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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. EASTERN DAWN MOBILE HOME PARK (07/05/79)

decided: July 5, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
EASTERN DAWN MOBILE HOME PARK, INC., WEISSER MOBILE HOMES, INC., WILLIAM W. WEISSER, EDWARD O. WEISSER, VIOLET WEISSER AND GERALDINE M. WEISSER, APPELLANTS



No. 80 January Term, 1979, Appeal from Order of the Commonwealth Court, Civil, at No. 133 C.D. 1979 - Equity

COUNSEL

Donald B. McCoy, Newtown, Bucks County, for appellants.

B. Christopher Lee, John E. Kelly, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. O'Brien, J., files an Opinion in Support of Affirmance which Eagen, C. J., and Larsen, J., join. Roberts, J., files an Opinion in Support of Reversal in which Nix and Manderino, JJ., join.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 486 Pa. Page 327]

OPINION OF THE COURT

The Court being equally divided, the order is affirmed. Each party to pay own costs.

[ 486 Pa. Page 328]

OPINION IN SUPPORT OF AFFIRMANCE

O'BRIEN, Justice.

This appeal is from an order of Commonwealth Court, holding counsel for appellants, Eastern Dawn Mobile Home Park, Inc., Weisser Mobile Homes, Inc., William W. Weisser, Edward O. Weisser, Violet Weisser and Geraldine M. Weisser, be disqualified from providing representation because of violations of various canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

In early 1977, shortly after enactment of the Mobile Home Park Rights Act,*fn1 several complaints against the owners and operators of Eastern Dawn Mobile Home Park were filed with the Bucks County District Attorney's Office. The Bucks County District Attorney assigned deputy district attorney John B. Lampi and a county detective to investigate the complaints. Throughout the investigation Eastern Dawn Mobile Home Park was represented by Donald B. McCoy, Esquire. Following the investigation, Attorney Lampi effected a compromise with Eastern Dawn and through the district attorney's office, issued a formal report concluding that Eastern Dawn's practices did not violate the Mobile Home Park Rights Act.

Approximately one year after investigating Eastern Dawn, Lampi resigned from the district attorney's office and took a job with Donald B. McCoy and Associates. During this one year period, numerous complaints against Eastern Dawn similar to those previously lodged with the Bucks County officials were filed with the State Bureau of Consumer Protection. Pursuant to those complaints, the Bureau investigated the practices of the owners and operators of Eastern Dawn and of Weisser Mobile Homes, Inc. As a result of that investigation, the Bureau filed a complaint alleging all appellants were engaging in practices which prevented residents of Eastern Dawn from selling their mobile homes.

[ 486 Pa. Page 329]

Shortly after appellants were served with notice of the instant lawsuit, Deputy Attorney General John Kelly was contacted by Lampi, who stated that he would be representing appellants and that he wished to discuss the matter. Kelly immediately informed Lampi that because of his prior involvement with the matter as a prosecutor, the Commonwealth would file a motion to disqualify Lampi or any members of his firm from representing appellants. McCoy then went to the phone and informed Kelly ...


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