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PENNSYLVANIA NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN ET AL. v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/22/88)

decided: December 22, 1988.

PENNSYLVANIA NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN ET AL., PETITIONERS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, INSURANCE DEPARTMENT, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Order of the Insurance Commissioner in the case of Pennsylvania National Organization for Women, Kathleen Baranski, Betty Jones, Betty J. Lee, Linda Martin, Linda L. Morrow, and Bridget M. Whitley v. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Company, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Allstate Insurance Company, Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and Insurance Services Office, Inc., No. R86-9-6.

COUNSEL

Laurie L. Williams, for petitioner; Of Counsel: Catharine A. MacKinnon, Institute for Research on Women and Gender.

Arthur Selkioff, Assistant Counsel, with him, Theodie L. Peterson, III, and Linda J. Wells, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

H. Lee Roussel, with him, Jeffrey B. Clay and Kevin J. Frederick, McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for intervenors, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Allstate Insurance Company.

Jane L. Dalton, with her, James J. McCabe, Duane, Morris & Heckscher, for intervenors, State Farm Auto Insurance Company, Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company and Insurance Services Office, Inc.

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

Author: Crumlish

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 285]

The Pennsylvania National Organization for Women and six individual petitioners*fn1 seek review of the Insurance Commissioner's adjudication and order dismissing those counts of their complaint*fn2 alleging violations of (1)

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 286]

The Casualty and Surety Rate Regulatory Act, Act of June 11, 1947, P.L. 538, as amended, 40 P.S. §§ 1181-1199 (hereinafter the Rate Act); (2) the equal protection guarantees of the Pennsylvania*fn3 and United States Constitutions;*fn4 and (3) the Pennsylvania Equal Rights Amendment.*fn5

The gravamen of NOW's complaint is that the Commissioner ignored evidence of the automobile insurers' discriminatory practices as well as evidence of the discriminatory effect on the individual petitioners, and on women as a group, which occurs when rate structures are not based on mileage.

Before turning to its principal contentions, we will address NOW's allegation that the presiding hearing officer improperly denied its motion to correct the hearing transcript. NOW argues that it discovered significant errors in that portion of the transcript in which it offered evidence of the practicability of a per mileage rate-making methodology, which the hearing officer refused

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 287]

    to correct. However, after a careful review of the record, we conclude that the presiding officer did not abuse his discretion in denying NOW's motion, submitted approximately one month after the time fixed for filing briefs. 1 Pa. Code § 35.132 requires that such motions be made no later than ten days in advance of the time fixed for filing final briefs. NOW's argument that it did not discover the errors until "the need arose" to review final pages of the transcript (Petitioners' brief, pp. 68-69) is unpersuasive.

Next, we shall address NOW's contention that the Commissioner's adjudication is ...


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