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WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CORPORATION (R & D CENTER) v. BOARD PROPERTY ASSESSMENT (07/25/88)

decided: July 25, 1988.

WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CORPORATION (R & D CENTER), APPELLANT
v.
BOARD OF PROPERTY ASSESSMENT, APPEALS AND REVIEW ET AL., APPELLEES. THE BOROUGH OF CHURCHILL AND WOODLAND HILLS SCHOOL DISTRICT V. BOARD OF PROPERTY ASSESSMENT, APPEALS AND REVIEW ET AL. WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CORPORATION (R & D CENTER), APPELLANT. THE BOROUGH OF CHURCHILL AND WOODLAND HILLS SCHOOL DISTRICT V. BOARD OF PROPERTY ASSESSMENT, APPEALS AND REVIEW ET AL. THE BOROUGH OF CHURCHILL ET AL., APPELLANTS



Appeals from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of Westinghouse Electric Corporation (R & D Center) v. Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review v. The Borough of Churchill, Woodland Hills School District and County of Allegheny, No. GD82-01690; in the case of The Borough of Churchill and Woodland Hills School District v. Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review v. Westinghouse Electric Corporation (R & D Center) and County of Allegheny, No. GD82-01627; in the case of Westinghouse Electric Corporation (R & D Center) v. Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review of Allegheny County, and The Borough of Churchill, Woodland Hills School District and The County of Allegheny, No. GD82-01690; and in the case of The Borough of Churchill and Woodland Hills School District v. Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review v. Westinghouse Electric Corporation (R & D Center) and County of Allegheny, No. GD82-01627.

COUNSEL

Philip Baskin, with him, Dusty L. Elias, Baskin, Flaherty, Elliott & Mannino, P.C., for appellant, Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

Robert W. Goehring, Goehring & West, for Borough of Churchill, appellee.

Thomas M. Rutter, Goehring, Rutter & Boehm, for Woodland Hills School District, appellee.

Ira Weiss, Deputy County Solicitor, Allegheny County, for appellee.

Judges Barry and McGinley, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.

Author: Barry

[ 118 Pa. Commw. Page 154]

Westinghouse Electric Corporation (Westinghouse) appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which assessed Westinghouse's Research and Development Center for the years 1977-86. The taxing bodies, the County of Allegheny, the Borough of Churchill (Borough) and the Woodland Hills School District (School District) have also appealed.

The Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review originally assessed the R & D Center at $9,960,000 for the years 1977 and 1978, at $9,985,000 for the years 1979 and 1980 and at $10,010,000 for 1981. Westinghouse sought reductions in the assessments and the Board left the assessments for the years 1977-79 intact; the Board reduced the assessments for the years 1980 and 1981 to $7,589,000 and $7,614,000 respectively. Westinghouse, the Borough and the School District all filed appeals to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. These appeals were consolidated for trial.

For the years 1982-86, the Board assessed the R & D Center at $7,614,000. Pursuant to Section 518.1 of The General County Assessment Law, Act of May 22, 1933, P.L. 853, as amended, 72 P.S. ยง 5020-518.1, the appeals mentioned above acted as automatic appeals for the years 1982-86. Trial was held between June 3, 1986 and September 24, 1986, with almost 1500 pages of testimony being transcribed. The parties stipulated that

[ 118 Pa. Commw. Page 155]

    for the years 1980 and thereafter, the common level ratio used in Allegheny County was 25%. The trial court, therefore, was required to determine the common level ratio for the years 1977-79 and the fair market value of the R & D Center for all years involved. The trial court, in an opinion from the bench on September 24, 1986, determined the fair market value of the property for the years 1980-86; applying the 25% ratio which had been stipulated to, the court assessed the property at $7,000,000 for 1980, $7,250,000 for 1981, $7,375,000 for 1982, $7,625,000 for 1983, $7,562,500 for 1984, $7,875,000 for 1985 and $8,000,000 for 1986. After making findings concerning the common level ratio in a bench opinion on September 30, 1986, which the court found to be 39%, the court thereafter assessed the R & D Center at $10,140,000 for 1977, $10,725,000 for 1978 and $10,920,000 for 1979.

On October 9, 1986, Westinghouse filed an application for post-trial relief pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. No. 227.1. The trial court issued an order on October 14 which reiterated the factual findings made in the two opinions from the bench. That opinion was docketed with the Allegheny County Prothonotary on October 15. On October 23, the taxing bodies filed an application for post-trial relief. Following oral argument on October 30, the trial court denied both motions by order of October 31. On November 13, Westinghouse filed a notice of appeal to ...


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