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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CARBORUNDUM COMPANY (04/13/83)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: April 13, 1983.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PETITIONER
v.
THE CARBORUNDUM COMPANY, RESPONDENT

Appeals from the Order of the Board of Finance and Revenue in case of In Re: Carborundum Company, Docket No. R-4538.

COUNSEL

Eugene Anastasio, Deputy Attorney General, with him Robert B. Hoffman, Deputy Attorney General, John Krill, Deputy General Counsel, Allen C. Warshaw, Deputy Attorney General, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for petitioner.

Albert J. Tomalis, Jr., Keefer, Wood, Allen & Rahal, for respondent.

W. Michael Trant, Deputy Chief Counsel, Department of Revenue, with him Francis Mazzola, Chief Counsel, Department of Auditor General, and Charles L. Sieck, Deputy General Counsel, Office of General Counsel, for Amici Curiae.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Williams, Jr., Craig, MacPhail and Doyle. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 405]

On behalf of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Attorney General has filed two Petitions for Review in this Court challenging orders of the Board of Finance and Revenue (Board). The taxpayer, The Carborundum Company, filed a Motion to Quash the consolidated appeals, which motion is presently before us for disposition.

I.

Pursuant to the provisions of The Fiscal Code,*fn1 the Board reviews all orders appealed to it from various administrative determinations of tax liability issued by the Department of Revenue and the Auditor General. The six members*fn2 of the Board are the State

[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 406]

Treasurer, the Secretary of Revenue, the Auditor General, the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and the General Counsel.

After following prescribed procedures not here at issue, Carborundum timely appeared before the Board to contest settlement*fn3 orders issued by Revenue and the Auditor General relative to its franchise tax obligations. By unanimous vote, the Board reduced the taxpayer's liability by over 40%, based upon an adjusted appraisal of Carborundum's capital stock value. The Attorney General promptly appealed that decision to this Court, contending that the Board improperly assessed the worth of Taxpayer's capital stock. Carborundum subsequently filed the present Motion to Quash.*fn4

II.

In its Motion, Carborundum calls to the Court's attention that the Attorney General, by his deputy/designees, sat on the Board and cast an affirmative vote for the order now being appealed. By protesting that order, the Attorney General is taking a position opposing that he maintained at the agency level.

The Attorney General argues (a) that the Commonwealth is aggrieved by that decision, (b) that he is

[ 73 Pa. Commw. Page 407]

    authorized under Article IV, Section 4.1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution,*fn5 and its implementing legislation, the Commonwealth Attorneys Act, to represent the Commonwealth qua "Commonwealth" -- an entity distinct from the various departments and agencies of the state and from the executive branch, and (c) that therefore, he may institute this appeal. Within the factual matrix of this case, that argument cannot be sustained.

Whatever the scope of the Attorney General's powers,*fn6 however limited or extensive they might be, his representational interest does not change from one level of an action to another. When he or his deputy/designee was sitting as a member of the Board, he was representing the same interest as he now represents in his appeal to this Court, and his vote to join in the settlement was cast as part and parcel of that representation. In so voting, he acquiesced in the entry of the Board's order, and cannot now appeal therefrom; he has waived the right of his client to object to that order. Daly v. Darby Township School District, 434 Pa. 286, 252 A.2d 638 (1969); Sarsfield v. Sarsfield, 251 Pa. Superior Ct. 516, 380 A.2d 899 (1977).

Motion granted.

Order

And Now, this 13th day of April, 1983, the Motion to Quash filed by The Carborundum Company in the above-captioned matter is hereby granted. Such determination renders moot the Motion to Strike filed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Disposition

Motions to quash granted.


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