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CITY PHILADELPHIA v. SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (12/09/70)

decided: December 9, 1970.

CITY OF PHILADELPHIA
v.
SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY



Appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Trial Division, August Term, 1970, No. 4153, in case of The City of Philadelphia v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. Motion to quash appeal denied November 25, 1970, per curiam.

COUNSEL

Lewis H. Van Dusen, Jr., with him, R. Philip Steinberg and Drinker, Biddle & Heath, for appellant.

Matthew W. Bullock, Jr., First Deputy City Solicitor, with him, Levy Anderson, City Solicitor, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman, and Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Manderino, Mencer and Barbieri. Judge Crumlish, Jr., disqualified himself and did not participate in the argument or decision. Opinion by Judge Kramer.

Author: Kramer

[ 1 Pa. Commw. Page 103]

Memorandum Decision and Order:

This case is an appeal by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) from an Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County dated September 25, 1970, remanding the matter to SEPTA for action not inconsistent with the finding of the Court as set forth in its opinion of that same date.

Because the magnitude of the financial problems of SEPTA directly affect the statutorily declared policy of the Commonwealth (66 P.S. 2202) to promote the public safety and welfare, and because this Court deems it imperative to promptly rule on the issues before it so that the Authority (SEPTA) may carry out as soon as

[ 1 Pa. Commw. Page 104]

    possible its duties and responsibilities for the benefit of all citizens using its facilities, it is hereby declared to be the decision of this Court to reverse the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County dated September 25, 1970.

An opinion of this Court will be filed as soon as possible. Order reversed. Per Curiam. Dated November 25, 1970. Signed: Harry A. Kramer, J.

Opinion BY JUDGE KRAMER, December 9, 1970.

This case involves an appeal by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) from an Order of the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia dated September 25, 1970, which sustained an appeal of the City of Philadelphia (City) and remanded the matter back to SEPTA for action not inconsistent with the findings of the Court as set forth in its Opinion of that same date. In summary, the lower court found that SEPTA had committed a manifest and flagrant abuse of discretion in failing to honor its contractual obligations to the City in the filing of a plan on how SEPTA was to meet its rental payments to the City, and an error of law in the SEPTA Board overriding a veto of the two City board members, by calling a special board meeting instead of waiting for a regular board meeting.

As an aid in better understanding the history of this case, we set forth the following chronology of pertinent events:

Date Description

September 27, 1968, Lease and leaseback agreement be-

     tween SEPTA and the City of Philadelphia.

November 26, 1969, Operating budget of SEPTA indi-

     cating deficit submitted to SEPTA Board.

January 20, 1970, Letter from City Managing Director

(Corleto) to the Chairman (McConnon) of

SEPTA, calling attention to (1) the deficit, and

(2) the provisions of an agreement with the City

     of Philadelphia calling for a plan to pay the fixed

     and additional rent due to the City, and making

     inquiry on what action SEPTA would take.

March 12, 1970, Letter from McConnon to Corleto, an-

     swering letter of January 20, 1970, above.

June 24, 1970, Tariff No. 1, supplement No. 3, which

     contained the proposed increased fares at issue in

     this case was first submitted to the SEPTA Board.

July 6, 1970, Letter from Chief Counsel of SEPTA

(Van Dusen) to First Deputy City Solicitor (Bul-

     lock) enclosing a copy of the proposed tariff

     changes and statement on effect ...


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