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CITY PITTSBURGH v. WILLIAM ONDECK (05/22/87)

decided: May 22, 1987.

CITY OF PITTSBURGH, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, APPELLANT
v.
WILLIAM ONDECK, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in case of City of Pittsburgh, a municipal corporation v. William Ondeck, No. 1134 AR 1984.

COUNSEL

John George Shorall, II, Assistant City Solicitor, with him, D. R. Pellegrini, City Solicitor, for appellant.

John M. Kish, Kish, Kish & Yarsky, for appellee.

Judges Craig and Doyle, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 314]

This appeal by the City of Pittsburgh concerns its efforts to obtain an in personam judgment against appellee property owner William Ondeck.

Following the city's condemnation of a dwelling on May 10, 1983, and notice to the appellee as record owner of that property, the city contracted with a private demolition company, the lowest bidder, to raze the condemned structure at a cost of $2,995. On August 18, 1983, the contractor completed the demolition.

[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 315]

In the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, the city then filed a pleading captioned "Complaint in Assumpsit" at G.D. 83-19389. However, the city did not have that first complaint served upon the property owner.

Section 3 of the Act of May 13, 1915, P.L. 297 (1915 Act), cited by the city in its pleading at G.D. 83-19389, provides:

In case any owner, agent, or occupant does not remove or remedy a building or structure, or part thereof, or remove or remedy dangerous conditions, as ordered by the said department, and does not appeal to the court of common pleas in such cases as appeals are provided for, the said department may remove or remedy, or cause to be removed or remedied, the building or structure, or part thereof, or the dangerous condition, at the expense of the city; the cost thereof to be recovered by the city from said owner or occupant, in an action of law, in the court of common pleas; and when such suit, with statement of claim, with description of the premises, is filed by the city, the prothonotary shall index it upon the judgment docket, and the city shall have a lien for the amount of said claim against the said premises.

53 P.S. § 25094 (emphasis added).

Based on that authority, the first paragraph of the city's complaint*fn1 directed the prothonotary to enter in

[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 316]

    the In Rem Judgment Index, a lien against the owner of record in the sum of $2,995. The pleading then set forth, under the subtitle, "COMPLAINT," averments that the city claims of William Ondeck, as the owner of the subject property, the sum of $2,995 for his refusal to reimburse the city for the costs of razing the structure after the city determined that the unremedied condition of the property constituted a public danger. The city further averred that it had solicited bids ...


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