Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of Philip B. Lindy, t/a Fountain View Apartments v. City of Philadelphia, No. 5149 September Term, 1974.
Pamela Fox, Assistant City Solicitor, with her, Barbara S. Gilbert, Chief Assistant City Solicitor, for appellant.
Jeffrey B. Albert, with him, Richard T. Collier, Fox, Rothschild, O'Brien & Frankel, for appellee.
Judges Rogers, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 71 Pa. Commw. Page 516]
We here face the following question:
After a public agency's administrative decision adverse to a party has become final, as a consequence of that party's failure to pursue the procedures available for review of the decision, may the party proceed in a civil action to seek damages from the public agency on the basis that the decision was invalid?
This case involves the trespass complaint of apartment developer Lindy against the City of Philadelphia, requesting damages from the city for the alleged unlawful revocation of building permits for a 234-unit apartment complex. Lindy did not appeal those revocations to the Board of License and Inspection Review within ten days after the revocation, as provided by section 4-114 of the City Code.
The city filed an answer alleging that the revocations were lawful because Lindy, in seeking to satisfy conditions attached to the development approval, had submitted certain documents, purporting to be executed by adjoining property owners, which were
[ 71 Pa. Commw. Page 517]
forgeries; Lindy's pleadings do not dispute the forgery allegations. In response to Lindy's claim for damages resulting from project losses and loan costs, the city also filed a counterclaim for its alleged damages, based on work done by the city in anticipation of the apartment complex.
Inexplicably, the case then lay dormant in the court of common pleas for nearly six years, until the city filed a motion to dismiss, centrally urging that
Lindy's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies precludes Lindy from pursuing his ...