Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Harry M. Lasday v. County of Allegheny, No. GD 79-5300.
Mark B. Aronson, Behrend and Aronson, for appellant.
Robert S. Barker, Assistant County Solicitor, with him James H. McLean, County Solicitor, for appellee, County of Allegheny.
John R. Friedlander, Joseph & Hershman, P.C., for appellee, Elson's News and Gift Shops, Inc.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., MacPhail and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.
[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 423]
Greater Pittsburgh International Airport (Airport) is owned and operated by the appellee Allegheny County (County). When the Airport opened in 1952, appellant began operating a jewelry and gift shop located in the Airport; the last written lease for this shop covered the years 1966 through 1968. In 1962
[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 424]
appellant began operating a newsstand at the Airport; the last written lease for the newsstand covered the years 1963 through 1965. Because of the events described below, in early 1979 appellant had to quit the premises.
In July 1978 the County prepared and distributed to all interested persons a document (Proposal Information) outlining the County's plans to establish a new concession program at the Airport. The Proposal Information invited qualified prospective concessionaires to submit proposals for the new concessions. Though the Proposal Information stated that one concessionaire would be selected to operate four newsstands and two gift shops, the Proposal Information also stated that any submitted proposal constituted a suggestion to negotiate and not a bid, that the County was not obligated to respond to any submitted proposal, that the submission of a proposal would neither obligate nor entitle the County or prospective concessionaire to an agreement, and that all submitted proposals would be subject to negotiation at the option of the County. Appellant submitted his proposal for the package of newsstands and gift shops in August 1978; it was rejected. The County negotiated with other parties for the operation of only the four newsstands. In November 1978, by action of the Board of County Commissioners, the County decided to award a concession for the operation of four newsstands to the other appellee herein.
By means of his original complaint and amended complaint, appellant alleged that (1) under Section 2001 of the Second Class County Code (Code), Act of July 28, 1953, P.L. 723, as amended, 16 P.S. § 5001, the County was required to solicit bids for the operation of the retail outlets at the Airport, and (2) pursuant to the concession agreements, appellant has a common law franchise with the County for the continued operation
[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 425]
of his retail shops at the Airport that could not be arbitrarily terminated by the County. After submission of briefs and oral argument, the court of common pleas sustained all the preliminary objections filed by the appellees and dismissed the amended complaint.*fn1 From the parties' statements of the questions involved and ...