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ISOBEL STORCH v. PENNSYLVANIA BOARD PROBATION AND PAROLE (06/24/82)

decided: June 24, 1982.

ISOBEL STORCH, AN INDIVIDUAL CITIZEN, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA BOARD OF PROBATION AND PAROLE, RESPONDENTS



Original jurisdiction in case of Isobel Storch, an individual citizen v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole.

COUNSEL

Helen M. Lynch, for petitioner.

Francis R. Filipi, Deputy Attorney General, with him LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for respondents.

Judge Blatt. Memorandum Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 68 Pa. Commw. Page 75]

Isobel Storch (Petitioner) has been employed as a parole agent for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (Board) since 1974. She completed law school in June, 1979 and passed the Pennsylvania Bar Examination the following October. On June 4, 1980 she sought permission from the Board to engage in supplemental employment:

I am formally requesting permission to engage in a private civil law practice which will be conducted during my off-duty hours.

Such law practice will not conflict with my official duties as a parole agent nor will it adversely affect my judgment, independence or actions in the performance of such duties.

I shall not accept business from my active caseload or any other cases where a conflict is present. If such a conflict would arise, I will immediately refrain from dealing with the individual as an attorney.

[ 68 Pa. Commw. Page 76]

The Board sought and received an opinion from the Attorney General in this matter, and, on the basis of an October 23, 1980 memorandum from a Deputy Attorney General, denied the petitioner permission to practice law in her off-duty hours while employed by the Board. The petitioner then filed a petition for a writ of mandamus under our original jurisdiction in this Court by which she sought to have the Board commanded to grant her permission to engage in supplementary employment as a lawyer; she also sought judgment against the Board and damages. The Board's preliminary objections were overruled and the matter is presently before us on the petitioner's motion for partial summary judgment in its favor on the issue of liability, reserving the issue of damages for a later proceeding, pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. No. 1035. Summary judgment may be entered, of course, only where no issue of material fact exists and where the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Washington v. Cuyler, 48 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 409, 409 A.2d 974 (1980). By order filed on June 4, 1982, this Court granted the petitioner's motion, vacated the decision of the Board and ordered it to grant permission to the petitioner to engage in supplemental employment as an attorney in civil law practice in which she would not represent any person upon any matter before or involving the Commonwealth and in which she would avoid any other situation which would constitute a conflict of interest with her job as a parole agent. This opinion follows and is in support of our June 4, 1982 order.

The opinion of the Deputy Attorney General upon which the Board relied was premised upon two considerations: (1) the restrictions applicable to Commonwealth attorneys and (2) the petitioner's status as a Commonwealth employee. It examined ...


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