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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CHERYL LYNN BROWN (04/25/89)

decided: April 25, 1989.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF DRIVER LICENSING, APPELLANT
v.
CHERYL LYNN BROWN, APPELLEE. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF DRIVER LICENSING, APPELLANT V. DAVID A. CLAYTON, SR., APPELLEE. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, APPELLANT V. MARK D. BOROS, APPELLEE. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY, APPELLANT V. PAUL E. HUMBERT, SR., APPELLEE



Appeals from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, in the cases of In Re: Appeal of Cheryl Lynn Brown from suspension of operator's license, No. 5945 of 1986; Appeal of David A. Clayton, Sr. from suspension of operator's license, No. 6881 of 1986; Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation v. Mark D. Boros, No. 87-3644, and appeal No. 530 C.D. 1988, from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Paul E. Humbert, Sr., No. 965 of 1987, G.D.

COUNSEL

Melissa K. Dively, Assistant Counsel, with her, Robert C. Bell, Assistant Counsel, Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Chief Counsel, and John L. Heaton, Chief Counsel, for appellant.

Thomas O. Vreeland, McCune and Vreeland, for appellee, Cheryl Lynn Brown.

Thomas J. Graham, for appellee, David A. Clayton, Sr.

Thomas B. Kostolansky, for appellee, Mark D. Boros.

Ewing D. Newcomer, Newcomer & Newcomer, for appellee, Paul E. Humbert.

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

Author: Craig

[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 374]

These four cases involve review of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's (DOT) recall of the appellees' motor vehicle and school bus drivers' licenses pursuant to department regulations, because the drivers suffer from certain chronic conditions such as epilepsy and heart disease. The key issue is whether, after DOT has shown the existence of a specified diagnosis of one of these conditions, the driver may, by way of an affirmative defense, look to the Federal Rehabilitation Act (Act) to challenge DOT's action.

Three of these cases involve persons who have experienced epileptic seizures. Those cases are before us on appeal from decisions of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County which sustained the drivers' appeals from DOT's recalls of their licenses. In the fourth case, which involves a school bus driver whose license DOT recalled because of the driver's heart condition, we consider DOT's appeal of a decision by the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County which remanded the case to

[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 375]

DOT for additional testimony in light of our first Stober*fn1 decision. (Stober I).

Although none of these drivers raised the defense of the Rehabilitation Act, the judges in the three seizure cases upheld similar affirmative defenses by concluding that DOT's applicable regulations were unreasonable, and in Humbert's case the trial court judge ...


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