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PENNSYLVANIA COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND MARY JANE ISENBERG v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION (12/29/89)

decided: December 29, 1989.

PENNSYLVANIA COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND MARY JANE ISENBERG, PETITIONERS,
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT. DAVID M. BARASCH, CONSUMER ADVOCATE, PETITIONER, V. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT. BARRY STEINHARDT ET AL., PETITIONERS, V. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT. CONSUMER EDUCATION AND PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION ET AL., PETITIONERS, V. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



PETITION FOR REVIEW (PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION).

COUNSEL

David T. Kluz, Harrisburg, for petitioners, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Mary Jane Isenberg.

Daniel Clearfield, with him, Irwin A. Popowsky, Senior Asst. Consumer Advocates, Harrisburg, for petitioner, David M. Barasch, Consumer Advocate.

Scott Burris, Philadelphia, for petitioner, Barry Steinhardt, The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

Steven P. Hershey, Philadelphia, for petitioners, Consumer Education And Protective Association and Carol Walton.

John Povilaitis, Chief Counsel, with him, Bohdan R. Pankiw, Deputy Chief Counsel, and John A. Levin, Asst. Counsel, for respondent.

Irving R. Segal, with him, Gerard J. St. John, Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, Philadelphia, and D. Michael Stroud, James G. Pachulski, Washington, D.C., Julia A. Conover, and Daniel E. Monagle, Philadelphia, for intervenor, The Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania.

Crumlish, Jr., President Judge.

Author: Crumlish

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Mary Jane Isenberg (Coalition) and David M. Barasch, Consumer Advocate (Barasch), have filed a joint application for a partial stay pending appeal seeking, in the alternative, (1) an injunction pending appeal prohibiting the intervenor Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania (Bell) from offering Caller ID service to the general public unless a blocking option is also offered, or (2) a partial stay pending appeal limiting Caller ID service to emergency service providers. Similar applications were filed by Barry Steinhardt, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (ACLU), and the Consumer Education and Protective Association and Carol Walton (CEPA); a hearing on all three applications*fn1 was conducted on Monday, December 18, 1989.*fn2 These applications for a partial stay are granted.

In the underlying proceeding, the Commission rejected the recommendation of Administrative Law Judge Michael Schnierle and entered an order directing Bell to offer Caller ID service to the general public. Caller ID allows a subscriber to identify the telephone number from which a call

[ 130 Pa. Commw. Page 422]

    is being made, including private and non-listed numbers, through the use of a device which displays that number and then stores it in memory for future retrieval. The order further directed that Bell only be required to provide "blocking" protection to domestic violence intervention and law enforcement agencies and individuals certified as being subject to the risk of personal injury. "Blocking" enables a caller to prevent his or her phone number from being identified by a Caller ID device.

The applicants contend that they have established the prerequisites for the granting of their requested relief under Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission v. Process Gas Consumers Group, 502 Pa. 545, 467 A.2d 805 (1983). Under Process Gas, this Court may grant a stay if the applicants make a strong showing that they are likely to prevail on the merits; if they show they will suffer irreparable injury without the stay; and if the stay will not substantially harm other interested parties or adversely affect the public interest. Moreover, in announcing the Process Gas standard, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court specifically stated that when confronted with a case in which ...


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