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SKIPPACK COMMUNITY AMBULANCE ASSOCIATION v. TOWNSHIP SKIPPACK (12/08/87)

decided: December 8, 1987.

SKIPPACK COMMUNITY AMBULANCE ASSOCIATION, INC., APPELLANT
v.
TOWNSHIP OF SKIPPACK, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in the case of Township of Skippack v. Skippack Community Ambulance Association, Inc., No. 85-01999.

COUNSEL

Philip R. Detweiler, Philip R. Detweiler & Associates, P.C., for appellant.

Alan E. Boroff, with him, Eileen P. Grant, Boroff, Harris & Heller, P.C., for appellee.

Judges Craig, Doyle and Colins, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 516]

Skippack Community Ambulance Association, Inc. (Association) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County granting a preliminary injunction in favor of the Township of Skippack (Township).

Until this litigation, the Association, a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation, had been providing ambulance service to the Township since at least 1965. The Skippack Ambulance Corps (Corps) is the operational division of the Association, consisting of about thirty volunteers who staff and operate the ambulances.

On January 28, 1985, an ongoing dispute between the Association's board of directors and the individual Corps members culminated in the members relinquishing their equipment and keys to the ambulance building. Shortly thereafter, on January 30, the Association changed the locks on the ambulance building, effectively locking out the dissident members of the Corps. Talks among the Association, the members of the Corps and the Township failed to resolve the dispute.

The Township, fearing that the dispute would cause the Association to be unable to render adequate emergency ambulance service to the Township residents, filed a complaint in equity on February 7, 1985 in the court of common pleas seeking an injunction requiring the Association to provide new keys to members of the Corps, to return all equipment to Corps members, and to return Corps members to the status they held on January 28, 1985. The next day, the court of common pleas entered a temporary restraining order and, after a hearing, issued a preliminary injunction on February 28, 1985 granting the above-requested relief. The Association appeals. We find it necessary to consider only one issue raised by the Association's appeal. Since we hold that the Township lacked standing to seek an injunction,

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 517]

    we do not consider any of the Association's other contentions.

With regard to the standing issue, the Township contends that it has standing here by virtue of Section 702, cl. XLVII, of the Second Class Township Code (Code), Act of May 1, 1933, P.L. 103, as amended, 53 P.S. ยง 65747, which gives the Township the power "[t]o take all needful means for securing the safety of persons or property within the township." The contention of the Township is incorrect. Section 702, cl. XLVII, has never been interpreted as affording a second class township an express or implied mandate granting it capacity to sue generally for the betterment or protection of its citizens. Rather, "[a]n examination of Section 702 indicates that its language is most inappropriate and inadequate to evidence any intent on the part of the legislature to delegate to second class townships vast and extensive police powers." Commonwealth v. Ashenfelder, 413 Pa. 517, 522, 198 A.2d 514, 516 (1964).

Moreover, it is well settled that townships, political subdivisions of the Commonwealth, possess only such powers as have been granted to them by the legislature, either in express terms or which arise by necessary implication or are incident to powers expressly granted ...


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