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STANLEY C. BARNER v. JUNIATA COUNTY TAX CLAIM BUREAU (03/10/87)

decided: March 10, 1987.

STANLEY C. BARNER, II AND JULIA B. BARNER, APPELLANTS
v.
JUNIATA COUNTY TAX CLAIM BUREAU, WALKER TOWNSHIP, JUNIATA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, JUNIATA COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Juniata County in the case of Stanley C. Barner, II. and Julia B. Barner v. Juniata County Tax Claim Bureau; Walker Township, Juniata County, Board of Supervisors; Juniata County School Board, No. 433 of 1982.

COUNSEL

Stanley C. Barner, II, for appellants.

No appearance for appellees.

Judges Craig and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 469]

Stanley C. Barner, II, (Appellant) appeals from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Juniata County (trial court) which entered judgment in favor of Juniata County Tax Claim Bureau, Walker Township, Juniata County Board of Supervisors and Juniata County School Board (Appellees) in an equity action to enjoin a tax sale. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

Appellant owns two real estate properties in Walker Township, Juniata County. From September of 1979 through 1980 and 1981, Appellant refused to pay more than one dollar per month in real estate taxes. As a result, the Juniata County Tax Claim Bureau listed Appellant's properties for tax sale. Appellant filed suit against Appellees to enjoin the tax sale for failure of the Tax Claim Bureau to properly give notice of the impending tax sale. The Tax Claim Bureau acknowledged the deficiency, and it has since been rectified.*fn1 The case went

[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 470]

    to non-jury trial on April 26 and 27, 1984. On June 6, 1984, the trial court entered judgment in favor of Appellees. On appeal, Appellant makes a number of arguments relating to his obligation to pay taxes that may be categorized generally under: (1) fair trial issues; (2) tax issues; and (3) other issues. For the sake of clarity and simplification, we shall address each of Appellant's contentions by category.

Fair Trial Issues

Appellant contends initially that the trial court abused its discretion in denying a continuance requested by Appellant on the day of trial. Appellant alleges that several witnesses whom he had wished to examine were not present in the courtroom, and that therefore he was entitled to a continuance.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has set the standard for review of a trial court's ruling on a request for a continuance due to absence of witnesses:

[W]hile it is the policy of the law that the parties to an action have the benefit of the personal attendance of material witnesses whenever reasonably practicable, it necessarily lies within the discretion of the trial court to determine, in the light of all the circumstances of each case, whether or not a cause before it should be continued on the ground of absence of material witnesses. Such a continuance will ...


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