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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN ...

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN ...

the DJA had it auctioned

the DJA had it auctioned all of the condominiums at once under one writ. See Tutino, 44 A.2d at 558 (indicating that judgment creditor can elect to execute against one tract of land or more than one tract at a given time). What Amalgamated did here—filing one praecipe for writs of execution and asking the Sheriff to auction all of the condominiums off serially in one auction proceeding—is functionally equivalent to executing against all of the condominiums via one writ and one request for bids. In both instances, the judgment-creditor’s intention to execute against all of the judgment-debtor’s collateral is obvious. If a judgment-creditor intends to execute against multiple pieces of a judgment-debtor’s property simultaneously, the number of writs of execution filed is irrelevant to the DJA analysis. Rimas’s argument that a judgment-creditor can never, in the absence of a deficiency judgment, prevail in two sales of a judgment-debtor’s property on the same day elevates form over substance in a way that the legislature that passed the DJA most assuredly would not countenance. The only difference from the judgment-debtor’s standpoint between executing against all of the condominiums via one writ and executing against them via multiple writs on the same day and at the same auction proceeding is that the latter increases the probability that a party other than the judgment-creditor will bid on and purchase some of the condominiums. Far more parties will be able to bid upon one condominium (or one bloc of condominiums) than could put in a serious bid on the entire condominium complex. The DJA should not be read so as to require a judgment-creditor to execute against loan collateral in such a way that the property executed against will be too large and expensive to draw third-party bids. To do so would be to render the sheriff’s sale process a charade, leading inevitably to a purchase by the judgmentcreditor for a nominal sum and a post-facto determination of value by a court. Furthermore, by making it less likely that outsiders will bid on the 10

seized collateral, Rimas’s interpretation of the DJA would make it more likely that courts, rather than markets, would be called upon to determine market prices. In contrast, Amalgamated’s reading of the statute would draw more bidders to sheriff’s auctions, thus making it more likely that judgment-debtors would see an immediate reduction in their debt and not have to submit to a slow, costly, and uncertain judicial determination of the property’s fair market value. Rimas’s interpretation of the statute would lead to absurd results. According to Rimas, if Amalgamated wanted to sell individual condominiums or blocs of condominiums, the appropriate procedure would be to sell one condominium or bloc of condominiums, then petition a court for a determination of the fair market value of the property it purchased, wait for the court to fix a value, apply that amount to reduce the judgment-debtor’s debt, and then start the process all over. Pennsylvania requires at least thirty days notice prior to a sheriff’s sale and provides twenty days to respond to a petition to fix the amount of the deficiency judgment. PA. R. CIV. P. 3129.2(b) & (c); PA. R. CIV. P. 3280(a). Rimas’s interpretation of the DJA would mean that only a few condominiums could be sold this way in a year and thus the sale at sheriff’s auction of individual condominiums from a building with many units could take decades. This Court presumes that the General Assembly of Pennsylvania did not intend by its legislation to create absurd results. 1 PA. CONS. STAT. § 1922(1). Common sense forecloses the absurd statutory reading Rimas requests. IV. CONCLUSION Based on a review of the statute and the history from which it arose, this Court holds that the DJA cannot operate to give Rimas the result they seek here. The DJA was designed to protect debtors against creditors’ attempts to extract extra payment from them, not to “provide loopholes to a mortgagor to escape an obligation assumed by him.” Catholic Women’s Benevolent Legion v. 11

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