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HERMAN P. ABRAMSON v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/30/80)

decided: April 30, 1980.

HERMAN P. ABRAMSON, RECEIVER FOR GE-CO CAB, INC., APPELLANT,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, APPELLEE



No. 202 January Term, 1978, Appeal from the Order of April 6, 1977 of the Commonwealth Court at No. 1250 C.D. 1976 Quashing and Dismissing the Petition for Review.

COUNSEL

Herbert Somerson, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Allison K. Turner, Asst. Counsel, PUC, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen and Flaherty, JJ. Larsen, J., filed a dissenting opinion.

Author: Nix

[ 489 Pa. Page 269]

OPINION

This is an appeal from an Order of the Commonwealth Court dismissing a Petition for Review from a Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Order revoking the Certificate of Public Convenience of GE-Co Cab, Inc., as untimely filed, after the denial of a "Petition for Rehearing."*fn1

On June 10, 1975, the Public Utility Commission (P.U.C.) suspended the operating rights of GE-Co Cab, Inc., for one year based upon evidence taken at a hearing concerning a series of complaints filed against the cab company.*fn2 Other complaints which had been joined for that hearing were taken under advisement. On April 28, 1976, the P.U.C. scheduled those matters for public consideration. The ownership of the cab company was in dispute, however, and the appointment of a receiver by the Philadelphia Court of

[ 489 Pa. Page 270]

Common Pleas was scheduled for May 20, 1976. Counsel for the cab company apprised the P.U.C. of that situation and then requested a continuance. The matters were tabled until a May 11, 1976, public meeting. At that meeting, the P.U.C. denied an additional request for continuance and voted to cancel GE-Co Cab, Inc.'s Certificate of Public Convenience thus halting its operation.*fn3 The cancellation Order was entered on May 14, 1976. On May 26, 1976, appellant, Herman P. Abramson, the court appointed receiver for the cab company, filed a "Petition for Rehearing" with the P.U.C., which was subsequently denied on July 16, 1976. An appeal from the May 14, 1976, P.U.C. Order was taken to the Commonwealth Court on July 25, 1976. By opinion of Judge Mencer, that court quashed the Petition for Review as untimely in that it was not filed within thirty (30) days of the May 14, 1976, P.U.C. Order, as required by the Public Utility Law, Section 1101, Act of May 28, 1937, P.L. 1053, art. XI, § 1101, 66 P.S. § 1431.*fn4

Appellant strenuously disputes the decision of the Commonwealth Court on two grounds.*fn5 First he asserts that the distinction that has been adopted between a "petition for rehearing" and a "petition for modification or rescission" for purposes of 66 P.S. § 1431, is extremely technical and not required by that statute. Second, it is contended, in the alternative, that the characterization of the instant application

[ 489 Pa. Page 271]

    as a petition for modification or rescission and not for rehearing as it was ...


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