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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. NICHOLAS CORMAS (09/21/77)

decided: September 21, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY, APPELLANT
v.
NICHOLAS CORMAS, T/D/B/A FRANKSTOWN AUTO ALIGNMENT, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Nicholas Cormas, trading and doing business as Frankstown Auto Alignment v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety, No. SA 739 of 1974.

COUNSEL

John L. Heaton, Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellant.

Charles Caputo and Michael W. Zurat, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Judge Kramer did not participate in the decision. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge Kramer did not participate in the decision in this case. See Pa. R.a.p. 3102(d).

Author: Crumlish

[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 2]

This is an appeal by the Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety (Bureau) from an order of the court of common pleas setting aside the Bureau's suspension of the Certificate of Appointment of Official Inspection Station #7382, held by Nicholas Cormas, t/d/b/a Frankstown Auto Alignment (Appellee). We reverse.

On August 15, 1974, a Pennsylvania state trooper observed Appellee placing an inspection sticker on an automobile parked outside the area of Appellee's establishment

[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 3]

    designated for inspections, namely, the garage itself. Upon inquiry by the trooper, Appellee admitted that the vehicle had not been inspected. Subsequently, he was notified that he was charged with "violation of Section 819(f) of the Vehicle Code for performing a faulty inspection" and that he had a right to a departmental hearing. Appellee returned the notice with the indication that he would not attend such a hearing. On October 2, Appellee was notified that his inspection privileges were suspended effective that day, "for a period of six (6) months, for violation of Section 819(f) of the Vehicle Code, for faulty inspection." At the same time his certificate and unused inspection stickers were confiscated.

Section 819(f)*fn1 states, in pertinent part:

(f) It shall be unlawful for any person to furnish, give or sell to any owner or operator of a motor vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer, or to any other person, or to place in or on any such vehicle a certificate of inspection and approval, unless an official inspection of its mechanism and equipment shall have been made, and the vehicle conforms with the provisions of this act.

Appellee appealed to the court of common pleas, which granted him a supersedeas; as a result, his inspection certificate was returned to him on or about November 6, approximately five weeks after it was lifted. After a hearing de novo, the court found Appellee "not guilty," sustained his appeal, and set aside the suspension. The court reasoned that the Official Inspection Station Instruction Manual*fn2 prescribed a ...


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