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AIRPORT INN v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/30/73)

decided: October 30, 1973.

AIRPORT INN, ET AL., APPELLANTS,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD, APPELLEE



Appeal from the decision of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board in case of In Re: Claims of Airport Inn, Adelphia Hotel, et al., January 29, 1973.

COUNSEL

Edward L. Edelstein, with him Donald F. Sileo, Jeffrey B. Albert and Goodis, Greenfield, Henry, Shaiman & Levin, for appellants.

J. Leonard Langan, Assistant Attorney General, with him Israel Packel, Attorney General, for appellee.

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

Author: Rogers

[ 10 Pa. Commw. Page 363]

Thirty-two hotels and restaurants and one natural person, individually and in behalf of all purchasers of wine from Pennsylvania Liquor Stores, similarly situated, made written claim for money upon the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. They contended that the Board's imposition from 1955 until 1972 of a markup of fifty-eight per cent on the prices of wines sold in state stores, while imposing a markup of only forty-eight per cent on distilled spirits, was excessive, discriminatory, and illegal and that they and their constituents were entitled to refunds. The Board replied in writing that the claims "are not valid and cannot be recognized by us." The claimants appealed the Board's

[ 10 Pa. Commw. Page 364]

    answer to their claim to us. The Board has filed a motion to quash the appeal on jurisdictional grounds.

The claimants have misapprehended their remedy and the appeal must be quashed. The Commonwealth may be sued only "in such manner, in such courts and in such cases as the Legislature may by law direct." Pennsylvania Constitution Article I, Section 11. The Legislature has not directed that claims for refunds on account of alleged, but not admitted, illegal charges for merchandise purchased from state stores may be prosecuted in the manner the claimants have here adopted. The only authority advanced by the claimants in support of their proposition that the Liquor Control Board's disapproval of their claims is an adjudication*fn1 appealable to this Court*fn2 is subsection (j) of Section 1 of the Act of December 20, 1933, 1933-34 Sp. Session, P.L. 89, 47 P.S. ยง 744-907(j). That Act appropriates to the Liquor Control Board as much moneys in the State Store Fund as is necessary for the Board's work "in establishing, maintaining, and operating Pennsylvania Liquor Stores, warehousing and testing liquor, issuing liquor licenses to hotels, restaurants, clubs, and public service companies, and otherwise administering and enforcing the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Act, as follows:

"(a) For the payment of salaries . . .

"(b) For the purchase . . . of furniture . . . [and] supplies . . .

"(c) For the purchase of automobiles . . .

"(d) For the purchase of ...


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