Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of Anthony Peace, dated January 28, 1985.
Anthony Peace, petitioner, for himself.
Jean E. Graybill, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Craig and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Barbieri.
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Anthony Peace*fn1 petitions for review of an order of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW). That order denied his appeal and upheld the decision of the Community Legal Services (CLS) to deny legal services to him in connection with a civil lawsuit. We affirm.
The pertinent facts are as follows. Peace was terminated by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation
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Authority (SEPTA) from his job as a bus driver on April 22, 1982. He unsuccessfully challenged his discharge through a union grievance procedure and was not rehired. In 1983, he filed suit in federal district court against SEPTA and his former supervisor for wrongful discharge seeking reinstatement to his former position as well as back pay and damages. That suit was dismissed and he subsequently amended it to include a discrimination claim. That amended complaint was dismissed after a hearing on February 28, 1984.
On January 24, 1984, Peace applied to the CLS for legal representation in his civil suit against SEPTA. After reviewing his case and based upon the information which CLS gleaned from the prior proceedings, it notified him on April 16, 1984 that it would not represent him in that it concluded that his case lacked legal merit and was fee-generating. CLS is prohibited from taking fee-generating cases by 42 U.S.C. § 1397. Peace appealed the CLS denial and a fair hearing was held before a Hearing Examiner on August 9, 1984. Five witnesses whom Peace desired to call and testify were not present at that time but he elected to proceed without them. On October 19, 1984, the Hearing Examiner entered an order in which Peace's appeal was denied and the CLS decision was upheld. He appealed that order to the Office of Hearings and Appeals of DPW which affirmed the Hearing Examiner in an adjudication dated October 22, 1984. Peace's request for reconsideration was denied by a final order dated January 28, 1985. It is from that final order of January 28, 1985 that Peace now petitions for review.
In this appeal, Peace contends that (1) DPW erred when it upheld the CLS conclusion that his case was without legal merit and (2) that he is entitled to
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a rehearing where the five absent witnesses could testify regarding the merits of his case. DPW has moved to dismiss the appeal as untimely and for failure of Peace to comply with the Rules of Appellate Procedure. We shall first address DPW's motion to dismiss and then turn to the merits of ...