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PENNSYLVANIA HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION v. MARIAN AND LEWIS STRAW (05/08/78)

decided: May 8, 1978.

PENNSYLVANIA HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION, APPELLANT,
v.
MARIAN AND LEWIS STRAW



No. 31 May Term, 1974, Appeal from the decision of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania at No. 16 C.D. 1973, Modifying the Order of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission dated December 20, 1972 at Docket No. H-1573.

COUNSEL

Sanford Kahn, Pa. Human Relations Com., Harrisburg, for appellant.

Walter W. Wilt, Harrisburg, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Pomeroy, Roberts, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Roberts, J., filed a Dissenting Opinion in which Nix, J., joins. Manderino, J., filed a Dissenting Opinion.

Author: Larsen

[ 478 Pa. Page 464]

OPINION OF THE COURT

On July 15, 1971, Deborah J. Wilson filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission charging that Marian and Lewis Straw had refused to rent her an apartment because of her race. Pursuant to the procedures

[ 478 Pa. Page 465]

    set forth in the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act,*fn1 the Commission found that the Straws had unlawfully discriminated against Wilson and ordered the Straws to, among other things, pay Wilson $3,500.00 in order to compensate her for the mental anguish, humiliation, inconvenience and disruption of normal family life. The Straws appealed the Commission's order to Commonwealth Court, which in an opinion written by Judge Harry A. Kramer and filed on August 14, 1973, held that the Commission had no authority to order that compensatory damages be paid.*fn2 A petition for allowance of appeal to this Court was then filed by the Commission and granted on October 18, 1973.

The Commission raises only the issue of whether it has the authority to order that damages be paid for mental anguish, humiliation, inconvenience and disruption of normal family life suffered as a result of the Straws' unlawful discrimination. In the case of Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission v. Zamantakis, 478 Pa. 454, 387 A.2d 70 (1978), we held that our Legislature has not conferred such authority upon the Commission.

Order affirmed.

MANDERINO, Justice, dissenting.

I dissent. I cannot agree with the majority that the Commission has no authority to award compensatory damages when such damages have been ...


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