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WILLIAM C. VERNOCY AND MARY IRENE VERNOCY v. T. W. PHILLIPS GAS AND OIL CO. (05/06/88)

filed: May 6, 1988.

WILLIAM C. VERNOCY AND MARY IRENE VERNOCY, APPELLANTS
v.
T. W. PHILLIPS GAS AND OIL CO., APPELLEE; IN RE: CONDEMNATION BY T. W. PHILLIPS GAS AND OIL CO. V. KOVALCHICK SALVAGE COMPANY AND W. C. LEASURE W. C. LEASURE, APPELLANT



Appeal from Common Pleas Court, Indiana County, Honorable W. Parker Ruddock, Judge.

COUNSEL

FOR APPELLANT(s) Michael Handler, Esq., Indiana, Pa., Case No. 1627 C.D. 1987

FOR T. W. PHILLIPS GAS AND OIL CO., Michael S. Delaney, Esq. Delaney & Delaney, Indiana, Pa. and Walter A. Bunt, Jr. Esq., Case No. 1627 C.D. 1987

FOR KOVALCHICK SALVAGE CO., Robert D. Douglas, Esq., Indiana, Pa., Case No. C.D. 1987

FOR T.W. PHILLIPS GAS AND OIL CO: Bruce Wiegand, Esq., Walter a. Bunt, Jr., Esq., Nancy L. Krzton, Esq., Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, Pittsburgh, Pa., Case No. 1627 C.D.

FOR APPELLANT(S) John P. Merlo, Esq., Indiana, Pa., and Robert S. Bell, Esq., Case No. 1287 C.D. 1987

FOR APPELLEE, Mixhael S. Delaney, Esq., Indiana, Pa., Case No. 1287 C.D. 1987

FOR APPELLEE: Bruce Wiegand, Esq., Walter a. Bunt, Jr., Esq. Nancy L. Krzton, Esq., Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, Pittsburgh, Pa., Case No. 1287 C.D. 1987

Honorable Joseph T. Doyle, Judge, Honorable Francis A. Barry, Judge, and Honorable Alexander F. Barbieri, Senior Judge

Author: Barry

HONORABLE FRANCIS A. BARRY, Judge

In these consolidated appeals, landowners/condemnees W. C. Leasure (at No. 1627 C.D. 1987) and William C. Vernocy and his wife, Mary Irene Vernocy (at No. 1287 C.D. 1987) appeal orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Indiana County which approved a bond of T.W. Phillips Gas and Oil Co., the condemnor.

The condemnor is a regulated natural gas utility company. It signed a contract with Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) to provide natural gas to a cogeneration plant being constructed by IUP. The plant would provide heat and power for all of IUP's facilities. To provide the natural gas, the condemnor had to construct a pipeline approximately ten miles long. When negotiations with the landowners concerning the price for the eighteen foot wide right of way proved fruitless, the condemnor filed a petition for approval of a bond. The landowners filed various preliminary objections. Following a consolidated hearing involving these appellants and other landowners who did not appeal, the trial court dismissed the preliminary objections and approved the bond.

Section 322 of the Business Corporation Law, Act of May 5, 1933, P.L. 364, added by the Act of August 27, 1963, P.L. 1381, as amended, 15 P.S. ยง 1322 (Supp. 1987), clothes a natural gas company with the power of eminent domain. It has been clear, however, that whenever the power of eminent domain is exercised, whether by private corporations with authorization of the Legislature or by governmental entities, this power may be ...


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