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CITY PITTSBURGH COMMISSION ON HUMAN RELATIONS v. LOUIS MACBETH (09/22/78)

decided: September 22, 1978.

CITY OF PITTSBURGH COMMISSION ON HUMAN RELATIONS, APPELLANT
v.
LOUIS MACBETH, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of City of Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations v. Louis MacBeth, No. S.A. 1361 of 1976.

COUNSEL

Thomas D. MacMullan, for appellant.

No brief or appearance for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Judge DiSalle did not participate. Opinion by President Judge Bowman. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Bowman

[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 637]

The sole issue in this appeal is whether appellant, City of Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations (Commission), has authority under Section 13(i) of the Pittsburgh Human Relations Ordinance (Pittsburgh

[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 638]

Ordinance) to order a respondent adjudged to have committed a discriminatory act to pay the attorney's fees of the successful complainant.

September 8, 1976, the Commission ordered Louis MacBeth, appellee, to cease and desist from discriminating on the basis of race in connection with rental housing accommodations in Pittsburgh. Additionally, MacBeth was ordered to prepare and file with appellant an affirmative action program. It was further ordered that MacBeth compensate Ann A. Simms, the complainant before the Commission, "the sum of Three Hundred Forty ($340.00) Dollars for any legal expense incurred by her by retaining [her] Attorney . . . to represent her in these proceedings."

MacBeth appealed the Commission's order to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. That court, finding substantial evidence to support the Commission's finding that appellee had violated the housing rental provisions of the Pittsburgh Ordinance, dismissed MacBeth's appeal as to the cease and desist order and affirmative action program, but, concluding that the Commission acted without authority in awarding attorney's fees, sustained MacBeth's appeal as to said award. Hence this appeal by the Commission. We affirm.

The Commission was created in 1967 when the city council of Pittsburgh, acting pursuant to the authority granted to it by Section 12.1(a) of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (Act),*fn1 43 P.S. § 962.1(a), enacted, and the mayor approved, the Pittsburgh Ordinance. Subsection (d) of Section 12.1 of the Act, 43 P.S. § 962.1(d), provides that, in creating a local human relations commission, the legislative body of the political subdivision may grant to the local commission

[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 639]

"powers and duties similar to those now exercised by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission under the provisions of this act." Thus, it is clear from this language of the Act that the General Assembly, while desirous of extending to municipalities the right to establish local commissions, did not intend to extend to local commissions powers or ...


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