On March 8, 2017, John Summers, Chair of Hangley Aronchick’s Litigation Department, argued a real estate tax case in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on behalf of a major apartment building developer.

The case, Valley Forge Towers Apartments N. LP et al v. Upper Merion Area School District et al., is a constitutional challenge under the Uniformity Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution and the first of its kind before the Supreme Court.

The challenge is that the Upper Merion Area School District’s practice of appealing the assessments of large commercial properties, such as apartment buildings, but not appealing the assessments of other types of property, such as single family homes that are under-assessed, violates the Uniformity Clause.

Summers argued that the School District’s practice discriminates against commercial property owners because it creates a higher effective tax rate on commercial property than residential property, which violates the Uniformity Clause’s requirement that all property be treated in a uniform manner.

This case has garnered great interest throughout the Commonwealth as groups representing a wide range of business interests, apartment owners, economists, and school districts filed 13 amici briefs.  A decision is expected later this year.

Summers was joined in this case by his colleagues Mark Aronchick, Matt Hamermesh, and Jon Cochran.

Read the Appellants’ Brief.

Read the Appellees’ Brief.

Read the Appellants’ Reply Brief.