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BERNARD GELMAN AND HOLT CARGO SYSTEMS v. PHILADELPHIA PORT CORPORATION AND CITY PHILADELPHIA (08/19/88)

decided: August 19, 1988.

BERNARD GELMAN AND HOLT CARGO SYSTEMS, INC., PETITIONERS
v.
PHILADELPHIA PORT CORPORATION AND CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, RESPONDENTS



Original Jurisdiction in the case of Bernard Gelman and Holt Cargo Systems, Inc. v. Philadelphia Port Corporation and City of Philadelphia.

COUNSEL

David L. Narkiewicz, with him, Lawrence J. Tabas, for petitioners.

George E. Moore, with him, Darryl J. May, and Dexter R. Hamilton, Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll, for defendant, Philadelphia Port Corporation.

Carl Oxholm, III, Chief Deputy City Solicitor, for defendant, City of Philadelphia.

Judges Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry, Colins, McGinley and Smith. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. President Judge Crumlish, Jr. did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Macphail

[ 119 Pa. Commw. Page 16]

Bernard Gelman and Holt Cargo Systems, Inc. (Petitioners) have filed a petition for review in our original jurisdiction seeking equitable relief against Philadelphia Port Corporation (PPC) and the City of Philadelphia (City) for certain alleged violations of duty owed to Petitioners. PPC and City have filed preliminary objections, inter alia, questioning this Court's jurisdiction to hear the issue.

Inasmuch as the parties have stipulated that if we lack jurisdiction with respect to the action against PPC, we necessarily lack jurisdiction as to the action against City, we will dispose of the matter on the narrow issue of whether PPC is an agency of the Commonwealth.

Petitioners seek to invoke our original jurisdiction under the provisions of Section 761(a) of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa. C.S. § 761(a), which provides that we have jurisdiction of civil actions against the Commonwealth

[ 119 Pa. Commw. Page 17]

    government. Section 102 of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa. C.S. § 102 defines "Commonwealth government" in pertinent part as including "the departments, boards, commissions, authorities and officers and agencies of the Commonwealth, but the term does not include any political subdivision, municipal or other local authority, or any officer or agency of any such political division or local authority."

In their amended petition for review, Petitioners characterize PPC as "a quasi-public agency which is a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation." Attached to the petition for review as exhibits are copies of the articles of incorporation and the bylaws of PPC.

Although admitting, as they must, that this Court has no original*fn1 jurisdiction in suits against non-profit corporations, Petitioners contend that their suit is against PPC as a quasi-public agency of the Commonwealth and City. They further contend that if PPC is a private, non-profit corporation, then the ...


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