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LEROY THOMPSON v. WEST BRANCH AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT (02/26/86)

decided: February 26, 1986.

LEROY THOMPSON, APPELLANT
v.
WEST BRANCH AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County in the case of West Branch Area School District v. Ronald Thompson, No. 83-762-CD; West Branch Area School District v. Leroy Thompson, No. 83-763-CD, and Leroy Thompson v. West Branch Area School District, No. 83-16-EQU.

COUNSEL

Allan E. MacLeod, for appellant.

Winifred H. Jones-Wenger, for appellee.

Judges Doyle and Palladino, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 289]

Leroy Thompson and Ronald Thompson (Appellants) appeal from a single order of the Court of Common

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 290]

Pleas of Clearfield County which disposed of three related actions between Appellants and West Branch Area School District (School District).

The School District filed separate actions in assumpsit against Leroy Thompson and Ronald Thompson, respectively, to recover unpaid earned income taxes for the tax years 1976 through 1982. In connection with these actions the School District served Appellants with requests for production of Federal income tax returns, pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. No. 4009. Appellants responded to these requests by filing motions for protective orders to prevent the production of these documents. Concurrent with these motions, Appellant Leroy Thompson filed a complaint in equity against the School District alleging that the School District had no authority to impose additional taxes upon its residents because it had accumulated an excessive surplus of funds between 1976 and 1982. The School District thereafter filed preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer, alleging that the complaint in equity did not state a cause of action under existing law.

The court of common pleas consolidated argument, and heard Appellants' motions for protective orders together with the School District's preliminary objections to the complaint in equity. After a thorough consideration, the trial court issued an order which denied Appellants' motions for protective orders, and sustained the School District's preliminary objections in part, allowing Appellant Leroy Thompson's complaint in equity to stand insofar as it stated a claim under the Act of June 21, 1957, P.L. 390, as amended,*fn1 popularly referred to as the "Right to Know Law." The objections otherwise were sustained.

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 291]

Appellants have appealed to this Court, alleging that the trial court erred in sustaining the demurrer, and in denying the motions for protective orders. The School District filed a motion to quash the appeal regarding the issue of the denial of the protective orders on the grounds that this portion of the court's order was interlocutory.*fn2 The motion to quash was granted by Senior Judge Kalish of this Court on November 16, 1984.

Still before us for resolution, however, is Appellant Leroy Thompson's claim that the School District had no statutory authority to maintain a surplus of funds.*fn3 Appellant based his request for ...


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