Original jurisdiction in case of Kenneth W. Richmond v. Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.
Lawrence Silver, for petitioner.
John D. Killian, with him Killian & Gephart, for respondent.
Judges Kramer, Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
On May 22, 1969, petitioner Kenneth W. Richmond (Richmond) filed an application with respondent Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) for scholarship aid. PHEAA denied such aid to Richmond, and he appealed such denial according to PHEAA regulations. After a hearing concerning the matter on July 30, 1971, the PHEAA Hearing Examiner recommended that Richmond be granted full
scholarship aid retroactive to May 22, 1969. PHEAA subsequently accepted this recommendation.
Counsel for Richmond then demanded of PHEAA costs of $275.00 for the hearing transcript and $50.00 for the transporting of Richmond, his counsel, and witnesses to Harrisburg, for the hearing. Counsel for PHEAA replied to this request that "the Board of Directors took formal action to deny the request." Richmond then filed a Petition for Assignment of Costs with this Court. PHEAA timely filed preliminary objections to this petition challenging the jurisdiction of this Court, the sufficiency of the claim for relief, the form of the verification of the petition, and the specificity of the allegations of damages.
This action is properly within our original jurisdiction pursuant to Section 401(a)(1) of the Appellate Court Jurisdiction Act of 1970, Act of July 31, 1970, P.L. , No. 223, § 401, 17 P.S. § 211.401(a)(1), which states, in pertinent part, "The Commonwealth Court shall have original jurisdiction of: (1) All civil actions or proceedings against the Commonwealth . . . ." Section 102(a)(2) of the same Act, 17 P.S. § 211.102(a)(2), defines "Commonwealth" as including "departments, departmental administrative boards and commissions, officers, independent boards or commissions, authorities and other agencies of this Commonwealth. . . ." (Emphasis added.) PHEAA is such an agency.
We conclude that the petition must be dismissed. The right to impose or recover costs in a proceeding based on a statute must be found in the statute; otherwise it does not exist. Morganroth's Election Contest Case, 346 Pa. 327, 29 A.2d 502 (1943); Scott Township Appeal, 186 Pa. Superior Ct. 167, 142 A.2d 357 (1958); see also 2 F. Pollock & F. Maitland, The History of English Law 597 (2d ed. 1898). No such authorization in this type of proceeding is contained in
the Act of August 7, 1963, P.L. 549, 24 P.S. § 5101 et seq., which created the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. Nor have we found or been referred ...