New Castle News

Closer Look

August 29, 2013

City seeks appeal in McGaffic case

NEW CASTLE — The city of New Castle is seeking an appeal of a Commonwealth Court ruling regarding a downtown property.

A petition for allowance of appeal was filed with the state Supreme Court last week by the city’s counsel, attorney Samuel Kamin of Pittsburgh. The state Supreme Court does not hear all appeals automatically. A party in a case must request an appeal, which the court may or may not grant.

Last month, in a 4-3 decision, Commonwealth Court ruled that Robert W. McGaffic and George Love have standing to recover payment for a breach of contract concerning the former Centennial Building.

The property at the corner of East Washington and Mill streets is now part of Cascade Center at the Riverplex.

Senior Judge Michael J. Wherry, in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court, had dismissed their claim that the city had breached a contract relating to a 1977 “closeout agreement” between the city and the New Castle Redevelopment Authority.

McGaffic and Love, the previous owners of the building, had appealed to Commonwealth Court Wherry’s ruling that they had not presented sufficient evidence that would give them standing.

The contract states the city would assume debts and liabilities of the redevelopment authority. The case before Wherry was whether the plaintiffs were intended beneficiaries of that agreement.

In the city’s petition, Kamin essentially argues the majority opinion of Commonwealth Court departs from law established previously by the state Supreme and Superior courts and Commonwealth Court.

(Email: jmanna@ncnewsonline.com)

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