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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. GOOD TIMES SALES COMPANY (12/08/80)

decided: December 8, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
GOOD TIMES SALES COMPANY, ET AL. GOOD TIMES SALES COMPANY, A/K/A DEVIL'S DEN ADULT BOOK STORE, A/K/A CHEOAP'S CORPORATION, AND CHEOAP'S CORPORATION, APPELLANTS



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Adams County in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Good Time Sales Co., a/k/a Devil's Den Adult Book Store, a/k/a Cheoap's Corporation, No. 78-S-168.

COUNSEL

Rochelle S. Friedman, for appellants.

Gary E. Hartman, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 161]

Cheoap's Corporation (Cheoaps) has appealed from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Adams County enjoining it from displaying or selling certain materials which a jury had found to be obscene. We affirm.

The district attorney of Adams County filed a complaint in equity on behalf of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania seeking an order enjoining Cheoaps*fn1 and three named individuals*fn2 from selling allegedly obscene materials pursuant to Section 5903 of the Crimes Code, 18 Pa. C.S. § 5903. Service of process was made upon Cheoaps by the deputy sheriff of Adams County

[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 162]

    by handing a true and attested copy of the complaint to Terry Lee Shelly at Cheoap's place of business. A notice to appear and defend at a jury trial to be held April 28, 1980 was served with the complaint. The district attorney, by leave of the court, subsequently withdrew his demand for a jury trial as to Cheoaps.

On May 1, 1978, the district attorney filed a petition in the court below asking for a jury trial against Cheoaps to be held May 3, 1978 and the court granted the prayer of the petition. Copies of the petition and order were provided Cheoaps by the deputy sheriff's leaving them with Mr. Shelly's wife at their residence. The matter proceeded to trial on May 3, 1978. Neither counsel for nor any representative of Cheoaps appeared at the hearing. After the presentation of the Commonwealth's case, including the introduction of 101 allegedly obscene exhibits, the jury unanimously found all except one exhibit to be obscene. The court below then issued the injunction.

Cheoaps first contends that the lower court's order is void because effective service of the complaint was not made upon Cheoaps. This argument is patently wrong. Service of process upon a corporation may be made by handing an attested copy of the process to an executive officer of the corporation, Pa. R.C.P. No. 2180(a)(1), or to the agent or person for the time being in charge of and at the usual place of business of the corporation, Pa. R.C.P. No. 2180(a)(2). In the instant case, service of the complaint was made upon Mr. Shelly, who at the time was manager and agent for Cheoaps, at Cheoap's usual place of business. A manager, for purposes of Pa. R.C.P. No. 2180(a)(1), is an executive officer of the corporation. See Pa. R.C.P. No. 2176; 7 Goodrich-Amram 2d § 2180(a):3. Thus, effective service of the complaint upon Cheoaps was made under both Pa. R.C.P. No. 2180(a)(1) and No. 2180(a)(2).

[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 163]

Cheoaps next says that its right to due process was violated because it did not receive notice of the trial held May 3, 1978. We disagree. Due process requires only that a party be given notice of a hearing in a manner that is reasonably calculated to inform the party of the pending action. Pennsylvania Coal Mining Ass'n v. Insurance Department, 471 Pa. 437, 452, 370 A.2d 685, 692-93 (1977). The form of the notice required depends on what is reasonable under the circumstances involved. Id. at 452-53, 370 A.2d at 693. Since a corporation is a non-sentient entity, notice can only be received by the corporation through the eyes and ears of its officers and employees. Thus, the giving of notice to Mr. Shelly, the manager of Cheoaps, was reasonably calculated to inform Cheoaps of the pending trial. The fact that the notice to Mr. Shelly was handed to his wife at his home does not ...


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