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PHILADELPHIA FACILITIES MANAGEMENT CORPORATION v. HONORABLE EDWARD G. BEISTER (12/21/79)

decided: December 21, 1979.

PHILADELPHIA FACILITIES MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, IN ITS OWN RIGHT AND ON BEHALF OF THE PHILADELPHIA GAS WORKS AND ALL ITS RATEPAYING CUSTOMERS AND PHILADELPHIA GAS WORKS, IN ITS OWN RIGHT AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OF ITS RATEPAYING CUSTOMERS
v.
THE HONORABLE EDWARD G. BEISTER, ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA AND THE HONORABLE HOWARD A. COHEN, SECRETARY OF REVENUE FOR THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA. APPEAL OF TENANT ACTION GROUP



No. 204 January Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court, at No. 616 C.D. 1979

COUNSEL

George D. Gould, Stephen Bosch, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Barton A. Hertzbach, John J. Leonard, Philadelphia, for Philadelphia Facilities and Philadelphia Gas Works.

Robert B. Hoffman, Harrisburg, for Biester and Cohen.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Manderino, Larsen and Flaherty, JJ. Manderino, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Flaherty, J., files a concurring opinion.

Author: O'brien

[ 487 Pa. Page 62]

OPINION OF THE COURT

Appellant, the Tenant Action Group, an organization whose members are tenants and tenant groups in Philadelphia, appeals an order of the Commonwealth Court, denying its petition for intervention in an action commenced in that court by the Philadelphia Facilities Management Corporation and Philadelphia Gas Works.

Plaintiff Philadelphia Gas Works is owned by the City of Philadelphia and supplies gas to customers in that city. Plaintiff Philadelphia Facilities Management Corporation operates and manages the facilities of Philadelphia Gas Works under an agreement with the city.

Defendants in the action are Commonwealth Attorney General Edward G. Biester and Commonwealth Secretary of Revenue Howard A. Cohen.

Plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of the Utility Service Tenants Rights Act,*fn1 which provides that when a landlord who is obligated to pay for utility service fails to do, the tenant may avert a shutoff of service by paying the amount due and may withhold from rental payments the amount paid to the utility. The act requires the utility to follow certain procedures before it may discontinue service. Appellant seeks to intervene as a defendant, claiming its members have an interest in the upholding of the act.

Pa.R.C.P. 2327 provides:

". . . [A]t any time during the pendency of an action, a person not a party thereto shall be permitted to intervene therein . . . if [inter alia] . . . the determination of such action may affect any legally enforceable interest of such ...


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