. Super. Page 213]

This is an appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County entered on May 27, 1983. We affirm.

The factual context within which this dispute arose is complex. Ella Andrews died in 1967 leaving six children as beneficiaries under her will. At the time of her death, she owned a dwelling encumbered by three liens in favor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare. After her death, the real property and dwelling house became vested in her six children or the issue thereof surviving. In 1979, one of her children, Ida, died intestate and without heirs which caused her one-sixth interest to combine with that of her siblings or their issue. Ultimately, the land came to be composed of undivided one-fifth interests. In 1980, John A. Fulmer, Sr., appellant, purchased an undivided three-fifths interest in that property; however, he was relegated to filing an action for specific performance against the remaining undivided two-fifths owners, namely appellee-terre tenants*fn1 herein, Viola Statler and Helen Shafer, after they allegedly reneged on an Agreement of Sale.

Subsequently, appellant purchased from the Commonwealth the three liens which had encumbered the premises.

[ 338 Pa. Super. Page 214]

In 1981, appellant directed a writ of execution to the sheriff on one of the liens against the two-fifths undivided interest of Statler and Shafer. Appellant then purchased this remaining two-fifths interest at a bid of more than $5,000.00. The Sheriff of Northampton County filed a proposed schedule of distribution which applied the proceeds, after the costs of sale and real estate taxes were paid, to satisfy the three liens.

Statler and Shafer filed exceptions thereto, objecting to the application of the proceeds of sale of two-fifths of the land to the real estate taxes and judgment liens entered against the entire property. The exceptions were granted. While the trial court did not adopt Statler and Shafer's rationale, it fashioned an equitable remedy to recognize their right to contribution. No hearing was held on the exceptions.

The court ordered distribution of the sale proceeds in accordance with the schedule of distribution and ordered that Statler and Shafer be subrogated to three-fifths of the taxes and liens paid out of the proceeds of the sale. It then awarded Statler and Shafer a fresh lien to the extent of three-fifths of the taxes and the original Department of Public Welfare liens.

Appellant contends initially that the lower court committed an error of law in failing to hear evidence. The court was clearly authorized and empowered to "determine the exceptions" and render a decision thereon without ...


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