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GEORGE FUSARO AND RICHARD PASSARELLA v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION (02/22/78)

decided: February 22, 1978.

GEORGE FUSARO AND RICHARD PASSARELLA, T/A CYNWYD TAXI SERVICE, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission v. Cynwyd Taxi Service (George Fusaro and Richard Passarella, t/a Cynwyd Taxi Service), Complaint Docket Nos. 21839, 21843, 21848, 21957, 21958 and 21883.

COUNSEL

Emanuel G. Weiss, for appellant.

William G. Cohen, Assistant Counsel, with him George M. Kashi, Assistant Counsel, and Barnett Satinsky, Chief Counsel, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 34 Pa. Commw. Page 16]

George Fusaro and Richard Passarella, trading as Cynwyd Taxi Service (Appellants) appeal from an order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission which suspended their certificate of public convenience. In July, August and September of 1976, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) filed and sent by registered mail, six separate complaints charging the Appellants with various violations of the Public Utility Law*fn1 (Act) and PUC regulations in the conduct of their taxi business. Each of these complaints contained a notice that, if the complaint was not answered within twenty days, the allegations therein would be deemed admitted and the PUC could then issue an appropriate order. No answer or any other pleading was filed by the Appellants, but, without further notice of any kind and without any hearing, the PUC sustained the complaints on November 18, 1976 and suspended the Appellants' certificate of public convenience for thirty days. The Appellants appealed to this Court and a supersedeas was granted pending disposition of the appeal.

We may not disturb an order of the PUC in whole or in part, except for error of law, lack of substantial evidence to support the PUC's findings, determination or order, or a violation of constitutional rights. Stiteler v. Bell Telephone Co., 32 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 319, 379 A.2d 339 (1977).

The Appellants argue that they were not given the procedural protection of proper notice, as required by the Act, which provides that complaints must be "accompanied by a notice from the commission calling upon such person . . . to satisfy the complaint, or to answer the same in writing, within such reasonable

[ 34 Pa. Commw. Page 17]

    time as may be specified by the commission in such notice."*fn2 66 P.S. § 1392. The applicable rules*fn3 require

[ 34 Pa. Commw. Page 18]

    answers to be filed within twenty days and also provide that "[a]ny respondent failing to file an answer within the applicable period shall ...


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