Appeal from the Order of the Department of State, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, State Board of Funeral Directors, in case of In the Matter of the Suspension or Revocation of a License to Practice as a Funeral Director, License No. F.D. 8270, issued January 4, 1951, to James H. Hunt.
Paul D. Nelson, for petitioner.
Lenora M. Smith, Assistant Attorney General, with her Gerald Gornish, Attorney General, for respondent.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Blatt and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
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James H. Hunt (appellant) appeals here from an order of the Pennsylvania State Board of Funeral
[ 45 Pa. Commw. Page 326]
Directors (Board) which suspended his funeral director's license for 90 days. He was charged with violating the Board's Regulation 13.184*fn1 which requires that a signed "disclosure form" be executed prior to the disposition of the body of a deceased person, and, in so doing, of violating the Funeral Director Law*fn2 (Law).
The appellant was a Delaware County Assistant Coroner at the time of the alleged violation, and the record indicates that in the course of his official duties as deputy coroner he was summoned by a hospital to pick up the corpse of the husband of Mrs. Estella Gordon and to deliver it to the Delaware County morgue. At approximately midnight of the same evening, he went to the home of the deceased, apparently to speak with Mrs. Gordon. No one being present there, he left his calling card in the door with a notation "please give me a call." This card identified him both as a funeral director and as a deputy coroner. The following day he succeeded in contacting Mrs. Gordon and arrangements were made for her to meet him at his funeral home where he also had several additional meetings with her and various other family members. As a result of these meetings he claims that arrangements were made for him to procure the body of the deceased from the morgue and to prepare it for burial, and casket and church selections were then made by the family. Mrs. Gordon testified, however, and the Board found, that at no time did she give the appellant express permission to obtain the body from the morgue and to embalm it. The appellant testified that, prior to performing any services
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with respect to the body, he reviewed with the family an itemized list of services to be rendered and the charges therefor. The Board found that Mrs. Gordon, however, had not engaged in the decision-making process although she was aware of what was transpiring in her presence, which the Board found could be "equated to" a passive acceptance of those arrangements.
During the two days ensuing after these meetings, Mrs. Gordon notified the appellant that she wanted another funeral director to perform the funeral services, and the appellant released the body after receiving $350.00 for the services he had thus far rendered. At that time no disclosure form had yet been signed. The Board concluded that the appellant had violated Board Regulation 13.184 and the Funeral Director Law in failing to have the disclosure form signed prior to embalming and in failing to have it signed prior to releasing the body to the other funeral director.
The appellant argues here that the facts as found by the Board do not as a matter of law constitute a violation of Regulation 13.184 and alternatively that, if they do, the violation is not of such magnitude as to warrant a ...