Friday, March 23, 2012

pleading - pro se, ifp claimant - frivolous complaint - dismissal

Parran v. Rozum - Cmwlth. Court - March 23, 2012 - unpublished memorandum decision

The "allegations of a pro se complainant are held to a less stringent standard than that applied to pleadings filed by attorneys." Danyish v. Dep’t of Corrs., 845 A.2d 260, 262-63 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2004), aff’d, 584 Pa. 122, 881 A.2d 1263 (2005). However, the allegations still have to articulate a factual or legal basis to support his claims. Thomas v. Holtz, 707 A.2d 569 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1998).

If, simultaneous with the commencement of an action or proceeding or the taking of an appeal, a party has filed a petition for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, the court prior to acting upon the petition may dismiss the action, proceeding or appeal if the allegation of poverty is untrue or if it is satisfied that the action, proceeding or appeal is frivolous. Bundy v. Beard, 924 A.2d 723, 726 n.7 (Pa. Cmwlth.) (citing Pa.R.C.P No. 240(j)), aff’d, 596 Pa. 103, 941 A.2d 646 (2007).


The opinion, though not reported, may be cited "for its persuasive value, but not as binding precedent." 210 Pa. Code § 67.55. Citing Judicial Opinions.

sheriff's sale - setting aside - gross inadequacy of price

Bank of America v. Estate of Hood - Superior Court - March 22, 2012

Rule 3132 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure provides as follows: Upon petition of any party in interest before delivery of the personal property or of the sheriff’s
deed to real property, the court may, upon proper cause shown, set aside the sale and order a resale or enter any other order which may be just and proper
under the circumstances. Pa.R.C.P. 3132.

Equitable considerations govern the trial court’s decision to set aside a sheriff’s sale. Bornman v. Gordon, 527 A.2d 109, 111 (Pa. Super. 1987), appeal denied, 517 Pa. 620, 538 A.2d 874 (1988). This Court will not reverse the trial court’s decision absent an abuse of discretion. Id.

As a general rule, the burden of proving circumstances warranting the exercise of the court’s equitable powers is on the applicant, and the application to set aside a sheriff’s sale may be
refused because of the insufficiency of proof to support the material allegations of the application, which are generally required to be established by clear evidence.

An abuse of discretion occurs where, for example, the trial court misapplies the law. Warmkessel v. Heffner, 17 A.3d 408, 413 (Pa. Super. 2011), appeal denied, ___ Pa. ___, 34 A.3d 833 (2011).

Gross inadequacy of the sale price: Where a sale is challenged based upon the adequacy of the price our courts have frequently said that mere inadequacy of price standing alone is not a
sufficient basis for setting aside a sheriff’s sale. However where a ‘gross inadequacy’ in the price is established courts have found proper grounds exist to set aside a sheriff’s sale. The courts have traditionally looked at each case on its own facts. It is for this reason that the term ‘grossly inadequate price’ has never been fixed by any court at any given amount or any percentage amount of the sale. Further, it is presumed that the price received at a duly advertised public sale is the highest and best obtainable. Blue Ball Nat'l Bank v. Balmer, 810 A.2d 164, 166-67 (Pa. Super. 2002) (citations omitted), appeal denied, 573 Pa. 662, 820 A.2d 702 (2003).

“The purpose of a sheriff’s sale in mortgage foreclosure proceedings is to realize out of the land, the debt, interest, and costs which are due, or have accrued to, the judgment creditor.” Provident Nat'l Bank, N.A. v. Song, 832 A.2d 1077, 1081 (Pa. Super. 2003), appeal denied, 577 Pa. 736, 848 A.2d 929 (2004). This Court has held that “the outstanding mortgage balance must be considered in determining the adequacy of the sale price.” Continental Bank v. Frank, 495 A.2d 565, 569 (Pa. Super. 1985).

Pennsylvania courts have concluded that a sheriff’s sale price is grossly inadequate where sale price was a small percentage – roughly ten percent or less – of the established market value.


Municipal Authority v. PUC - Cmwlth. Court - March 22, 2012

Standing - In order to have standing, a party "must have a direct, immediate, and substantial interest in the subject matter of the controversy." Waddington v. Pennsylvania Pub. Util. Comm’n, 670 A.2d 199, 202 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1995) (emphasis added), appeal denied, 544 Pa. 679, 678 A.2d 368 (1996). "The requirement that an interest be „direct‟ simply means that the person claiming to be aggrieved must show causation of the harm to his interest by the matter of which he complains." Wm. Penn Parking Garage, Inc. v. City of Pittsburgh, 464 Pa. 168, 195, 346 A.2d 269, 282 (1975) (plurality) (emphasis added). The requirement that an interest be "immediate" and not a remote consequence of the matter concerns "the nature of the causal connection between the action complained of and the injury to the person challenging it." Id. at 197, 346 A.2d at 283. The requirement of a "substantial" interest means that the interest must have substance—i.e., there must be some discernible adverse effect to some interest other than the abstract interest of all citizens in having others comply with the law. Id. at 195, 346 A.2d at 282.