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DORRIS v. LLOYD (NO. 1) (11/24/53)

November 24, 1953

DORRIS, APPELLANT,
v.
LLOYD (NO. 1)



Appeal, No. 263, Jan. T., 1953, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, May T., 1953, No. 86, in case of John L. Dorris, M.D. v. Robert Lloyd, Herman C. Kersteen and Edward M. Carroll, County Commissioners, etc. Judgment affirmed; reargument refused January 6, 1954.

COUNSEL

James Lenahan Brown, with him Joseph V. Kasper, for appellant.

R. Lawrence Coughlin, County Solicitor, with him Donald S. Mills, Assistant County Solicitor, for appellees.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Stern

[ 375 Pa. Page 475]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE HORACE STERN

The court below correctly decided that plaintiff had no legal standing to institute these proceedings

The action is one of mandamus. Plaintiff, Dr. John L. Dorris, filed a complaint in his capacity as County Chairman of the Democratic Party, but averred that he was proceeding also on behalf of the Democratic candidates who ran for office on the Democratic ticket

[ 375 Pa. Page 476]

    in 1952, State and National, and by and on behalf of the Democratic candidates who will aspire for office on the Democratic ticket in 1953, State and Local, and by and on behalf of the Democratic party of Luzerne County. The defendants are the County Commissioners of Luzerne County acting as the Registration Commission and as the Board of Elections of Luzerne County.

In substance the complaint avers that defendants have neglected and wilfully refused to perform the duties imposed upon them by law, more especially those provided in the Act of June 3, 1937, P.L. 1333, Art. III, Sec. 302 (g) as follows: "To instruct election officers in their duties, calling them together in meeting whenever deemed advisable, and to inspect systematically and thoroughly the conduct of primaries and elections in the several election districts of the county to the end that primaries and elections may be honestly, efficiently, and uniformly conducted." And (i): "To investigate election frauds, irregularities and violations of this act, and to report all suspicious circumstances to the district attorney."

The complaint detailed some alleged instances in which defendants did not perform these duties, and it prayed that they be commanded to abide by and comply with the laws of the State of Pennsylvania and to carry out the duties of inspection, investigation and report set forth in the portions of the act above quoted. Defendants moved to strike off the complaint, and the court, treating this motion as in the nature of preliminary objections, entered judgment in favor of the defendants, from which order plaintiff now appeals.

The Mandamus Act of June 8, 1893, P.L. 345, Section 3, provides that "The writ of mandamus may issue upon the ...


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