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Domiano v. Sea Beach Plaza

March 31, 2010

DAVID DOMIANO PLAINTIFF
v.
SEA BEACH PLAZA, INC. DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Vanaskie

MEMORANDUM

Pending before this Court is Defendant Sea Beach Plaza, Inc.'s ("Sea Beach") motion for summary judgment. (Dkt. Entry 14.) At the center of this dispute is real property located in Nanticoke, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania (the "Property"). Plaintiff David Domiano's action for ejectment of Defendant Sea Beach is grounded on Plaintiff's assertion that, as a successor in interest, he maintained a reversionary interest in the Property through a quitclaim deed. According to Mr. Domiano, the Property reverted to him when it ceased to be used for school purposes. For the reasons that follow, Defendant's motion will be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

On or about June 19, 1914, the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad Company ("DLW Railroad") was the owner of the Property. (Dkt. Entry 14, Defendant's Statement of Material Facts ("DSMF") ¶ 1.)*fn1 On June 19, 1914, but publicly recorded on March 26, 1915, DLW Railroad conveyed the Property to the Nanticoke School District ("School District") "for school purposes only, and for no other purpose." (DSMF ¶ 2, Ex. "A") ("1914 Deed"). The 1914 Deed, in pertinent part, states:

THIS INDENTURE . . . . BETWEEN [DLW Railroad] . . . party of the first part, and THE [School District], party of the second part: . . . in consideration of the sum of One Dollar ($1.00) . . . has granted, bargained, sold, aliened, enfeoffed, released, conveyed, and confirmed, and by these presents does grant, bargain, sell, alien, enfoff, release, convey and confirm unto the party of the second part, and its successors, for school purposes only, and for no other purpose, the surface or right of soil of all that certain piece, parcel or tract of land situate in the Fifth Ward of the Borough of Nanticoke, County of Luzerne and state of Pennsylvania, bounded and described [the Property]*fn2 . . . containing nine hundred sixty-one one thousandths (0.961) of an acre of land . . . . TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said surface of said lot and land, hereditaments and premises hereby granted or mentioned and intended so to be, with the appurtenances, unto said party of the second part, and its successors, to the only proper use and behoof of the said party of the second part, and its successors, forever, excepting and reserving as aforesaid. (Id. at Ex. "A" SB 00006-SB 00008; emphasis added.)

On April 28, 1983 and recorded on July 22, 1983, Erie Lackawanna Inc., as a successor in interest to DLW Railroad, by quitclaim deed conveyed to Domiano its interest in the Property. (Dkt. Entry 1, Compl. ¶ 8.)*fn3 The quitclaim deed of the Property declares:

All the remaining right, title and interest of Grantor [Erie Lackawanna Inc.], in and to any lands and interests in lands in the County of Luzerne, in Pennsylvania . . . not heretofore conveyed by Grantor, or its predecessors in title, as well as reversions, remainders, rights of entry and other contingent interests and all rights, privileges and easements reserved to Grantor and its predecessors in deeds for land in the County of Luzerne; . . . . Title to the above-described [P]roperty is being conveyed subject to:

(1) Statutory and municipal requirements relating to the land and buildings;

(2) Any state of facts that an accurate survey and an inspection of the premises would disclose;

(3) Leases, easements, license privileges or other agreements for the use of the subject property

(4) Assessments, if any, for public improvement.

TOGETHER WITH:

All of Grantor's interest in the agreements mentioned in (3) above.

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the premises herein granted unto the Grantee [David Domiano] his heirs, successors and assigns, forever.

The Erie-Lackawanna Railroad Company is the successor-in-interest of [DLW Railroad] . . . . The Erie Lackawanna Railway Company is the successor-in-interest of the Erie-Lackawanna Railway Company . . . . (Dkt. Entry 1, Compl. ¶ 8, Ex. "B".) Sea Beach admits that the quitclaim deed was recorded on July 22, 1983. (Dkt. Entry 6, Answer ¶ 8.)

On November 19, 1998, the Greater Nanticoke Area School District, as successor in interest to the School District, petitioned the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County for approval of the sale of the Property. (Id. at ¶ 6.) Judge Burke of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, by order dated December 22, 1998, granted the petition approving the sale. (DSMF ¶ 8.) Subsequently, by deed dated May 13, 1999, the Greater Nanticoke Area School District transferred the Property to Brigadeer Development Company, LLC ("Brigadeer"). (Id. at ¶ 10.)

On March 5, 1999, Brigadeer leased the Property to REA & DERICK, Inc., and on October 27, 1999, the City of Nanticoke issued a certificate of occupancy for a CVS pharmacy located on the Property. (Id. at ¶ 12-6.) On August 12, 2004, Brigadeer transferred the title of the Property to Sea Beach. (Id. at 20.)

By letter dated December 9, 1999, Domiano's then counsel wrote to TAZ Abstract, Inc., alleged to be Brigadeer's agent, that "David Domiano is making a claim that said property is his by way of reversionary interest." (Id. at Ex. "1".) Further, the letter claims "[a]s the successor-in-interest of [DLW Railroad], Mr. Domiano's interest in the property vested when the [Greater Nanticoke Area] School ...


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