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Law School Case Brief

Tioga Coal Co. v. Supermarkets Gen. Corp. - 403 Pa. Super. 391, 589 A.2d 242 (1991)

Rule:

Issues decided by an appellate court on a prior appeal between the same parties become the law of the case and will not be reconsidered on second appeal.

Facts:

A retailer brought an action in equity against defendant supermarket seeking title by adverse possession to certain land located within the boundaries of defendant's property and adjacent to plaintiff's property. The trial court decreed that plaintiff was the owner by adverse possession but did not award money damages to plaintiff for defendant's use of the property during the 12-year litigation period. Both parties appealed. 

Issue:

Was the retailer entitled to money damages?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

The court affirmed the trial court's order decreeing that plaintiff retailer acquired ownership to a strip of land through adverse possession but denying plaintiff monetary damages for defendant's use of the property because such use did not interfere with plaintiff's use. The court found that plaintiff was not entitled to money damages because its use of the property was in no way hindered by defendant, and because defendant's use of the property took place under the belief that its title to the property was good and proper. The court further stated that since the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had previously found that plaintiff had established all the elements of adverse possession. Accordingly, the law of the case doctrine precluded the court from reconsidering the same issues brought by defendant on a second appeal. The court also found that the trial court did err in its legal description of the property.

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