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PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION ET AL. v. ALLEGHENY COUNTY PORT AUTHORITY (04/23/69)

decided: April 23, 1969.

PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION ET AL., APPELLANTS,
v.
ALLEGHENY COUNTY PORT AUTHORITY



Appeals from order of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, No. 2813 Equity Docket, 1967, in case of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission et al. v. Port Authority of Allegheny County.

COUNSEL

Anthony L. Marino, Assistant Counsel, with him Joseph C. Bruno, Chief Counsel, for Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, appellant.

James H. Booser, with him Harry H. Frank, and McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for intervenor, appellant.

Robert M. Brown, with him Henry W. Rhoads, Charles B. Zwally, and Burgwin, Ruffin, Perry, Pohl & Springer, and Rhoads, Sinon & Reader, for port authority, appellee.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts.

Author: O'brien

[ 433 Pa. Page 49788]

Transit Lines, Inc., has applied to the Public Utility Commission for group and party bus transportation rights. The rights applied for contemplate the origination of service in Allegheny County to other points in Pennsylvania. The Port Authority of Allegheny County, when given notice of a hearing on 88 Transit Lines' application, invoked the provisions of § 1111 of the Public Utility Code, Act of May 28, 1937,

[ 433 Pa. Page 498]

P. L. 1053, 66 P.S. § 1441, and filed a petition in equity, seeking to restrain the Commission from holding hearings or otherwise proceeding on 88 Transit Lines' application, prior to a determination of the Commission's jurisdiction of the application.*fn1

The Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, in accordance with the Prayer of the petition, granted a preliminary injunction restraining the Commission, and the Commission appealed.*fn2 We granted leave to 88 Transit to intervene as an appellant. After the case was first argued, this Court granted reargument to consider, among other things, whether it was necessary to quash the appeal. On the issue of quashing, we conclude that the appeal is properly before us, that the procedures in § 1101 et seq. of the Public Utility Code by their very language apply only to appeals from

[ 433 Pa. Page 499]

    the Commission to the Superior Court and not to appeals from the Dauphin County Court to this Court. We turn now to the main issue in the case.

It has long been the rule in this Court that on an appeal from a decree, whether granting or denying a preliminary injunction, we will not inquire into the merits of the controversy, but will, instead, examine the record only to determine if there were any apparently reasonable grounds for the action of the court below. Albee Homes, Inc. v. Caddie Homes, Inc., 417 Pa. 177, 207 A.2d 768 (1965) and cases cited therein. Moreover, we will not "pass upon the reasons for or against such action unless it is plain that no such grounds existed or that the rules of law relied on are palpably wrong or clearly not applicable." United Nat. Gas Co. v. Wagner, 417 Pa. 456, 208 A.2d 843 (1965) and cases cited therein. See also: City L.O.H., Inc. v. Hotel, M. & C.E. Union, 413 Pa. 420, 197 A.2d 614 (1964). With this standard of review in mind, we have examined the record and have determined that there were, in fact, apparently reasonable grounds for the action of the court below. Nor can we say that the court below has misconstrued or misapplied the law. In essence, the controversy involves the jurisdiction of the Commission to entertain the application of 88 Transit. Section 1111 of the Code provides: "No injunction shall issue modifying, suspending, staying, or annuling, any Order of the Commission, or of a Commissioner, except in a proceeding questioning the jurisdiction of the ...


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