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JOSEPH SLOMNICKI v. ALLEGHENY COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT (02/25/88)

decided: February 25, 1988.

JOSEPH SLOMNICKI, APPELLANT
v.
ALLEGHENY COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT, APPELLEE. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE V. JOSEPH SLOMNICKI, APPELLANT



Appeals from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the cases of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Joseph Slomnicki, No. S.A. 1553 of 1985, and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Joseph Slomnicki, No. S.A. 2186 of 1985.

COUNSEL

Joseph Slomnicki, for himself.

Robert G. Borgoyn, Jr., Assistant County Solicitor, with him, James J. Dodaro, County Solicitor, for appellee.

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

Author: Barbieri

[ 114 Pa. Commw. Page 43]

Joseph Slomnicki (Appellant) appeals from an order of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas dismissing his appeal from a decision of the Allegheny County Health Department (Department) and from an order by the same court quashing his appeal from a summary conviction before a magistrate. Both appeals have been consolidated for our review.

Appellant is the owner of residential property located at 3101 Niagara Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The property was inspected by the Department on July 12, 1985, and found to be in violation of Article VI of the Allegheny County Health Department Rules and Regulations dealing with houses and rooming houses. By notice dated July 19, 1985, the Department informed Appellant of the specific violations involved and gave him until August 21, 1985, to abate them.

Pursuant to Article XI of the Allegheny County Health Department Rules and Regulations, Appellant received an administrative hearing on August 21, 1985. In a written decision that same day, the hearing officer held that the violations had not been abated and that Appellant was responsible for seeing that they were corrected. Appellant appealed this decision to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. After a hearing, the court dismissed the appeal by order dated April 2, 1987.

The Department filed a criminal complaint against Appellant on October 23, 1985, for failing to correct the violations listed in the notice of July 19, 1985. On November 22, 1985, Appellant was found guilty of failing to correct these violations. By order dated April 10, 1987, the trial court quashed Appellant's appeal of his conviction. In an opinion filed June 28, 1987, the trial court, relying on the transcript of the proceedings before

[ 114 Pa. Commw. Page 44]

    the magistrate, noted that it was quashing the appeal because Appellant had pled guilty to the charges below. However, by letter dated April 10, 1987, the magistrate notified the trial court that several transcripts from Housing Court summary convictions were inadvertently marked as pleas of "guilty" when in fact the plea entered was "not guilty". An amended transcript of proceedings before the magistrate was filed with the trial court on August 25, 1987. The amended transcript indicated that at the November 22, 1985, hearing, Appellant actually pled "not guilty" but was found to be guilty by the magistrate and fined $1,200.00 plus costs.

On appeal to this Court from the order of April 2, 1987, Appellant contends that he is not responsible for correcting the local health code violations and therefore the court below erred in dismissing his appeal. On appeal from the order of April 10, 1987, quashing the appeal of his conviction, Appellant also contends that he is not responsible for correcting the cited violations and further that the magistrate did not have jurisdiction to impose a fine as the appeal from the trial court's order of April 2, 1987, was pending.

We disagree with Appellant's contention that he is not responsible for seeing that the violations of the Department's rules and regulations are abated. Appellant maintains that although he is the owner of the property in question, the tenant must bear the expense of abating violations of the Department's rules and regulations. Appellant is appearing pro se and does not elaborate further on this argument in his brief. From a careful review of the record however, we have discerned that he is arguing that the lease agreement for the property in question absolves ...


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