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ALBERT NARDI v. DELAWARE RIVER PORT AUTHORITY (04/11/85)

decided: April 11, 1985.

ALBERT NARDI, PETITIONER
v.
DELAWARE RIVER PORT AUTHORITY, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, in case of Albert Nardi v. Delaware River Port Authority, No. 2555 February Term, 1980.

COUNSEL

Kenneth E. Aaron, for petitioner.

Wayne A. Schaible, with him, Roland Morris, Duane, Morris & Heckscher, for respondent.

Judges Craig and Doyle, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle. Judge Williams, Jr., did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Doyle

[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 559]

Albert Nardi (Petitioner) was injured on May 20, 1979 in the course of his employment as a member of the Delaware River Port Authority (Authority) Police. In addition to receiving workmen's compensation benefits, Petitioner received from the Authority the difference between his regular pay and his benefits for a period of twenty-six weeks pursuant

[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 560]

    to a collective bargaining agreement between the Authority and Petitioner's union, Lodge 30 of the Fraternal Order of Police. Following termination of this twenty-six week period, Petitioner requested additional benefits pursuant to the Pennsylvania Enforcement Officers Disability Benefits Law (Pennsylvania Benefits Law),*fn1 the provisions of which would ostensibly allow him to receive his full pay until his disability ceased. This request was denied by the Authority by letter dated January 21, 1980. Petitioner then petitioned for review in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, and on July 11, 1983, his petition was dismissed.

The Delaware River Port Authority was created by interstate compact between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey for the purpose of developing and maintaining bridges and port facilities between the two states.*fn2 Rather than an agency of a single state, it is a public corporate instrumentality of both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Yancoskie v. Delaware River Port Authority, 478 Pa. 396, 387 A.2d 41 (1978); Bell v. Bell, 83 N.J. 417, 416 A.2d 829 (1980). It follows that neither creator state can unilaterally impose additional duties, powers or responsibilities upon the Authority. See C. T. Hellmuth & Associates, Inc. v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 414 F. Supp. 408 (D. Md. 1976); Bell v. Bell.

[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 561]

Among the powers specifically granted to the Authority by the interstate compact is the ability "[t]o appoint, hire or employ counsel and such other officers, and such agents and employes, as it may require for the performance of its duties, by contract or otherwise, and fix and determine their qualifications, duties and compensation. . . ."*fn3 The compact further provides that the Authority "shall also have such additional powers as may hereafter be delegated to or imposed upon it from time to time by the action of either State concurred in by legislation of the other."*fn4

Petitioner concedes that the Pennsylvania legislature cannot unilaterally impose a duty to pay disability benefits upon the Authority. He is, therefore, requesting that he receive benefits only for a period of one calendar year, contending that the New Jersey legislature has concurred to this extent by ...


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