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EAST SUBURBAN PRESS v. TOWNSHIP PENN HILLS (02/14/79)

decided: February 14, 1979.

EAST SUBURBAN PRESS, INC., A CORPORATION, APPELLANT
v.
TOWNSHIP OF PENN HILLS, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of East Suburban Press, Inc., a corporation v. Township of Penn Hills, No. 2088 January Term, 1975.

COUNSEL

Henry G. Beamer, with him Metz, Cook, Hanna & Kelly, for appellant.

August C. Damian, with him Stanley M. Stein, and Feldstein, Grinberg, Stein & McKee, for appellee.

Edmund S. Ruffin, III, C. James Zeszutek, and Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, for amicus curiae, Pittsburgh Press Company.

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

Author: Craig

[ 40 Pa. Commw. Page 440]

This declaratory judgment proceeding involves specifications of the Newspaper Advertising Act*fn1 (Act) which a newspaper must meet in order to carry legal advertising. In addition to a question of interpretation, we also have a question of whether or not an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power is involved in the requirement that a newspaper, to qualify, must be eligible for the second class mailing privileges of the United States Postal Service.

East Suburban Press, Inc. (East Suburban), publisher of a paper called The Green Tab, which is primarily distributed free of charge and lacks second class mailing privileges, brought the proceeding when the Township of Penn Hills, a first class township in Allegheny County, following an opinion of its solicitor, refused to permit East Suburban to bid for the township's legal advertising.

The Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, correctly determining that an actual controversy existed, permitted Dardanelle Publications, Inc., a local bidder for legal advertising, to intervene as an interested party defendant. The Pittsburgh Press Company, a newspaper publisher, as amicus curiae, and the Pennsylvania Attorney General have filed briefs on the constitutional question.

The Act, in setting forth the qualifications for acceptance of legal advertising,*fn2 requires that a publication

[ 40 Pa. Commw. Page 441]

    contain news, editorial comment and advertising on four or more pages per issue, be issued at short intervals and have a history of at least six months of publication from an established place of business.

In addition, the section requires that a qualified publication must be (1) ...


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