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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. DEMETRIUS YANDRICH (08/20/87)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: August 20, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF DRIVER LICENSING, APPELLANT
v.
DEMETRIUS YANDRICH, APPELLEE

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Demetrius Yandrich, No. 579 of 1985.

COUNSEL

Robert C. Bell, Assistant Counsel, with him, Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Counsel, Spencer A. Manthorpe, Chief Counsel, and Jay C. Waldman, General Counsel, for appellant.

Robert Rade Stone, for appellee.

Judges Craig and Barry, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 548]

The Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing (Department) appeals the July 1, 1985 order of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County (trial court) which sustained the appeal of Demetrius Yandrich from the Department's suspension of his operating privileges*fn1 and which reinstated Yandrich's license.

On March 28, 1985, the Department notified Yandrich that, due to a December 28, 1984 conviction for violating Section 3362 of the Vehicle Code (Code), 75 Pa. C.S. § 3362 (speeding), three points had been assessed against his driving record. Because of this assessment, Yandrich's point accumulation then rose to thirteen, and the notice advised him that his operating privileges would be suspended effective May 2, 1985 for sixty-five days pursuant to Section 1539 of the Code, 75 Pa. C.S. § 1539 (suspension of operating privilege on accumulation of points).*fn2

Yandrich appealed to the trial court, which after a de novo hearing, issued the order here involved. The trial court reasoned that, inasmuch as the Department's Exhibit No. 8, a citation for a traffic violation, did not bear the handwritten signature of the district justice involved,

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 549]

    or a facsimile thereof, on the reverse, certification of disposition, the three points assessed against Yandrich for his September 29, 1982 conviction*fn3 could not be recognized for the purposes of Section 1539.

On appeal, the Department contends that the trial court erred by concluding that Exhibit No. 8 was incompetent to establish that Yandrich had been convicted as related thereon. The Department also contends that, even if the trial court correctly excluded the points related to Exhibit No. 8, it should have only reduced Yandrich's suspension to fifty-five days on an eleven point accumulation.

We have previously held, of course, that a rubber-stamp signature is valid on a certification of a traffic violation conviction. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety v. Ballard, 17 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 310, 331 A.2d 578 (1975). Further, it is the burden of the party challenging the validity of such a method of authentication to prove that the person so identified did not intend it to be his signature. Id. There has been no showing here that the district justice involved did not intend the rubber-stamp imprint of his name, in print-style lettering, as opposed to handwritten-script style, on the conviction certification in question to be his signature. We conclude, therefore, that the trial court erred in excluding the points related to Exhibit No. 8 from Yandrich's accumulation.

While the foregoing would seem to dispose of this appeal, we believe that we must further resolve the question raised by Yandrich, i.e., whether or not a concession, made at the trial court hearing by the attorney

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 550]

    for the Department, that Yandrich's point total, including the disputed three points, should have been eleven, not thirteen, is binding on the Department.*fn4

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 551]

As the agent of his client, of course, acts or statements made by an attorney, in the course of employment and within the scope of the attorney's authority, are binding on the client. Eldridge v. Melcher, 226 Pa. Superior Ct. 381, 313 A.2d 750 (1973). Moreover, a client is also bound by distinct and formal admissions made by his attorney during the course of a trial when made for the purpose of dispensing with formal proof. Id. In the matter sub judice, we believe, therefore, that the concession by the Department's attorney as to the number of points on Yandrich's driving record must be held to be binding on the Department.*fn5

Accordingly, we will reverse the July 1, 1985 order of the trial court and will reinstate, as modified to fifty-five days, the Department's suspension of Yandrich's operating privilege.

Order

And Now, this 20th day of August, 1987, the September 1, 1985 order of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County in the above-captioned matter is reversed

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 552]

    and the suspension of the operating privilege of Demetrius Yandrich by the Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing, is reinstated, as modified.

Disposition

Reversed. Suspension reinstated, as modified.


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