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BEATRICE LITTLE v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/17/85)

decided: May 17, 1985.

BEATRICE LITTLE, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA CRIME VICTIM'S COMPENSATION BOARD, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Crime Victim's Compensation Board in the case of Re: Claim No. 80-1113-D, John David Little, deceased, Beatrice Little, Claimant.

COUNSEL

Joseph P. Covelli, for petitioner.

Amy Zapp, Deputy Attorney General, with her, Allen C. Warshaw, Senior Deputy Attorney General, Chief, Litigation Section, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges MacPhail, Doyle and Barry, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.

Author: Barry

[ 89 Pa. Commw. Page 335]

Beatrice Little (petitioner) petitions for review of the order of the Pennsylvania Crime Victim's Compensation Board (Board) denying her claim for lost future support under the sections of the Administrative Code to which we will refer as the Crime Victim's Compensation Act (CVCA) Sections 477 through 477.17 of The Administrative Code of 1929, Act of April 9, 1929, P.L. 177, as amended, added by the Act of July 9, 1976, P.L. 574, as amended, 71 P.S. §§ 180-7 through 180-7.17.

The essential facts in this case are not in dispute.*fn1 On August 17, 1980, John David Little (decedent), petitioner's estranged husband, was the victim of a criminal homicide*fn2 in Clairton, Pennsylvania. At the time of his death, decedent was under an order of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, issued on August 13, 1974, directing him to pay support to petitioner and their three children, then living with her, in the amount of $72.00 per week or $18.00 per week per person. At all times pertinent to this case, the support order has been in effect without modification; however,

[ 89 Pa. Commw. Page 336]

    for several years prior to decedent's death, petitioner received no support payments from him, even though he had been gainfully self-employed during that period.

The sole issue for our review is whether the Board committed legal error in denying petitioner's claim.*fn3

Relying on Section 477.9(b)*fn4 of the CVCA and the Board's regulations at 37 Pa. Code § 191.9b,*fn5 petitioner argues that, under Levato v. Pennsylvania Crime Victim's Compensation Board, 73 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 518, 458 A.2d 665 (1983), the existence of a court order for support is sufficient to establish her right to compensation under the CVCA. In support of its action, the Board counters that petitioner's claim was properly denied because petitioner allegedly failed to establish that she would suffer "actual loss" under Section 477.9(c)*fn6 of the CVCA in that she could not genuinely

[ 89 Pa. Commw. Page 337]

    expect to receive future support from the decedent. The Board argues that the decedent's failure to comply with the support order for the years immediately preceding his death even though he had the financial means to do so and petitioner's failure to seek ...


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