No. 81-1-19, Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court at No. 2277 C.D. 1979
Kenneth D. Chestak, Erie, for appellant.
Bruce G. Baron, Asst. Counsel, Dept. of Public Welfare, Harrisburg, for appellee.
O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ. Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ., concur in the result. Wilkinson, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.
This appeal is from an Order of the Commonwealth Court dismissing a complaint filed by appellant, Philip Smock.
Appellant was the owner-operator of Quiet Acres Nursing Home. In July, 1975, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare (hereinafter "D.P.W."), appellee herein, revoked the nursing home's license to operate under the State Medical Assistance Program. As a result of the license revocation, the nursing home became ineligible to receive state payments for services provided to patients qualifying for medical assistance. No appeal was taken from the Order revoking appellant's license. Appellant alleges, however, that the failure to appeal was a result of his reliance on oral assurances from D.P.W. representatives that the license and reimbursement agreement would be reinstated when the deficiencies, which were the basis of the license revocation, were corrected.
Appellant attempted to correct the deficiencies but D.P.W. twice refused to reinstate the license because they found that appellant had yet to comply with the applicable regulations. Appellant subsequently made two requests for payment for services provided to assistance patients. Both requests were refused and no appeals were taken. Appellant claims he asked D.P.W. to relocate the assistance patients but this request was allegedly refused. Appellant asserts that because of the nursing home's inability to remove the assistance patients, financial setbacks resulted which eventually led to foreclosure on the property in December, 1978.
In November, 1979, appellant filed a two-count complaint in the Commonwealth Court, seeking money damages from D.P.W. The first count of the Complaint sought recovery on an actual contract theory while the second count was based on a theory of quasi-contract, or unjust enrichment. The D.P.W. filed Preliminary Objections which, inter alia, asserted that the Commonwealth Court lacked subject-matter
jurisdiction to adjudicate the dispute. The Commonwealth Court sustained the Preliminary Objections and dismissed appellant's Complaint. Smock v. Commonwealth, Pa. Commw., 425 A.2d 883 (1981). This appeal followed.
The Commonwealth Court dismissed appellant's Complaint, holding that jurisdiction over the instant dispute was with the Board of ...