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[U] Duncan v. Farabaugh

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

November 19, 2013

JACK DUNCAN AND JEFF DUNCAN, Appellees
v.
RONALD FARABAUGH AND KAY FARABAUGH, Appellants

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Judgment Entered March 8, 2013, In the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, at No. LT-12-000827.

BEFORE: FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E., GANTMAN and SHOGAN, JJ.

MEMORANDUM

SHOGAN, J.

Pro se Appellants, Ronald and Kay Farabaugh, appeal from the judgment entered in favor of Jack Duncan and Jeff Duncan ("Landlord").[1]We affirm.

The trial court set forth the history of this case as follows:

This landlord-tenant dispute came before the Court as an appeal from the compulsory arbitration system in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. The matter was heard de novo by the Court sitting without a jury. The dispute arose from the claim by plaintiff-landlord Duncan for possession, unpaid rent and damages. Duncan's claim for possession asserted both that the lessees, Mr. and Mrs. Farabaugh, were substantially in arrears on rent payments and that they had violated explicit restrictions set forth in the written lease the parties had mutually executed. Among the lease violations asserted by Duncan were unapproved alterations of the property, possession of pets on the property and barring inspections of the property by the landlord. The lease term was one year, expiring on February 1, 2013.
The Farabaughs responded that the inspections attempted by Duncan were excessive to the point of denying the tenants peaceful possession of the leased premises, that the premises were rendered uninhabitable by Duncan's failed maintenance, and that Duncan had understood and agreed that the Farabaughs could keep a dog on the property. The Farabaughs demanded both possession and a rent reduction.
By non-jury verdict dated January 23, 2013, the Court found in favor of Duncan and against the Farabaughs on the matter of possession. More specifically, the written verdict awarded possession to Duncan based upon the Farabaughs' breach of lease conditions. The Court additionally found, and the verdict reflected, that the Farabaughs had failed to pay $4, 800.00 in rent. Accordingly, Duncan was awarded that amount.
Considerable docket activity occurred subsequent to the verdict, including an appeal from the non-jury verdict and an appeal from this Court's denial of the Farabaughs' motion for post-trial relief. Presently, the Farabaughs' appeal is predicated solely on the non-jury verdict; an amendment to the notice of appeal having been filed pursuant to a March 15, 2013 instruction from the Superior Court to the effect that a separate appeal must be filed for each Order of Court in dispute. To this Court's knowledge, the Farabaughs have not separately appealed the denial of the motion for post-trial relief.
Of course, an appeal cannot properly be taken directly from a non-jury verdict, an observation made by Duncan during the course of arguments regarding the Farabaughs' request for supersedeas. The verdict, however, was reduced to judgment on March 8, 2013, and, for that reason, the better course would seem to be to provide an opinion notwithstanding Duncan's contention that no proper appeal has been taken. Pa.R.A.P. 301, 902.

Trial Court Rule 1925(a) Opinion, 4/30/13, at 2-3.

On appeal, Appellants present fourteen questions, which we reproduce verbatim, as follows:

1. Did the Appellee have the right to evict and terminate the Lease for 3910 Meadowbrook Blvd. 15227
2. Did the Appellee provide habitable living conditions for the Appellants and allow the Appellants peaceful enjoyable living conditions?
3. Did the Appellee use Forcible measures in an effort to forcibly remove the Appellants?
4. Did the Appellee by way of Attorney Michael Fives Prematurely file Judgment on Verdict?
5. Did the Appellee by way of Attorney Michael Fives Prematurely file Writ of execution ...

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