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NATIONAL APARTMENT LEASING COMPANY A/K/A NALCO v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA BY ATTORNEY GENERAL LEROY S. ZIMMERMAN (12/30/86)

decided: December 30, 1986.

NATIONAL APARTMENT LEASING COMPANY A/K/A NALCO, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA BY ATTORNEY GENERAL LEROY S. ZIMMERMAN, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by Attorney General LeRoy S. Zimmerman v. National Apartment Leasing Company, a/k/a NALCO, No. GD 85-8228.

COUNSEL

Joan Shoemaker, with her, John V. Adams, Jr., Adams, Shoemaker & McSorley, for appellant.

Douglas P. Yauger, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 632]

National Apartment Leasing Company (NALCO) appeals here from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which imposed a fine of $500.00 upon NALCO for being in contempt of court. We affirm.

This case had its genesis in the trial court when the Commonwealth petitioned that court to enforce a subpoena served upon NALCO pursuant to the provisions of Section 919(a) of The Administrative Code of 1929 (Administrative Code).*fn1 NALCO admits that both

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 633]

    the subpoena and a copy of the petition to enforce the subpoena were personally served upon it. Attached to the petition at the time of service on May 3, 1985 were two orders, one which would fix a hearing and the other would direct NALCO to comply with the subpoena. The trial court signed the order directing compliance on the same date the petition was filed.*fn2 NALCO did not appear in court when the petition was presented nor did it file any answer to the petition. The trial court's order directed NALCO to present itself on May 22, 1985 at a specified location in Pittsburgh with the documents identified in the Attorney General's subpoena. It was further stated in the court's order that NALCO's failure to comply with that order would be punished as contempt.

NALCO did not appear; instead, on May 31, 1985 it filed a petition with the trial court to have the order of May 8, 1985 vacated. On the same day that the petition was filed, the trial court denied it and set yet another date for NALCO to comply with the Attorney General's subpoena. That order again warned that failure to comply with its terms would be punished as contempt. NALCO did not comply with that order.

The Commonwealth then filed a petition on July 19, 1985 for a rule to show cause why NALCO should not be held in contempt. The court entered an order making the rule returnable on August 14, 1985. The record does not show what transpired in court on that date but the trial court's order entered on that date states that "after hearing, at which counsel for Respondent [NALCO] admitted that the Respondent was in contempt of this court's order entered May 31, 1985", the court adjudged NALCO to be in contempt. The order further stated that NALCO could purge itself of the

[ 102 Pa. Commw. Page 634]

    contempt order by appearing on August 21, 1985 with the required documents at the place designated in the Attorney General's subpoena. NALCO did not obey that order whereupon the Commonwealth filed a motion for sanctions. A time was fixed by the court for a hearing on that motion. There is a transcript in the record of what occurred at the hearing which indicates that only counsel were present and that counsel for NALCO requested ...


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