EUGENE P. LEONI, JR., Appellee
GREGORY T. LEONI (AS THE EXECUTOR OF THE ESTATE OF EUGENE LEONI, SR.) AND MARIAN LEONI, Appellant EUGENE P. LEONI, JR., Appellee
GREGORY T. LEONI (AS THE EXECUTOR OF THE ESTATE OF EUGENE LEONI, SR.) AND MARIAN LEONI, Appellant
from the Order Entered December 7, 2015 In the Court of
Common Pleas of Montgomery County Civil Division at No(s):
No. 1989-01293 No. 1989-01294
BEFORE: BENDER, P.J.E., DUBOW, J., and MUSMANNO, J.
Gregory T. Leoni (as the executor of the estate of Eugene
Leoni, Sr.) and Marian Leoni, appeal from orders entered in
two separate cases on December 7, 2015, granting
Appellee's, Eugene P. Leoni, Jr., motions to compel the
distribution of escrow funds in his favor. After careful
review, we reverse.
trial court provided the following detailed account of the
relevant facts and lengthy procedural history of this case in
its Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a) opinion:
In 1989, Dr. Eugene Leoni, Sr. and his wife, Marian Leoni,
issued five confessed judgments in favor of three of their
four children [-] Nanette, Eugene, Jr.[, ] and Gregory[, ]
and against themselves as a plan to protect their assets from
creditors. On January 25, 1989, these judgments were entered
in Montgomery County. These judgments included: two in favor
of Eugene P. Leoni, Jr. ("[Appellee]") in the
amounts of $375, 000 and $215, 000, docketed as 1989-01293
and 1989-01294, respectively ("the Eugene
Judgments"); two in favor of Nanette Leoni in the
amounts of $175, 000 and $225, 000, docketed as 1989-01297
and 1989-01298, respectively; and one in favor of Gregory
Leoni in the amount of $165, 000[, ] docketed at 1989-01296.
The Eugene Judgments were revived once on September 18, 1992.
Dr. Leoni died on August 18, 2006[, ] and Gregory Leoni was
named executor of his estate.
On November 1, 2006, [Appellee] filed praecipes for writs of
revival of the judgments. These writs included a request to
record the Eugene Judgments in the judgment index, which
created liens against [Appellants'] real property located
in Montgomery County. Gregory Leoni, in his capacity of
executor of the estate of Eugene Leoni, Sr., opposed the
revival of the Eugene Judgments.
A bench trial was held before the Honorable Gary S. Silow on
April 27, 2010[, ] regarding the revival of the Eugene
Judgments. On May 4, 2010, Judge Silow entered a decision
that revived the Eugene Judgments in favor of [Appellee] and
against [Appellants] in the amounts of $375, 000 and $215,
000. [Appellants] appealed that decision to the Superior
Court on September 30, 2010. [Appellants] posted two
irrevocable standby letters of credit on November 17, 2010[,
] as security in the amounts of $450, 000 in the case under
docket number 1989-01293[, ] and $258, 000 in the case under
docket number 1989-01294[, ] during the pendency of the
appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1731 and 1734.
On November 23, 2010[, ] Judge Silow entered the following
AND NOW, this 23 day of November 2010, by agreements of
counsel for the parties, since the [Appellants] have filed
with the Prothonotary security in the form of irrevocable
letters of credit in the aggregate amount of $708, 000,
representing 120% of the judgments at issue, pursuant to
Pa.R.A.P. 1731 and 1734(a)(ii)(iii), and which shall remain
in full force and effect pending [Appellants'] appeal,
the filing of security by [Appellants] operated as an
automatic supersedeas and stay pending [Appellants']
On January 18, 2012, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania
affirmed Judge Silow's decision under docket numbers 2807
EDA 2010 and 2808 EDA 2010. The Superior Court denied
[Appellants'] request for reargument. [Appellants']
petitions for allowance of appeal from the order of the
Superior Court were denied under docket numbers 327 MAL 2012
and 328 MAL 2012. The case was remanded by the Superior Court
back to this court on December 4, 2012.
Prior to the case being remanded, Gregory and Nanette Leoni
revived their judgments on May 21, 2012, creating liens in
their favor on all real property owned by the Estate of
Eugene Leoni Sr. and Marian Leoni.
On January 3, 2013, [Appellee] filed a motion to have [the]
prothonotary direct [the] bank to draw down irrevocable
standby letters of credit in favor of [Appellee] pursuant to
Pa.R.A.P. 1734. On March 20, 2013, this court granted
[Appellee's] motion and directed the prothonotary to
collect the irrevocable standby letters of credit in the
aggregate amount of $708, 000 and distribute same to
[Appellee]. On May 20, 2013,
[Appellants] filed an emergency motion to stay draw down on
irrevocable standby letters of credit, claiming [Appellee]
[was] not entitled to the entire amount of the standby
letters of credit, but solely the principal aggregate amount
of the Eugene Judgments equaling $590, 000, without interest.
On May 23, 2013, the undersigned ordered the parties to file
legal memoranda on the issue of whether [Appellee] was
entitled to interest on the Eugene Judgments. On May 30,
2013, this court ordered the immediate disbursement of $590,
000, said sum representing the undisputed principal of the
two Eugene Judgments. The principal of the Eugene Judgments
was paid to [Appellee] on June 18, 2013.
On August 5, 2013, [Appellee] filed a petition to assess
interest from January 25, 1989[, ] on the two Eugene
Judgments totaling $849, 600. On September 10, 2013, after
[receiving] no response to [Appellee's] petition to
assess interest, this court granted said petition and
assessed interest on the Eugene Judgments in the amount of
On September 16, 2013, [Appellants] filed a motion to vacate
order of September 10, 2013 (hereinafter "Motion to
Vacate"). On September 18, 2013, the court stayed its
order of September 10, 2013[, ] and scheduled argument on the
Motion to Vacate.
On September 27, 2013, in order to effectuate the sale of a
property owned by [Appellants] on which [Appellee] claimed a
judgment lien, [Appellee] and [Appellants] entered into an
agreement ("Escrow Agreement") to place the
proceeds from the sale in escrow at City Line Abstract
("Escrow Funds"). The parties further "agreed
to cause the liens, if any, of the Eugene Judgments and the
September 10, 2013 order to be released from the property and
any such liens shall attached [sic] to the Escrow
Fund … in the same order of priority as they existed
prior to the execution of this Escrow Agreement."
On October 15, 2013[, ] [Appellants] filed a motion to compel
the distribution of escrow and termination of letters of
credit ("Motion to Compel") seeking the court to
order: (1) [Appellee] and his assignee to enter satisfactions
of the judgments; (2) [Appellee] and his assignee to pay the
Estate of Marian E. Leoni the sum of $5, 900 (1% of $590,
000) for each day that the satisfactions have not been
entered since July 18, 2013; (3) the proceeds held in escrow
by City Line Abstract Company be distributed immediately to
Gregory T. Leoni and Nanette G. Leoni; and (4) the letters of
credit issued by Ambler Savings Bank immediately be
terminated and cancelled.
On December 12, 2013, the court entered orders which denied
[Appellants'] Motion to Vacate and [Appellants']
Motion to Compel. [Appellants] appealed these order[s] to the
Pennsylvania Superior Court on January 9, 2014. The
Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the court's orders
denying [Appellants'] Motion to Compel and separate
Motion to Vacate. In addition, the Court quashed the portion
of the appeal as it related to the priorities of liens on the
Escrow Funds in an opinion dated February 19, 2015.
[Appellants'] petitions for allowance of appeal from the
order of the Superior Court were denied under docket numbers
397-400 MAL 2015. The case was remanded by the Superior Court
to the trial court on November 19, 2015.
On February 26, 2014, while the prior appeal was pending in
the appellate courts, [Appellee] filed a motion to authorize
the distribution of an escrow fund. [Appellee] requested the
court to order the Escrow Funds be distributed to satisfy, in
part, the interest on the Eugene Judgments since the amount
of the irrevocable letters of credit did not satisfy the
principal and interest of the Eugene Judgments. [Appellants]
replied on March 11, 2015. Following oral argument held on
May 13, 2015 and November 13, 2015, the court entered an
order on December 7, 2015[, ] which granted [Appellee's]
Motion to Compel the Distribution of an Escrow.
Court Opinion (TCO), 2/12/16, at 1-5.
December 16, 2015, Appellants filed a timely notice of
appeal, followed by a timely, court-ordered Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b)
concise statement of errors complained of on appeal.
Appellants now present the following issues for our review:
1. Whether [the trial court] committed an abuse of discretion
or error of law in directing that the funds in escrow at City