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FORD MOTOR COMPANY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/10/87)

decided: July 10, 1987.

FORD MOTOR COMPANY, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE BOARD OF VEHICLE MANUFACTURERS, DEALERS AND SALESPERSONS, RESPONDENT



Original Jurisdiction in case of Ford Motor Company v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, State Board of Vehicle Manufacturers, Dealers and Salespersons.

COUNSEL

Robert E. Kelly, Jr., Duane, Morris & Heckscher, for petitioner.

Jerome T. Foerster, Deputy Attorney General, with him, Andrew S. Gordon, Chief Deputy Attorney General, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for respondent.

Vincent J. Grogan, with him, Kathryn L. Simpson, Grogan, Graffam, McGinley & Lucchino, P.C., for intervenor, McCrackin-Sturman Ford, Inc.

Judges Craig and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 315]

Pursuant to a post-trial motion in our original jurisdiction, McCrackin-Sturman Ford, Inc., a vehicle dealership, requests entry of judgment in its favor, or in the alternative, a new trial, following an adjudication by Senior Judge Bucher of this court upholding the right of the Ford Motor Company (Ford) to establish, over McCrackin's protest,*fn1 an additional Ford dealership within McCrackin's market area.

Our disposition of McCrackin's motion addresses Judge Bucher's determination that the failure of the State Board of Vehicle Manufacturers, Dealers and Salespersons (board) to make a final determination within

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 316]

    the statutory time period as extended by the parties, entitled Ford to a deemed decision that good cause does not exist for refusing to permit Ford to establish a new vehicle dealership in a proposed location under section 7 of the Board of Vehicles Act.*fn2 We must also consider whether the merits of this matter may be constitutionally resolved on a deemed decision basis.

Before Judge Bucher's adjudication, the Supreme Court, in Ford Motor Co. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, State Board of Vehicle Manufacturers, Dealers and Salespersons, 510 Pa. 91, 507 A.2d 49 (1986), had reversed this court's denial of McCrackin's motion to intervene

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 317]

    before the board, and had concluded that the board's oral vote upholding McCrackin's protest did not constitute a "final determination" as required by section 7 of the Board of Vehicles Act, 63 P.S. § 818.7. On the latter point, the Supreme Court, stating that the board is a Commonwealth Agency, relied on section 507 of the Administrative Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. § 507, which requires that "[a]ll adjudications of a Commonwealth Agency shall be in writing . . . ."

Because the Supreme Court, in its opinion, set forth a detailed history of this case, we now recount only those findings of fact made by Senior Judge Bucher, in his October 29, 1986 opinion, which are necessary ...


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