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GLENNON'S MILK SERVICE v. WEST CHESTER AREA MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY (02/26/88)

decided: February 26, 1988.

GLENNON'S MILK SERVICE, INC., APPELLANT
v.
WEST CHESTER AREA MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County in the case of Glennon's Milk Service, Inc. v. West Chester Area Municipal Authority, No. 197 of 1983.

COUNSEL

Melva L. Mueller, with her, Lawrence A. Goldberg, Goldberg, Evans, Herald & Donatoni, for appellant.

Randy L. Sebastian, with him, Frederick P. Kramer, II, MacElree, Harvey, Gallagher & Featherman, Ltd., for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Barry and Colins, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins.

Author: Colins

[ 114 Pa. Commw. Page 90]

Glennon's Milk Service, Inc. (Glennon's), appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County which dismissed Glennon's complaint against the West Chester Area Municipal Authority (Authority) in its entirety with prejudice.

This action was originally brought by Glennon's as an action in equity to compel the Authority to repair a water leak in the service line between its main and Glennon's curb line. The Authority repaired the leak in December, 1984. The case was thereafter transferred to the law side of the trial court for a determination of whether the Authority was required to reimburse Glennon's for water damage to its property, sustained as a result of the leak.

The trial court recognized that Glennon's cause of action against the Authority was actually a challenge to the reasonableness of the Authority's rules and regulations passed in 1974. The trial court held that Glennon's failed to prove that the Authority's regulations, which placed the maintenance responsibility for service lines upon the customer, were unreasonable. Therefore, the trial court concluded that Glennon's had failed to prove any duty on the part of the Authority to repair the leak in question. Glennon's has brought the instant appeal following the trial court's denial of its post-trial motion.

In 1972, West Chester Borough Water Department, which had previously provided service to Glennon's, was taken over by the Authority. In 1974, the Authority adopted rules and regulations placing the burden of installing and maintaining the service lines upon the customer.*fn1

[ 114 Pa. Commw. Page 91]

Glennon's notified the Authority on July 1, 1982 of a leak in its service line and a dispute arose as to the responsibility for its repair. After repairing the leak in December, 1984, the Authority placed a lien on Glennon's property for the cost of the repair. Litigation in this matter was instituted shortly thereafter.

Our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether the Authority abused its discretion in promulgating its regulations which imposed the obligation of maintenance of service lines upon the customer. Glennon's contends that the delegation of the maintenance and repair obligation to the customer has rendered the service provided by the Authority unreasonable, in violation of Section 4B(h) of the Act.*fn2 The burden of proof is on the party challenging the reasonableness of the service to prove ...


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