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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA BY ATTORNEY GENERAL LEROY S. ZIMMERMAN v. NATIONAL APARTMENT LEASING COMPANY A/K/A NALCO (12/30/86)

decided: December 30, 1986.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA BY ATTORNEY GENERAL LEROY S. ZIMMERMAN, PLAINTIFF
v.
NATIONAL APARTMENT LEASING COMPANY A/K/A NALCO, DEFENDANT



Original Jurisdiction in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by Attorney General LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Plaintiff v. National Apartment Leasing Company a/k/a NALCO, Defendant.

COUNSEL

Douglas P. Yauger, for plaintiff.

Joan Shoemaker, with her, John V. Adams, Jr., Adams, Shoemaker & McSorley, for defendant.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. Concurring and Dissenting Opinion by Judge Colins.

Author: Macphail

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 624]

National Apartment Leasing Company (NALCO) has been sued in equity in this Court*fn1 by the Attorney General in the name of the Commonwealth under and

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 625]

    pursuant to the provisions of Section 4 of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (Consumer Protection Law), Act of December 17, 1968, P.L. 1224, as amended, 73 P.S. § 201-4. The complaint, averring that NALCO as landlord unlawfully retains its tenants' security deposits, seeks an injunction which (1) enjoins NALCO from violating The Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951 (Landlord Tenant Act), Act of April 6, 1951, P.L. 69, as amended, 68 P.S. §§ 250.101 -- 250.602; (2) enjoins NALCO from violating the Consumer Protection Law; and (3) enjoins NALCO from retaining any security deposits to which it is not entitled. The complaint also seeks an order which would require NALCO to make restitution to all consumers damaged by NALCO's conduct*fn2 and would require NALCO to pay civil penalties in the sum of $1,000.00 for each violation of the Consumer Protection Law.*fn3

NALCO has filed preliminary objections which raise a question of jurisdiction, move to strike scandalous and impertinent material, move for a more specific pleading, demur to the complaint and raise the defenses of lack of capacity to sue and lis pendens. The Commonwealth has filed an answer to the preliminary objections.

The gravamen of the complaint is set forth in the following paragraphs:

8. In the normal course of its business, Defendant [NALCO] requires tenants to place a security deposit with Defendant.

9. On numerous occasions, Defendants [sic] have retained said security deposits without justification. Attached hereto and marked as Exhibits "A", "B" and "C" are three consumer

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 626]

    complaints about such conduct with [sic] the Office of Attorney General, ...


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