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ESTATE HAROLD R. SCHMIDT (08/13/91)

filed: August 13, 1991.

IN RE ESTATE OF HAROLD R. SCHMIDT, DECEASED. APPEAL OF SQUARE 106 ASSOCIATES


Appeal from the Order entered on October 2, 1990, in the Court of Common Pleas, Orphans Division, of Allegheny County, No. 3222 of 1989.

COUNSEL

Richard B. Tucker, Jr., Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Edward C. Schmidt, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

Richard Disalle, Pittsburgh, for participating party.

Rowley, President Judge, and Cavanaugh and Hester, JJ.

Author: Rowley

[ 408 Pa. Super. Page 355]

This is a timely appeal by Square 106 Associates from the trial court's order denying its claim against the estate of Harold R. Schmidt. Appellant has raised the following issues for our review:

1) whether the orphans' court division lacked jurisdiction because appellant never presented a claim in the estate proceeding;

2) whether the orphans' court division lacked jurisdiction because appellant withdrew all its filings prior to the audit;

3) whether the orphans' court division abused its discretion in striking appellant's withdrawal of its claim; and

4) whether, by adjudicating the instant claim, the orphans' court division denied appellant due process of law and violated the preemption doctrine which arises from Art. VI, cl. 2 of the United States Constitution.

Having carefully reviewed the record and considered the arguments presented, we affirm the order of the trial court.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The complex factual and procedural history of the instant case, insofar as it is relevant to the issue before us, is as

[ 408 Pa. Super. Page 356]

    follows. On January 17, 1983, Square 106 Associates ("appellant"), a joint venture, leased office space in the District of Columbia to the law firm of Chapman, Duff & Paul. On February 28, 1985, the firm of Chapman, Duff & Paul entered into a "joint venture" with the law firm of Rose, Schmidt, Dixon & Hasley. The joint venture was known as Rose, Schmidt, Chapman, Duff & Hasley. However, relations between the two firms soured, and their joint venture was dissolved. Sometime thereafter, the Rose, Schmidt firm was renamed Rose, Schmidt, Hasley & Di Salle (RSH & DiS). Harold R. Schmidt was a partner in Rose, Schmidt, Dixon & Hasley; Rose, Schmidt, Chapman, Duff & Hasley; and RSH & DiS.

Harold R. Schmidt died on June 10, 1989. His will was admitted to probate in the orphans' court division of the court of common pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The court issued letters testamentary to Barbara N. Schmidt Wickwire on June 16, 1989. On August 7, 1989, appellant filed a claim in the amount of $2,036,398.00 against Harold R. Schmidt's estate ("Estate") in the orphans' court division of the court of common pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.*fn1 The claim, which was on a standard, preprinted form issued by the Allegheny County Register of Wills, stated as follows:

Form 93 -- O.C. Division

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA

ORPHANS' COURT DIVISION

[ 408 Pa. Super. Page 357]

IN RE: ESTATE

OF

HAROLD R. SCHMIDT

(Deceased)

NO. 3222 OF 1989

CLAIM

To the Clerk of Orphans' Court Division:

Index and make proper entry in your official records of the claim of The Square 106 Associates (Claimant) in the amount of $2,036,398.00 against the estate of the above named decedent. This claim is filed under Section 732(b)(2) of the Fiduciaries Act of 1949 as amended. The said decedent, who resided at ...


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