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ROBERT WOOLSTON ET AL. v. CLARK T. CUTTING ET AL. (01/19/84)

decided: January 19, 1984.

ROBERT WOOLSTON ET AL., PLAINTIFFS
v.
CLARK T. CUTTING ET AL., DEFENDANTS



Original Jurisdiction in case of Robert Woolston et al. v. Clark T. Cutting et al.

COUNSEL

Theodore H. Swan, Jr., with him, Richard W. Berlinger, for petitioners.

Paul A. Logan, with him, Thomas E. Waters, Jr., for respondents, Clark T. Cutting, William Corcoran, Township of Abington, Abington Township Board of Commissioners.

Mollie A. McCurdy, Deputy Attorney General, with her, Allen C. Warshaw, Deputy Attorney General, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for respondents, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Judge Barry. Opinion by Judge Barry.

Author: Barry

[ 103 Pa. Commw. Page 218]

On July 9, 1982, Robert Woolston, Karen Purcell and Bonnie Gerrie (plaintiffs) filed a three count class action suit in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, naming as defendants the Township of Abington, the Abington Township Board of Commissioners, Clark T. Cutting, Acting Chief of Police and William Corcoran, Captain of Police. The plaintiffs purported to represent a class consisting of all individuals who had been issued traffic citations by members of the Abington Township Police Department from October 30, 1981 to the present. The complaint states that the defendants, for the period in question, had been issuing traffic citations in violation of the Act of October 30, 1981, P.L. 321, 71 P.S. ยงยง 2001-02 (Supp. 1983-84) (Act 114).

The first count of the complaint, in mandamus, seeks a declaration that all tickets and/or traffic citations issued during the time period were null and void, thereby requiring the return of all fines paid and the expungement of points assessed against those individuals' driving records. The second count seeks a preliminary injunction prohibiting defendants from

[ 103 Pa. Commw. Page 219]

    issuing traffic citations in violation of Act 114. The final count seeks exemplary damages.

Subsequent to the filing of the original complaint, defendants filed preliminary objections which alleged, inter alia, that the Commonwealth was an indispensable party. The trial court agreed, holding that return of fine monies and the expungement of points from individual driving records required the joinder of the Commonwealth. The court ordered the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint. Plaintiffs did so, naming as defendants, in addition to those already mentioned, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The matter was thereafter transferred to this Court in its original jurisdiction. The Commonwealth defendants have filed preliminary objections which, along with the preliminary objections of Abington Township are before this Court.

Both the Abington Township defendants and the Commonwealth defendants argue that Act 114, instead of creating a separate civil cause of action, was intended to create an affirmative defense which had to be raised at the criminal proceedings for ...


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