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ERIC H. MEDROW v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/12/88)

decided: October 12, 1988.

ERIC H. MEDROW, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation v. Eric Medrow, No. 86-07115.

COUNSEL

Scott E. Lash, Fry & Golden, for appellant.

Donald H. Poorman, Assistant Counsel, with him, Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Chief Counsel, and John L. Heaton, Chief Counsel, for appellee.

Judges Barry and Smith, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry. This decision was reached prior to the resignation of Judge MacPhail.

Author: Barry

[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 307]

Eric H. Medrow (licensee) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County dismissing his appeal from a three month suspension imposed on him by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The licensee was the owner and operator of a motor vehicle that was uninsured at the time of a reportable accident on June 11, 1986. DOT suspended his driver's license for three months pursuant to Section 1785 of the Vehicle Code (Code), 75 Pa. C.S. § 1785. Licensee appealed to the common pleas court which, after holding a de novo hearing on the matter, dismissed the appeal. This appeal then followed.

In the present case, licensee does not argue that DOT failed to meet its burden of proving that he had failed to prove the existence of the conditions necessary to suspend his license pursuant to Section 1785. Instead, licensee argues that 67 Pa. Code § 219.7, a regulation which specified the length of a suspension imposed pursuant to Section 1785, is inconsistent with the Code and that DOT, in enacting that regulation, exceeded its authority. Our scope of review in an appeal from the suspension of operating privileges is limited to a determination of whether there has been an erroneous conclusion of law, or whether the trial court's decision demonstrates a manifest abuse of discretion. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing v. Miller, 107 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 458, 528 A.2d 1030 (1987).

[ 120 Pa. Commw. Page 308]

An administrative agency's interpretation of its own regulation is controlling unless (1) that interpretation is plainly erroneous or inconsistent with the regulation or (2) the regulation is inconsistent with the statute under which it is promulgated. E. Smalis Painting Company v. Department of Transportation, 70 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 90, 452 A.2d 601 (1982). The regulation in question reads as follows:

Failure to show proof of financial responsibility as required by 75 Pa. C.S. §§ 1784 and 1785 (relating to proof of financial responsibility following violation and proof of financial responsibility following accident) will result in a three month suspension of the vehicle owner's operating privilege if the owner was driving at the time of the traffic offense or accident.

Licensee here does not contend that the Department's interpretation of this regulation is plainly erroneous. He does, however, argue that the regulation is inconsistent with the statute under which it is promulgated. In making this ...


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