Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation v. George P. Williams, Case No. CSA 334 of 1982.
Harold Gondelman, with him Michael J. Witherel, Gondelman, Baxter, McVerry, Mulvihill & Smith, for appellant.
Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Counsel, with him Ward T. Williams, Chief Counsel, and Jay C. Waldman, General Counsel, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges MacPhail and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 319]
George P. Williams (Appellant) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County dismissing his appeal from the Department of Transportation's (DOT) suspensions of his Certificate of Appointment as an official inspection station and his certification as an official inspection station mechanic for a period of one year. The suspensions
[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 320]
were for furnishing a certificate of inspection (inspection sticker) without performing an inspection. Section 4727 of the Vehicle Code, as amended, 75 Pa. C.S. § 4727.
Our scope of review in this case is limited to a determination of whether the trial court has committed an error of law or whether the findings of the trial court are based on substantial evidence. Royster v. Commonwealth, 64 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 235, 236, 439 A.2d 907, 908 (1982).
In this case, the trial court received uncontradicted evidence that an inspection sticker issued by Appellant was found affixed to a vehicle other than the vehicle to which the sticker was issued. When found, the face of the sticker was clear. Trooper Lawrence Stayduhar of the Pennsylvania State Police, who had been assigned to the garage inspection detail for five years, testified that the marking "VOID" would appear the first time a sticker was removed from a windshield and that he had never seen a sticker removed which did not show "VOID." Appellant presented no testimony.
The trial court in its decision took judicial notice of the fact that a sticker cannot be removed without showing "VOID." Since the sticker when found did not show "VOID" the Court considered this as evidence that Appellant did not affix the sticker to the vehicle he allegedly inspected. The Court therefore sustained DOT's suspensions.
Appellant initially contends that the trial court improperly admitted Trooper Stayduhar's testimony regarding sticker removal as opinion evidence without proper foundation. The law is clear, however, that the qualification of an expert witness to testify is a matter for the discretion of ...