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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LINDA D. WARD PATRICIA L. SMITH (08/21/87)

decided: August 21, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC ASSISTANCE, NOW KNOWN AS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, APPELLANT
v.
LINDA D. WARD; PATRICIA L. SMITH, TERRE TENANT; CLYDE HOFFMAN, TERRE TENANT; HELEN HOFFMAN, TERRE TENANT, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Venango County in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Assistance, now known as Department of Public Welfare v. Linda D. Ward; Patricia L. Smith, Terre Tenant; Clyde Hoffman, Terre Tenant; Helen M. Hoffman, Terre Tenant, No. 471 C.D. 1975.

COUNSEL

Roger T. Margolis, for appellant.

George R. Zaiser, Dale, Woodward, Montgomery & White, for appellees.

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

Author: Palladino

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 573]

This is an appeal by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Venango County (trial court) which granted a Petition to Strike Off Judgment and/or Suggestion of Nonpayment filed by Patricia L. Smith, Clyde Hoffman and Helen M. Hoffman (Appellees) and ordered DPW to pay reasonable counsel fees to Appellees' attorney. For the reasons which follow, we affirm.

Appellees are the record owners of a certain parcel of real property situate in Canal Township, Venango County, Pennsylvania, more particularly described in a deed from Linda D. Ward and Ricky L. Ward, tenants by the entireties, to Appellees, dated August 21, 1975 and recorded September 19, 1975 in Deed Book Volume

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 574771]

, Page 546 in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds of Venango County, Pennsylvania.

On April 7, 1975, Linda D. Ward,*fn1 executed a Reimbursement Agreement with DPW,*fn2 acknowledging that her real and personal property could be encumbered for repayment of Public Assistance. The agreement empowers the Prothonotary, or any attorney of any court of record, to confess judgment against Mrs. Ward for sums up to $2,000.00 plus costs. The agreement specifically provides that any such judgment becomes a lien upon Linda D. Ward's real property. Ricky L. Ward, Linda's husband, refused to sign the agreement.

DPW, pursuant to the reimbursement agreement, caused a judgment note with warrant of attorney to be indexed against the subject property on July 25, 1975. Thereafter, on August 21, 1975, Ricky L. Ward and Linda D. Ward, tenants by the entireties, transferred this parcel to Appellees, who took title as tenants-in-common.

On April 7, 1980, DPW revived the judgment by causing a Suggestion of Nonpayment to be indexed against the subject parcel naming Linda D. Ward as Defendant and Patricia L. Smith, Clyde Hoffman and Helen M. Hoffman as Terre-tenants.*fn3 Appellees assert that:

Knowing that Ricky L. Ward and Linda D. Ward had held the real ...


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