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ALBERT LANSING AND CATHERINE LANSING v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/11/80)

decided: February 11, 1980.

ALBERT LANSING AND CATHERINE LANSING, HIS WIFE, APPELLANTS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare v. Albert Lansing and Catherine Lansing, his wife, No. GD 76-13504.

COUNSEL

Andrew M. Schifino, for appellants.

Robert S. Englesberg, Assistant Attorney General, with him, Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer. Judge DiSalle did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Mencer

[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 288]

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare (DPW) commenced an action in assumpsit against Albert Lansing and Catherine Lansing, his wife (appellants) to recover the cost of maintaining their son, David Lansing, in Mayview State Hospital (Mayview) for various periods of time between January 11, 1972 and January 16, 1974. David Lansing was born on June 14, 1945 and was over 26 years of age when treatment began and over 28 years of age at the time of his last confinement. David was indigent at the time of his admission to Mayview, as well as during his treatment periods and at the time the assumpsit suit was commenced. The amount of the expenses incurred by DPW in maintaining David Lansing at Mayview totaled $3,878.68 and is the sum of money which the assumpsit action seeks to recover.

This case was tried non-jury before the Honorable Robert Doyle, a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, following which a verdict was

[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 289]

    rendered in favor of the DPW for $3,878.68. On September 22, 1978, judgment on the verdict was entered and this appeal followed. We affirm.

The DPW foundationed its action on provisions of the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Act of 1966 (Mental Health Act), Act of October 20, 1966, Special Sess. No. 3, P.L. 96, as amended, 50 P.S. § 4101 et seq., and Section 3 of the Act of June 1, 1915, P.L. 661, as amended (Act of 1915), 71 P.S. § 1783.

Section 502 of the Mental Health Act, 50 P.S. § 4502, at the time in question, provided:

Except as provided in section 504 [50 P.S. § 4504],*fn1 whenever any person ...


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