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ARMORED MOTOR SERVICE CORPORATION v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION (03/06/80)

decided: March 6, 1980.

ARMORED MOTOR SERVICE CORPORATION, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in case of Application of Armored Motor Service Corporation for Motor Carrier Certificate or Permit, Docket No. 97531, Folder 2.

COUNSEL

William J. Lavelle, of Wick, Vuono & Lavelle, for petitioner.

Robert A. Christianson, Assistant Counsel, with him Alfred N. Lowenstein, Deputy Chief Counsel, and George M. Kashi, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

James W. Patterson, with him, of counsel, Harper, George, Buchanan & Driver, for Purolator Security, Inc. and Purolator Courier Corp., intervening respondents.

Herbert R. Nurick, of McNees, Wallace and Nurick, for Brink's Incorporated, intervening respondent.

Judges Rogers, Blatt and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt. President Judge Bowman did not participate in the decision in this case. Judge DiSalle did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Blatt

[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 625]

The Armored Motor Service Corporation (Armored) appeals here from an order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (Commission) which denied its application in 1975 for a permit to operate as a motor common carrier. The application was denied because Armored failed to show the necessity of its proposed service as required by Section 1103 of the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa. C.S. ยง 1103.*fn1 This denial, according to the opinion accompanying the Commission's order, was required largely because of the Commission's refusal to consider proffered evidence as to the need for and the adequacy of service provided by Armored for many years prior to its 1975 application. The evidence was refused because this prior service had not been authorized by the Commission.

Armored argues here that its apparently illegal service prior to 1975 was conducted under the color of right of a letter it had received in 1950 from the Commission's law bureau, sent in response to a request made at that time by Armored for the necessary forms to obtain a permit to operate as an armored car service. In that letter the Commission's counsel had stated that the Commission had no jurisdiction to regulate armored car services, and Armored contends that it relied on this assurance in providing its service thereafter. The Commission counsel evidently

[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 626]

    relied mistakenly on a 1935 Superior Court decision*fn2 which held that contract carriers such as Armored were not subject to the Commission's regulation. This decision, however, was implicitly overruled in 1937 with the enactment of Article VIII of the Public Utility Law, Act of May 28, 1937, P.L. 1053, which specifically extended the Commission's jurisdiction to contract carriers.*fn3

Upon receipt of the 1950 letter from the Commission's counsel, Armored commenced armored car service in Philadelphia and Bucks Counties and in 1953 it added a courier service in that area. Between 1950 and 1976, it provided intrastate armored car and courier service for 46 banks, businesses and churches in southeastern Pennsylvania, and in the early 1970's it entered into a contract with the General Services Administration of the United States to transport coin between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and it then applied for a Commission ...


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