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MARKS v. BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY PENNSYLVANIA (03/16/73)

decided: March 16, 1973.

MARKS, APPELLANT,
v.
BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY OF PENNSYLVANIA



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County, Dec. T., 1972, No. 8, in case of Marc Lincoln Marks v. Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania, City of Sharon, Pennsylvania, Basil Scott and Daniel Gross.

COUNSEL

Herman M. Rodgers, with him Henry Sewinsky, and Rodgers, Marks & Perfilio, for appellant.

Jerome J. Shestack, with him Michael J. Mangan, John B. King, William M. Hebrank, and Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, for Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania, appellee.

John J. Regule, City Solicitor, for City of Sharon, appellee.

Stanford Shmukler, with him Frank Edward Roda, for Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, amicus curiae.

Barry J. Lipson, for American Civil Liberties Foundation of Pennsylvania, amicus curiae.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 450 Pa. Page 544]

On November 28, 1972, appellant, an attorney in and a resident of Sharon, Pennsylvania, filed a complaint in equity, seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages, against the City of Sharon, its Mayor (Basil Scott), its Chief of Police (Daniel Gross) and Bell Telephone Company. The basis of this complaint was appellant's allegation that the defendants, by continuously recording all incoming and outgoing telephone calls from the Sharon Police Department, without the consent of the non-police party, were unlawfully infringing upon appellant's rights as an attorney (as well as the rights of appellant's clients in the custody of the Sharon police) and as a private citizen residing within the City of Sharon.*fn1

On that same date, November 28, 1972, the trial court issued a rule to show cause why the defendants should not be enjoined. On November 30, defendants filed preliminary objections, and without allowing appellant Marks the right to offer evidence, the trial court denied appellant's request for a preliminary injunction. On December 1, appellant appealed to this Court, and on December 2, given the gravity and public importance of appellant's allegations, we remanded the matter to the trial court with instructions that an

[ 450 Pa. Page 545]

    evidentiary hearing be conducted forthwith and an adjudication made. In compliance with our order, the remand hearing was held on December 5.

After hearing two days of testimony, the trial court found the following facts: In October of 1972, the City of Sharon, with funds obtained from the Law Enforcement Assistance Agency and the Pennsylvania Justice Commission,*fn2 installed an automatic recording device (Dictaphone 4000), in the Sharon ...


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