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220 PARTNERSHIP C/O PHILIP BANKS v. CITY PHILADELPHIA (11/01/89)

decided : November 1, 1989.

220 PARTNERSHIP C/O PHILIP BANKS, APPELLANT,
v.
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, APPELLEE



Appeal from Common Pleas Court, Philadelphia County; Honorable Nicholas M. D'Alessandro, Judge.

COUNSEL

Anthony L. Cianfrani, for appellant.

Flora Barth Wolf, Divisional Deputy City Sol., with her, Andrew P. Bralow, Chief Deputy City Sol., and Seymour Kurland, City Sol., for appellee.

Barry and Smith and Barbieri, Senior Judge, sitting as a panel of three.

Author: Barbieri

[ 129 Pa. Commw. Page 301]

The present case comes before us on direct appeal from a final order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia

[ 129 Pa. Commw. Page 302]

County, issued on April 28, 1988, which found the 220 Partnership and its general partner Philip J. Banks, Appellants, to be in civil contempt for failure to comply with previous court orders, and imposed a $10,000 fine. Having thoroughly reviewed the record in this matter, we quash the appeal and remand to the trial court for the calculation and award of costs and attorneys' fees to Appellee, the City of Philadelphia (City).

This case has a lengthy procedural history. Appellants are owners of a structure located at 220 South 16th Street in Philadelphia. This structure was alleged, by the City of Philadelphia's Department of Licenses and Inspections, to be in violation of Title 5, Chapter 3400, of the Philadelphia Code of Ordinances (Code). This section of the Code contains provisions of the Fire Code which are applicable to high-rise structures.

In February of 1987, the City filed an action in equity against Appellants to compel them to bring the structure into compliance with the Fire Code provisions. Numerous hearings were held between February of 1987 and April of 1988. The court repeatedly directed Appellants to complete all work required to bring the building into compliance with the Code provisions, and Appellants repeatedly assured the court that they would perform all work necessary to meet these requirements. On two occasions, July 29, 1987 and December 8, 1987, orders were issued by the Honorable Nelson A. Diaz instructing Appellants to install all fire safety features required by the Code. However, by April of 1988, Appellants had failed to comply with these orders.

On April 18, 1988, a hearing was conducted by the Hon. Nicholas D'Alessandro to determine what sanctions would be imposed for Appellants' failure to comply with the court's previous orders. As a result, on April 28, 1988, the court issued an order finding Appellants to be in civil contempt for past failure to comply with court orders, and imposing a fine of $10,000 as a penalty for that contempt.

[ 129 Pa. Commw. Page 303]

The order of April 28, 1988 further provided, "This Order shall be entered by the ...


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