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MAX WEINER ET AL. v. SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (07/08/80)

decided: July 8, 1980.

MAX WEINER ET AL., APPELLEES
v.
SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in case of Max Weiner, Ralph Wynder, Jay Newman, Lee Frissell, John Brickhouse, Lloyd Ayres, T. Milton Street, Resident Advisory Board by Nellie Reynolds, Trustee Ad Litem, David Cohen, Mark Cohen, Hardy Williams, Joel Johnson, Ruth Harper, John Anderson, William Gray, III, Edgar Campbell, Joan Krajewski, Lucien Blackwell, Vincent Fumo, Anna Verna, Al Pearlman, John F. Street, David Richardson, James Tayoun, Alijia Dumas and Francis Lynch v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, No. 4787 June Term, 1980.

COUNSEL

Lewis H. Van Dusen, Jr., with him Raymond K. Denworth, Jr., Nancy Sarah Cohen and James C. Ingram, Drinker, Biddle & Reath, for appellant.

Max Weiner, with him George D. Gould, John F. Street and David Cohen, for appellees.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges MacPhail and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish. Dissenting Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Crumlish

[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 99]

Before us is the appeal of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). The Philadelphia Common Pleas Court enjoined the implementation of tariffs containing increases in fares voted by SEPTA'S Board on June 25, 1980, and scheduled to be effective at 12:01 a.m. on July 1, 1980. We affirm the Court below until the convening of the SEPTA Board meeting as mandated by our Legislature and dictated by the corresponding Order of this Court.

After hearings were held on five consecutive nights in May of 1980 in Philadelphia, Norristown, Upper Darby, and Levittown to evaluate proposed tariffs affecting the City Transit, Red Arrow, Frontier, and Commuter Rail Division fares, increases were recommended and passed by vote of a majority of the SEPTA Board. The two City of Philadelphia representatives and one Delaware County representative expressly voted "no" to the rate proposal, however, in addition to voting "no" one of the City representatives expressly rejected the motion that he was exercising a "veto" of the fare increase.

Citizen plaintiffs opposing the fare increase then filed a complaint in equity and a motion for special injunction, contending that the casting of negative votes by the three Board members representing one-third of the population was tantamount to a "veto" of the tariff under Section 18(a) of the Metropolitan Transportation Authorities Act of 1963,*fn1 which by legislative

[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 100]

    process may be overriden by a subsequent vote of three-quarters of the Board.

SEPTA argues that majority rule may be vetoed only by express objection made specifically as provided in Section 18(a) which requires a more specific rejection of the proposition. Moreover, SEPTA argues that it has the authority to ordain such rules and practices as its specific needs require, one consistent practice being that there is a recognized distinction between positive-negative and veto vote castings.

The Court below in finding that the Board had committed a manifest and flagrant abuse of discretion in its interpretation and application of Section 18(a), entered the requested injunctive order, and ...


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