Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of E-Z Parks, Inc. v. Philadelphia Parking Authority, No. 5185 May Term, 1986.
Bruce L. Thall, with him, Gilbert B. Abramson and Michael B. Tolcott, Abramson, Cogan, Kogan, Freedman & Thall, P.C., for appellant.
S. David Fineman, Hunt & Fineman, P.C. ; Of Counsel: James C. Crumlish, III, for appellee.
Judges Doyle and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle. President Judge Crumlish, Jr. did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 103 Pa. Commw. Page 629]
E-Z Parks, Inc. (E-Z Parks) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County dismissing its action against the Philadelphia Parking Authority (Authority) for failure to join an indispensable party to the action, viz., the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (Department). We affirm.
This case concerns the same piece of property involved in our decision in E-Z Parks, Inc. v. Larson, 91 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 600, 498 A.2d 1364 (1985), aff'd per curiam, 509 Pa. 496, 503 A.2d 931 (1986) (E-Z Parks I). The property at the center of the storm in this case is currently used as a parking lot and is located on the south side of Vine Street, between 15th and 16th Streets, in the City of Philadelphia. The property in question consists of 69 separate parcels. On August 31, 1972, the Department condemned an easement to all the parcels for the purpose of constructing a limited-access highway on Vine Street. By 1983, the Department owned 14 of the parcels in fee simple and retained its easement for transportation purposes over the rest. On May 27, 1983, the Department leased the property to E-Z Parks for a five-year term, subject to termination by the Department in the event that the property was required "for construction of the highway or related transportation purposes."
While the lease with E-Z Parks was yet extant, the Department entered into a joint use agreement with the Authority on January 17, 1984, under which the Authority would lease the property for 99 years and construct a parking garage on the site. Under the terms of this agreement, the Department agreed to acquire fee simple title to the remaining parcels constituting the property, and filed a declaration of taking for that purpose on July 23, 1984. On November 21, 1984, the Department notified E-Z Parks that its lease was being
[ 103 Pa. Commw. Page 630]
terminated immediately "for the construction of the Vine Street Expressway."
Subsequently, E-Z Parks filed a four-count complaint in this Court's original jurisdiction. E-Z Parks I.*fn1 The first count was based upon Section 2003(e) of the Administrative Code of 1929*fn2 (pertaining to the Department's authority, or lack of authority, to buy land). The second and third counts were directed solely against the Department for breach of the lease, and the fourth count sought damages from, and injunctive relief against, the Authority for tortious interference with E-Z Parks' lease with the Department.
Ruling upon preliminary objections filed by the Department and the Authority, this Court sustained the objections as to the first count, finding that E-Z Parks failed to state a cause of action upon which relief could be granted. The Court also sustained objections as to counts two and three, finding that these claims were within the jurisdiction of the Board of Claims. As to the fourth count, the Court dismissed E-Z Parks' claim for damages against the Authority, but ruled that E-Z Parks' claim for injunctive relief could proceed. Since the Authority was a local agency, this Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter, however, and ordered this part of the case transferred to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County for further ...