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PUROLATOR SECURITY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/17/77)

decided: October 17, 1977.

PUROLATOR SECURITY, INC., APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION: WFB, INC., INTERVENING APPELLEE. BRINK'S, INCORPORATED, APPELLANT V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION: WFB, INC., INTERVENING APPELLEE



Appeals from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Brinks, Inc. and Protective Motor Service Company/Purolator Security, Inc., No. C-20476, dated April 7, 1976.

COUNSEL

James W. Patterson, with him, of counsel, Harper, George, Buchanan & Driver, for appellant, Purolator Security, Inc.

Herbert R. Nurick, with him, of counsel, McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for appellant, Brink's, Inc.

Joseph J. Malatesta, Jr., Assistant Counsel, with him William T. Hawke, Assistant Counsel, and Edward J. Morris, Counsel, for appellee.

William M. Barnes, with him Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, for intervening appellee.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Blatt. President Judge Bowman dissents. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Blatt

[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 177]

Purolator Security, Inc. and Brinks, Incorporated (appellants) have each appealed from an order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) which held that WFB, Inc.'s (intervening appellee) activities had been within the scope of its certificated authority. These appeals have been consolidated.

In 1951, Ray Slater applied for, and after a hearing, was granted, a certificate of public convenience*fn1 which authorized him:

To transport, as a Class B carrier, property between points in the city and county of Philadelphia. (Emphasis added.)

[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 178]

In 1972, the Slater certificate was purchased by L & E Transportation Company, which transferred the certificate to WFB in 1974. When WFB began operating an armored transportation service, the appellants filed complaints with the PUC alleging that such a service was beyond the scope of the certificate of authority then held by WFB. The PUC dismissed the appellants' complaints and this appeal followed.

Our scope of review here is limited by Section 1107 of the Public Utility Law,*fn2 66 P.S. ยง 1437, which provides, inter alia, as follows:

The order of the commission shall not be vacated or set aside, either in whole or in part, except for error of law or lack of evidence to support the finding, determination, or order of the commission, or violation of constitutional rights.

In W.J. Dillner Transfer Co. v. Public Utility Commission, 175 Pa. Superior Ct. 461, 467, 107 A.2d 159, 162 (1954), it was held that

     the Commission, as an administrative agency, is peculiarly fitted to interpret its own orders, especially where the question raised concerns the extent and limit of transportation rights granted a carrier under a certificate issued by the Commission. In recognition of this principle a court will not set aside a construction placed upon its own orders by an administrative agency unless the result is clearly erroneous, arbitrary, and unsupported by evidence. (Citations omitted.)

Accord, T.M. Zimmerman Co. v. Public Utility Commission, 195 Pa. Superior Ct. 77, 169 A.2d 322 (1961).

Where, as here, the PUC is required to determine the extent of the authority granted in a certificate of

[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 179]

    public convenience, "the type of service contemplated at the time of the original application is a significant consideration." Ferry v. Public Utility Commission, 192 Pa. Superior Ct. 331, 336, 162 A.2d 266, 269 (1960) (citations omitted); accord, T.M. Zimmerman Co., supra.

At the hearing held on his application for a certificate of public convenience in 1951, Slater testified, in part, as follows:

Q. What type of special service are you presently rendering and do you propose to render in the ...


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