Original jurisdiction in the case of Dale S. Madden, et al. v. Glen R. Jeffes, Commissioner for the Bureau of Corrections, et al.
Dale S. Madden and Wilmer B. Gay, petitioners, for themselves.
Sheila M. Ford, Deputy Attorney General, for respondents.
Judges Craig, Palladino and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 85 Pa. Commw. Page 415]
Plaintiffs Dale Madden and Wilmer Gay are serving life sentences at the State Correctional Institute at Pittsburgh (SCIP), and are on the Board of Directors of Pennsylvania Association of Lifers (PAL), a nonprofit organization incorporated under the laws of Pennsylvania for the purposes of advancing rehabilitation and other constructive programs in the state correction system.
Following a theft of PAL assets, the defendant prison officials suspended all PAL activities and confiscated all PAL assets. Although the record does not clearly establish exactly what "suspension" of PAL activities entailed, we gather that the prison officials prohibited inmates from conducting any corporate
[ 85 Pa. Commw. Page 416]
business, but did not actually order the dissolution of the corporation.
Plaintiffs have filed this complaint in mandamus, addressed to this court's original jurisdiction, seeking an order to compel defendants to (1) lift the suspension of PAL activities, (2) refund an estimated $700 per month in lost revenues for each month of suspension, (3) refrain from enforcing any prison rules in conflict with PAL's corporate charter in the absence of a security problem. The named defendants are Glen Jeffes, the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Corrections, Ronald Marks, the former commissioner, George Petsock, Superintendent of SCIP, the Commonwealth Bureau of Correction and SCIP.
This matter is currently before us on preliminary objections of the defendants, who challenge our subject matter jurisdiction over the action and otherwise demur to the plaintiffs' complaint.*fn1
We must, of course, first address the question of our original jurisdiction, governed by 42 Pa. C.S. § 761(a), which provides in part:
(a) General Rule -- the Commonwealth Court shall have original jurisdiction of all civil ...