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SANDRA A. FISHER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/25/86)

decided: April 25, 1986.

SANDRA A. FISHER, ET AL.,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE. GREGORY MATIC, V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE



Application for Reargument.

Larsen, Justice, dissenting.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 510 Pa. Page 395]

Application denied.

[ 510 Pa. Page 396]

LARSEN, Justice, dissenting.

I dissent to the denial of reargument in this case and to this court's inexplicable refusal to address the extremely important equal protection and due process issues that have been raised and preserved by petitioners throughout this proceeding.

On October 21, 1985, this Court decided Fisher v. Commonwealth Department of Public Welfare, 509 Pa. 164, 501 A.2d 617 (1985). The plurality opinion*fn1 of Justice Papadakos states:

The sole issue raised by these appeals is Commonwealth Court's conclusion that persons who did not meet statutory requirements for eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits have "exhausted" their unemployment compensation benefits so as to meet the elements of the legislative definition of chronically needy persons. At issue is the meaning of the word "exhausted" as used in the Public Welfare Code.

509 Pa. at 168, 501 A.2d at 619. Reviewing and discussing only this so-called "sole issue", the plurality held:

Because we read our statute and the legislative history behind it to impose stricter standards for claimants to receive benefits under the Act, we must conclude that the Legislature intended "exhaust" to mean the Appellees must have qualified for and received unemployment compensation benefits and depleted their entitlement to same in order to qualify for and receive general assistance benefits as chronically needy persons.

509 Pa. at 171, 501 A.2d at 620. Joined in the result by two Justices (see note 1, supra), the plurality reversed the Commonwealth Court and denied general assistance relief to the appellees/claimants.

[ 510 Pa. Page 397]

The concurring and dissenting opinions responded only to this "sole issue" of statutory construction. However, as petitioners*fn2 and amicus curiae AFL-CIO correctly point out in their application for reargument, the statutory construction of the Public Welfare Code and the word "exhausted" ...


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