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Dwyer v. Luzerne County Tax Claim Bureau

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

February 17, 2015

James J. Dwyer, Michael J. Garrity, and SPG Enterprises, A Pennsylvania General Partnership
v.
Luzerne County Tax Claim Bureau, and Jerome Kane. Appeal of: Jerome Kane

Argued,  December 8, 2014

Appealed from No. 2014-01490. Common Pleas Court of the County of Luzerne. Pierantoni, J.

Brion W. Kelley, Kingston, for appellant.

Dyan E. Dinstel, Wilkes-Barre, for appellee Luzerne County Tax Claim Bureau.

Joseph J. Terrana, Kingston, for appellees James J. Dwyer, Michael J. Garrity, and SPG Enterprises, A Pennsylvania General Partnership.

BEFORE: HONORABLE RENÉ E COHN JUBELIRER, Judge, HONORABLE PATRICIA A. McCULLOUGH, Judge, HONORABLE ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 224

FRIEDMAN, SENIOR JUDGE

Jerome Kane (Purchaser) appeals from the March 27, 2014, order of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County (trial court) that granted the petition of James J. Dwyer, Michael J. Garrity, and SPG Enterprises (collectively, Appellees) to set aside an upset tax sale (Petition). We affirm.

On September 19, 2013, the Luzerne County Tax Claim Bureau (Bureau) conducted an upset tax sale for unimproved real estate located on East Fallbrook Avenue, Dallas Township, Pennsylvania, known as Lots 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24, Section D, Goss Manor (Property). Purchaser was the successful bidder in the amount of $3,800.

On February 10, 2014, Appellees filed the Petition. On March 26, 2014, the trial court conducted a hearing. Nadine Emel, an employee of Northeast Revenue and agent for the Bureau, testified. Emel stated that it is her responsibility to " move tax sales forward and provide notice." (N.T., 3/26/14, at 8.)

Emil testified that in September 1989, Michael Snell, Edmund Pish, and Garrity acquired title to the Property as tenants in co-partnership, trading and doing business as SPG Enterprises, a Pennsylvania general partnership with a post office box address in Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania. (Trial Ct. Op. at 5.) Subsequently, Garrity acquired Pish's one-third partnership interest in the Property by deed dated November 17, 1992. ( Id.) Thereafter, Dwyer acquired Snell's one-third partnership interest in the Property by deed dated April 12, 1994. The Snell-Dwyer deed listed Dwyer's residence as 802 Knapp Road, Lansdale, Pennsylvania. ( Id.)

Emel stated that the Property is registered in the Assessor's Office as " Michael Garrity, James Dwyer, care of Michael Garrity." (N.T., 3/26/14, at 13.) Emel testified that there was no reference to a " partnership" in the assessment records. ( Id.)

Emel further testified that addresses from deeds " get transferred to the Tax Assessor's Office [(Assessor's Office)] and then that is how the Tax Claim Bureau . . . notifies individuals of overdue -- delinquent taxes or tax sales." ( Id., at 9.) Emel also confirmed that " if . . . anyone that has title wanted to change the address for which the ...


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