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GARY KENNETH SWARTZWELDER AND PATRICIA LOU SWARTZWELDER v. CALVIN C. EDMONDS (01/17/75)

decided: January 17, 1975.

GARY KENNETH SWARTZWELDER AND PATRICIA LOU SWARTZWELDER, HIS WIFE, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CALVIN C. EDMONDS, ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE DIVISION OF VITAL STATISTICS, DEFENDANT



Original jurisdiction in case of Gary Kenneth Swartzwelder and Patricia Lou Swartzwelder, his wife, v. Calvin C. Edmonds, Acting Director of the Division of Vital Statistics.

COUNSEL

Moses S. Baturin, with him Baturin & Baturin, for plaintiffs.

Jeffrey B. Schwartz, Chief Counsel, with him Israel Packel, Attorney General, for defendant.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 159]

Notwithstanding our decision in Jones v. Department of Health, 8 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 637, 305 A.2d 54 (1973), narrowly circumscribing our jurisdiction with respect to actions in mandamus brought against the Pennsylvania Department of Health to alter, amend or modify birth certificates, such causes of action continue to be filed in this Court and the Department continues its long standing practice of not answering or otherwise pleading to the complaint, which in turn produces a motion for summary judgment by plaintiff praying that the Court order the requested birth certificate correction.

As in Jones, we feel impelled to raise the issue of our jurisdiction so we may again speak to this subject, but unlike Jones, we must conclude that the Commonwealth Court is without jurisdiction in this case.

We said in Jones :

"The plaintiff brought this action of mandamus to correct a birth certificate. An action to correct a birth certificate is normally perfectly routine and is brought in the Orphans' Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas in the county where the plaintiff or petitioner resides. The problem presented here is that the plaintiff is a non-resident of Pennsylvania.

". . . this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to Section 401(a)(1) of the Appellate Court Jurisdiction Act, Act of July 31, 1970, P.L. 673, 17 P.S. ยง 211.401(a)(1), which confers on this Court original jurisdiction under these circumstances."

8 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. at 638-39, 305 A.2d at 55.

In this action, plaintiffs are residents of the Commonwealth and their right to seek judicial review of actions of the Department of Health taken with respect to such applications or to directly seek judicial determination of their entitlement to have a birth certificate ...


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