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[U] TCPF Limited Partnership v. Skatell

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 5, 2014

TCPF LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, A PENNSYLVANIA PARTNERSHIP
v.
JAMES SKATELL
v.
THOMAS ALTMILLER AND PATRICK ALTMILLER AS EXECUTOR OF THE ESTATE OF ROBERT ALTMILLER, AND VERA ALTMILLER, HIS WIFE APPEAL OF: TCPF LIMITED PARTNERSHIP

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Order of May 15, 2013 In the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County Civil Division at Nos.: 4999 2011 5042 of 2008 8239 of 2006 Consolidated at 2006-8239

BEFORE: FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E., OTT, J., and WECHT, J.

MEMORANDUM

WECHT, J.

TCPF Limited Partnership ("TCPF") appeals from the May 15, 2013 order granting summary judgment in favor of James Skatell, Thomas Altmiller, Vera Altmiller, and the estate of Robert Altmiller. We affirm .

This Court previously has summarized the pertinent factual and procedural history of this case as follows:

[ TCPF] is the owner of commercial property located at 1185 East Pittsburgh Street, Greensburg, Pennsylvania. [ TCPF] agreed to lease a portion of the building located on that property to T & J Sub Shoppe, Inc. ("T & J") for the operation of a Quiznos sub shop. Skatell, as president of T & J, executed the agreement of lease dated July 18, 2003. The lease was for a period of seven years commencing on the opening of the business or October 1, 2003, whichever event occurred first.
Also on July 18, 2003, Thom as Altmiller ("Altmiller") and Skatell executed an individual guaranty. Pursuant to the guaranty, Altmiller and Skatell guaranteed the full and prompt payment of all rent and additional rent and any and all other sums and charges payable by T & J. The guaranty contained a warrant of attorney and confession of judgment provision enabling [ TCPF] to bring an action to confess judgment against Altmiller and Skatell for all or any sum s due. The individual guaranty contained language allowing for the successive exercises of the warrant of attorney until all obligations of Altmiller and Skatell under the lease had been discharged. Beginning in June of 2006, T & J defaulted on its obligation under the lease.
On September 19, 2006, filed a complaint in confession of judgment against Altmiller and Skatell [ hereinafter, "2006 Com plaint" ] for T & J's breach of its lease obligations in the amount of $65, 196.91. [ TCPF] invoked the right to accelerate the rent and other charges for the entire unexpired balance of the term of the lease. On the same date, judgments by confession in favor of [ TCPF] and against Altmiller and in favor of [ TCPF] and against Skatell were entered in the amount of $65, 196.91. Subsequent to the filing of the complaint and entries of judgment, [ TCPF] discovered that it had calculated the amount of judgment for the amount due under only a portion of the unexpired balance of the term of the lease, from June of 2006 through September of 2007, and not the entire lease term. On August 20, 2007, [ TCPF] requested leave of court to file an amended complaint in confession of judgment to increase the amount of judgment to $203, 420.45, which represents the entire unexpired balance of the term of the lease from June of 2006 through September of 2010. On October 25, 2007, the trial court denied [ TCPF's] request.
[ TCPF] then presented a second motion for leave to file an amended complaint in confession of judgment to invoke its right to accelerate the rent and other charges, payments, costs and expenses for only that part of the unexpired balance of the term of the lease from June of 2006 through September of 2007[, ] and reserving its right to confess judgment for amounts coming due under the lease subsequent to September of 2007. On November 21, 2007, the trial court denied the second motion.

TCPF Ltd. P'ship. v. Skatell, 976 A.2d 571, 573 (Pa. Super. 2009) (footnotes omitted). TCPF separately appealed each of the trial court's rulings denying TCPF's petitions to am end. This Court consolidated the appeals and affirmed. I d. at 574-77.

On May 1, 2008, Before this Court ruled on the above appeals, TCPF filed a new civil com plaint against Skatell at a separate docket (hereinafter, "2008 Complaint"), seeking additional damages for the entire unexpired lease term.[1] On March 21, 2013, Skatell filed a motion for summary judgment. Therein, he argued that, because TCPF previously had obtained a final judgment for the balance of the rents due, this subsequent civil action was barred by both the doctrine of res judicata and collateral estoppel.[2] On May 15, 2013, the trial court granted Skatell's motion for summary judgment, determining that collateral estoppel barred TCPF from pursuing further recovery by confessed judgment.

On June 13, 2013, TCPF filed a notice of appeal. The trial court did not direct TCPF to file a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b). On July 1, 2013, the trial court issued a statement pursuant to Rule 1925(a) that incorporated its May 15, 2013, order and opinion.

TCPF presents the following issue for our consideration: "Did the trial court err in determining that collateral estoppel bars TCPF from pursuing unpaid rentals owed?" Brief for TCPF at 1 (capitalization modified).[3] Our standard of review of ...


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