Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County in case of C. A. Hughes & Company, a Corporation v. T. T. Metzger, Jr., W. Donald Templeton, and Joseph P. Roberts, Commissioners of Cambria County; The County of Cambria, a municipal corporation, chartered and existing under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and The Tax Claim Bureau of Cambria County, an agency existing under and governed by the provisions of the Act of July 7, 1947, P.L. 1369, No. 1979-5666/Argument Court en Banc October 1983, No. 4988.
James R. Walsh, Spence, Custer, Saylor, Wolfe & Rose, for appellant.
George Raptosh, Bionaz, Raptosh & McGlynn, for appellees.
Judges MacPhail, Barry and Colins, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
C. A. Hughes and Company (Appellant) appeals here from an order of the Court en banc of the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County dismissing Appellant's exceptions to an order of that court which dismissed with prejudice Appellant's action to quiet title.
The underlying action was brought in regard to an "E" seam of coal to which Appellant claims title. This "E" seam was part of a 134 acre tract acquired in fee by one George Shidler on June 13, 1904. In
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, Shidler entered into an agreement with R. K. Hughes whereby Hughes was granted the option to purchase all the merchantable coal in the "E" seam. That option was assigned on June 12, 1920 to C. A. Hughes. On September 12, 1920, the option agreement was consummated by a deed from Shidler's heirs to C. A. Hughes. That deed was not recorded until December 12, 1949.
Hughes died testate on July 28, 1932. By virtue of several deeds dated August 5, 1932, Philip N. Shettig, a straw party, acquired title to the "E" seam which he then conveyed to C. A. Hughes and Company. That entity then sold it to Cyril C. Morgan in 1933. By deed dated March 19, 1949, the "E" seam was conveyed to C. A. Hughes and Company.
Taxes were not paid on the "E" seam for the years 1932, 1933 and 1934. As a result of this nonpayment, the treasurer of Cambria County (County) exposed the "E" seam for sale at a delinquent tax sale on or about June 28, 1938. When no bids were received sufficient to cover the taxes, interest and costs, the property was struck down to the County.*fn1 When the County attempted to sell the "E" seam at private sale in 1949, C. A. Hughes and Company objected contending that it, not the County, held legal title to that interest. Apparently, those proceedings are now at a stalemate. Appellant commenced this action to quiet title to obtain a judicial determination of who owns the "E" seam.
Appellant acknowledges that neither it nor Morgan paid the taxes due in 1932, 1933 and 1934 but contends that the ...