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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. SAMUEL MARVIN FLOWERS (10/03/79)

decided: October 3, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, APPELLANT
v.
SAMUEL MARVIN FLOWERS, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare v. Samuel Marvin Flowers, No. 81 December Term, 1977.

COUNSEL

Richard L. Colden, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, with him Prince Altee Thomas, Assistant Attorney General, for appellant.

Samuel Marvin Flowers, appellee, for himself.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 46 Pa. Commw. Page 327]

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Commonwealth), on June 27, 1972, instituted an action in assumpsit in the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County against Samuel Marvin Flowers (Flowers), in an attempt to recover the sum of $3,017 paid by the Commonwealth to Helen R. Flowers and her minor child under various assistance programs. Under the Berks County Rules of Court adopted to carry out the general policy of Pa. R.J.A. No. 1901(a), the Prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County, on December 28, 1975, terminated the Commonwealth's assumpsit action against Flowers for failure to prosecute that action for a period in excess of two years.

The Commonwealth petitioned the court below to reactivate its assumpsit action and, after argument,

[ 46 Pa. Commw. Page 328]

    this petition was dismissed. No appeal was taken from this ruling but, on November 15, 1977, the Commonwealth filed a new complaint in assumpsit against Flowers. Flowers filed a motion to strike that portion of the complaint which sought damages for a period of time included by the Commonwealth in its prior terminated suit.*fn1 The court below granted the motion to strike, and this appeal followed. We affirm.

We conclude that the court below reasoned correctly*fn2 as follows:

The issue before us in the present case is whether or not a final order of this court refusing to reactivate a case terminated under Rule 1901 of the Rules of Judicial Administration, as implemented by our Rule 650, terminates both the case and its underlying cause of action. We determine that it does.

In this respect, we find that Rule 1901 compels a result different from ...


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