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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ADAMS COUNTY (05/13/77)

decided: May 13, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, PLAINTIFF
v.
ADAMS COUNTY, HARRY F. BIESECKER, WARD D. TAYLOR, KENNETH E. GUISE, COMMISSIONERS, DEFENDANTS



Original jurisdiction in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare v. Adams County, Harry F. Biesecker, Ward D. Taylor, Kenneth E. Guise, Commissioners.

COUNSEL

Joseph M. Farrell, Assistant Attorney General, with him M. David Smeltz, Deputy Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for plaintiff.

John R. White, with him H. Thomas Pyle, and Pyle and Phillips, for defendant.

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

Author: Bowman

[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 165]

To a complaint in assumpsit by the Department of Public Welfare (Department) against defendants Adams County and three named commissioners (County), the defendants have filed preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer and a motion to strike.*fn1 In disposing of the preliminary objections we accept as true all properly pleaded allegations of material fact contained in the pleading to which the preliminary objections are addressed, as well as every inference

[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 166]

    fairly deducible therefrom and facts of which the court can take judicial notice. Township of Springdale v. Kane, 11 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 254, 312 A.2d 611 (1973); Commonwealth v. Toro Development Co., 2 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 429 (1971).

The material facts are as follows. In November, 1967, the outgoing Board of Commissioners of Adams County voted to participate in the Federal Food Stamp Program.*fn2 Three months later the vote was rescinded by the new Board of Commissioners.

On March 2, 1972, the Adams County Council of Community Services, a private organization acting without the consent or approval of the County, voluntarily assumed responsibility for fifty per cent of the administrative costs of the program as it would be operated in Adams County. Food stamp distribution was then started. On July 1, 1974, this source of funding dried up. The Department, nevertheless, continued distribution and began to send invoices to the County for fifty per cent of the administrative expenses. The Department continued sending invoices through the quarter ending March 31, 1976, when such liability for participating counties was terminated.*fn3 The amount in question, including interest exceeds $13,300. The County has refused to pay.

By these proceedings the Department seeks to recover that amount. Count one of its complaint is framed in terms of a statutory duty in the County to assume the liability in question. Count two is framed in quasi-contract. As we sustain the demurrer to both counts, we need not rule upon the motion to strike.

To dispose of the issues raised it is necessary to turn first to Section 1991 of ...


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