No. 423 January Term, 1973, Appeal from the Order of April 16, 1973 of the Commonwealth Court at No. 471 C.D. 1973
Sanford Kahn, Gen. Counsel, Harrisburg, Roy Yaffe, James D. Pagliaro, Asst. Gen. Counsels, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Jack C. Briscoe, Dennis E. Haggerty, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Manderino, J., concurs in the result. Roberts, J., files a dissenting opinion in which Nix, J., joins.
The question presented in this appeal is whether an intended agreement between lawyers for the appellant Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (the "Commission" or the "PHRC") and the appellee corporation, read into the record by the attorney for appellant, without objection, at a hearing before a panel of the Commission became a final, enforceable consent decree upon subsequent ratification by the PHRC, but in the absence of any showing of subsequent approval by the appellee.
The following history of the case is relevant. On February 17, 1972, two separate complaints were filed with the PHRC pursuant to Section 9 of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission Act (the "Act").*fn1 In the first complaint, Joseph F. Dennison, a prospective home buyer, alleged that the appellee Ammon K. Graybill, Jr., Inc., Real Estate ("Graybill") committed a discriminatory and hence unlawful act in refusing to sell him a home. A second complaint, filed by James A. Lentz, a former employee of
Graybill, alleged that Graybill had committed unlawful discriminatory acts in compelling Lentz to discriminate against Mr. Dennison. Answers denying the charges were filed by Graybill.
A hearing on the complaints was held by a panel of three members of the Commission on November 1, 1972. At the commencement of the afternoon session, the PHRC counsel announced that he and the lawyer for Graybill had reached an agreement. The Commission lawyer stated:
"I would like to read into the record the points of agreement between the Commission and the Respondent with the stipulation that the language we are going to be using will not be the final language in the consent order that will be ...