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MARHOEFER v. HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION (12/31/71)

decided: December 31, 1971.

MARHOEFER, ET AL.
v.
HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, ex rel. Elizabeth Harris v. G. L. Marhoefer d/b/a Marhoefer Realty and David Stoehr, No. 1143.

COUNSEL

Gerald Lesher, with him Baskin, Boreman, Wilner, Sachs, Gondelman & Craig, for appellants.

Stanton W. Kratzok, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Kramer, Manderino and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Manderino.

Author: Manderino

[ 4 Pa. Commw. Page 243]

This is an appeal from a decision of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission which found that the appellants, G. L. Marhoefer d/b/a Marhoefer Realty and David Stoehr, had committed an unlawful discriminatory practice in violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

On August 14, 1968, a white tester, Jean Kloseck, went to the Baldwin Court Apartments and inquired about renting an apartment. She spoke with an unidentified woman. Later that same day, Elizabeth Harris, a Negro, went to the Baldwin Court Apartments and inquired about renting an apartment. She spoke with David Stoehr.

The alleged unlawful discriminatory practice occurred when Elizabeth Harris spoke with David Stoehr.

The question for determination in this case is whether or not Elizabeth Harris has been discriminated against by G. L. Marhoefer d/b/a Marhoefer Realty and David Stoehr because of her race. While the Human Relations Commission found that such discrimination had taken place, we do not agree.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (Act of October 27, 1955, P.L. 744, as amended, 43 P.S. 951 et seq.) lists certain unlawful discriminatory practices. Section 5 of that Act (43 P.S. 955(h)(1)) provides that it shall be unlawful discriminatory practice for any person to: "Refuse to sell, lease, finance or otherwise to deny or withhold commercial housing from any person because of the race, color . . . or any prospective owner, occupant or user of such commercial housing. . . ." This section was the basis for the Human Relations Commission determination that Elizabeth Harris had

[ 4 Pa. Commw. Page 244]

    been discriminated against by Marhoefer Realty and David Stoehr. However, the evidence in this case simply will not support the determination that an unlawful discriminatory practice in violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act occurred. The Commission, in its determination that a violation occurred, made several findings of fact. The two key findings, labeled Finding Numbers 6 and 7 are as follows:

"6. On August 14, 1968, at about 12:30 P.M., Mrs. Jean Kloseck, Caucasian, a tester for South Hills Association for Racial Equality, at Respondent Marhoefer's rental office at Baldwin Court Apartments requested ...


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