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CONSUMER EDUCATION AND PROTECTIVE ASSOC. (CEPA) ET AL. v. SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (SEPTA). CONSUMER EDUCATION AND PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION (CEPA) (04/14/89)

decided: April 14, 1989.

CONSUMER EDUCATION AND PROTECTIVE ASSOC. (CEPA) ET AL.
v.
SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (SEPTA). CONSUMER EDUCATION AND PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION (CEPA), APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, in the case of Consumer Education and Protective Assoc. (CEPA) and Philadelphia Unemployment Project (PUP) and Philadelphia Citizens in Action (PCIA) and Jackie Weaver (Individually) v. Southeastern Pa. Transportation Authority (SEPTA), No. 6124, June Term, 1986.

COUNSEL

Irv Ackelsberg, Community Legal Services, Inc., for appellant.

David P. Bruton, with him, David L. Hall, Drinker, Biddle & Reath, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Craig, Barry, Colins, Palladino, McGinley and Smith. Opinion by Judge Colins.

Author: Colins

[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 144]

The Consumer Education and Protective Association (CEPA)*fn1 appeals from an order of the Philadelphia

[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 145]

County Court of Common Pleas (trial court) which affirmed the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's (SEPTA) fare increases effective in July, 1986, and denied CEPA's request for access to certain documents and information in SEPTA's control.

The Pennsylvania Urban Mass Transportation Law (Act 101)*fn2 sets forth SEPTA's legal powers and responsibilities. Among those powers, Section 303(d)(9)*fn3 of Act 101 permits SEPTA "[t]o fix, alter, charge and collect fares, rates, rentals and other charges for its facilities . . . at reasonable rates to be determined exclusively by it, . . . ." Accordingly, pursuant to this power, on June 25, 1986, SEPTA's Board of Directors unanimously adopted a budget for fiscal year 1987, which included an estimated twenty-five percent (25%) fare increase to become effective July 6, 1986.

Prior to the implementation of the fare increase, public hearings were held in accordance with Section 334(b)*fn4 of Act 101 to consider SEPTA's proposed operating budget and tariffs increasing passenger fares on all SEPTA divisions. The hearings were scheduled and subsequently held in each of the five counties of Southeastern Pennsylvania between April 21, 1986, and May 1, 1986. Copies of the budget proposal and tariffs were made available for public inspection at the Office of the Secretary of the Board of SEPTA, as well as at a number of specifically identified public libraries throughout the five counties.

Prior to the Philadelphia hearing, CEPA's counsel requested an opportunity to inspect and copy various documents in SEPTA's possession for the purpose of

[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 146]

    preparing for the hearings. CEPA's requests included, inter alia :

(1) All documents referred to by witnesses in the course of his/her testimony, or which were relied on in the preparation of the testimony.

(2) All written testimony and all internal memoranda concerning the testimony prepared by or for the witnesses scheduled to testify.

(3) All work sheets, reports, studies, memoranda, and other documents containing the actual data and calculations used by SEPTA in making the expense projections listed in the operating budget proposal.

(4) SEPTA's liability policies.

(5) Claims data from which 1986 and 1987 pay out estimates were derived, including the stage of individual litigation and method used to arrive at estimated liability in individual cases.

(6) All internal memoranda setting forth or establishing policy or practice for the settlement and/or litigation of claims against SEPTA.

(7) All reports and memoranda prepared since 1983 which (a) evaluated the performance of the claims/legal department, (b) compared SEPTA's annual claims liability to that of other transit systems, or (c) analyzed in any way ...


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