Appeal from PETITION FOR REVIEW Court, DEPT. OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS County.
Jens H. Damgaard, Donna M.J. Clark, Rhoads & Sinon, Harrisburg, and Daniel M. Corvelyn, Mervine, Brown, Newman, Williams & Mishkin, P.C., Stroudsburg, for petitioner.
Miles H. Mitchell, Dept. of Community Affairs, Harrisburg, for respondent.
Michael Vianello, for himself.
Craig and Barry, JJ., and Blatt, Senior Judge.
[ 127 Pa. Commw. Page 86]
The Pleasant Valley School District (petitioner) petitions for our review of the dismissal of its request for the
[ 127 Pa. Commw. Page 87]
assessment of attorney fees by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA).*fn1 We will affirm.
The petitioner's request for costs and fees came about as a result of the third complaint filed by Michael Vianello and other property owners, residents and/or taxpayers of the Pleasant Valley School District under the Local Government Unit Debt Act (Debt Act), Act of July 12, 1972, P.L. 781, as amended, 53 P.S. § 6780-1--6780-609.*fn2 After filing an answer to this complaint, the petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to 1 Pa Code § 35.54. As a part of both its answer and its motion to dismiss, the petitioner requested to be awarded costs and attorney fees by the DCA. In its brief in support of the motion to dismiss, it based its request for attorney fees on Section 2503 of the Judicial Code (Code), 42 Pa.C.S. § 2503.*fn3 The DCA ultimately granted the motion to dismiss, but denied the request for attorney fees. The DCA concluded that because it is a Commonwealth agency outside of the unified judicial system, it lacks the authority to assess counsel fees. We agree.
We will first address the timeliness issue raised by Intervenor Michael Vianello in his brief to this Court. Mr. Vianello argues that the petitioner's appeal should be dismissed because its petition for review was not timely filed. He contends that the time limitation set forth in Pa.R.A.P. 1512(b)(1) should apply to this appeal rather than Pa.R.A.P. 1512(a)(1). Rule 1512(b)(1) provides that a petition for review of a determination of the DCA "in any matter arising under" the Debt Act must be filed within 15 days after
[ 127 Pa. Commw. Page 88]
entry of the DCA order. Rule 1512(a)(1) provides generally for a 30-day appeal period ...