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DELAWARE RIVER JOINT TOLL BRIDGE COMMISSION v. CARVER (05/04/60)

May 4, 1960

DELAWARE RIVER JOINT TOLL BRIDGE COMMISSION
v.
CARVER, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 60, Jan. T., 1960, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, March T., 1957, No. 150, in case of Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission v. R. Chapman Carver. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Frank B. Murdoch, with him John Justus Bodley, and Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, for appellant.

Robert W. Valimont, with him James C. Bowen, and Bowen & Valimont, for appellee.

Before Jones, C. J., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Bok and Eagen, JJ.

Author: Eagen

[ 399 Pa. Page 546]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE EAGEN.

Appellant was appointed to membership on the appellee Commission on June 4, 1943, by the then Pennsylvania Governor, Edward Martin. He served as a Commissioner from that date until June, 1955, without receiving any compensation for services rendered in that position. On December 12, 1947, the members of the Commission, ten in number, elected him to serve as a member of the Executive Committee, which was part of the active operating administration of the Commission. The Executive Committee, six in number, consisted entirely of members of the Commission. Beginning in February, 1948, he was compensated, as a member of said committee, through and including June, 1955, for "extra services" allegedly performed by him, as follows: $1,100 for 1948; $1,800 for 1949 and 1950, each; $3,600 for 1951 in equal amounts from the "Revenue Fund" and the "Construction Fund"; $4,500 for 1952 paid in amounts of $1,800 and $2,700, respectively, from the same two funds; the same amount in the years 1953 and 1954 paid entirely from the "Revenue Fund"; and, $2,250 from the same source for the months of January through June, 1955.

The instant suit, in assumpsit, was instituted on April 12, 1957, by the appellee Commission in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County for the recovery of $24,050, representing the total sum paid as

[ 399 Pa. Page 547]

    above, alleging that this money was illegally paid to appellant by the Commission and praying for judgment against him in this amount with interest and costs. Judgment on the pleadings was entered by the court below on September 4, 1959, in favor of the Commission for the amount sought with interest from April 12, 1957. Carver appealed.

Payment to him of these moneys is conceded by appellant, who avers said remuneration to have been fair and reasonable, duly authorized and rightfully paid, claiming to have been paid not by appellee, but by the trustee for the bondholders, The First-Mechanics National Bank of Trenton.

Appellee asserts Mr. Carver to have been a "public officer" and, as such, not entitled to compensation unless authorized by statute, ordinance or specific agreement: Rothrock v. Easton School District, 133 Pa. 487, 19 Atl. 483 (1890); Dorsett v. Tioga County, 228 Pa. 628, 77 Atl. 1016 (1910); Benson v. Bradford County, 125 Pa. Superior Ct. 209, 189 Atl. 577, affirmed in 326 Pa. 454, 192 Atl. 650 (1937); McKean County v. Young, 11 Pa. Superior Ct. 481 (1899); Commonwealth ex rel. v. Gingrich, 21 Pa. Superior Ct. 286 (1902); Fry v. Berks County, 38 Pa. Superior Ct. 449 (1909). Appellant likens appellee to a multi-state private corporation and denies that it was or is a public corporation and that he was a public officer within the meaning of the rule supported by the above-cited cases.

The appellee is a public corporation: Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission v. Miller and Carver, 147 F. Supp. 270 (E.D. Pa. 1956); Souder v. Philadelphia Police Pension Fund Assn., 344 Pa. 286, 25 A.2d 191 (1942); Henderson v. Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission et al., 362 Pa. 475, 66 A.2d 843 (1949). In the Henderson case, Mr. Justice JONES (now ...


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