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ALTO-RESTE PARK CEMETERY ASSOCIATION v. PENNSYLVANIA HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION (12/11/72)

decided: December 11, 1972.

ALTO-RESTE PARK CEMETERY ASSOCIATION
v.
PENNSYLVANIA HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission in case of Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission v. Alto-Reste Park Cemetery Association, No. P-623.

COUNSEL

Robert J. Woodside, with him Shearer, Mette, Hoerner & Woodside, James W. Nelson, and Nelson, Campbell & Levine, for appellant.

Robert S. Englesberg, Assistant General Counsel, with him J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Rogers. Judge Blatt did not participate. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 7 Pa. Commw. Page 205]

Alto-Reste Park Cemetery Association (Alto-Reste) appeals an Amended Final Order of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (Commission) dated March 20, 1972 which directed Alto-Reste to take affirmative action in redress of certain violations of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, Act of October 27, 1955, P.L. 744, §§ 1 et seq., as amended, 43 P.S. §§ 951 et seq.

The widow of Doctor George A. Walker, a black dentist, sought to inter his remains in Alto-Reste. Alto-Reste refused citing a restrictive covenant and resisted acknowledgment of the jurisdiction of the Commission arguing that a cemetery was not a "place of public accommodations". Nonetheless, the Commission, in April of 1970, issued a Final Order which directed Alto-Reste to take clearly defined steps to remedy the alleged violation.

In May of 1970, Alto-Reste filed an appeal from that order again contending that the Commission did not have jurisdiction over it because the cemetery was not a "place of public accommodation" and that some provisions of the order exceeded the Commission's delegated authority. The Legislature subsequently amended the act so as to include non-sectarian cemeteries within the jurisdiction of the Commission.*fn1 Counsel for both parties seeking to terminate litigation then began negotiations which they hoped would result in a compromise order. Eventually they reached an agreement.

After some considerable delay, counsel for Alto-Reste was notified on March 21, 1972 that counsel for the Commission was not authorized to enter into an

[ 7 Pa. Commw. Page 206]

    agreement which would amend the original order and bind the Commission. Also enclosed was the Commission's Amended Final Order which is the subject of this appeal.

Alto-Reste contends (1) that the Commission is bound by the modified agreement reached by counsel, and (2) that several provisions of the Amended Final Order exceed the ...


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