from the state treasury, Fitchik cautioned that "no single Urbano factor is dispositive." 873 F.2d at 659. Accordingly, Urbano -Fitchik requires a comprehensive analysis of the entity in question.
Historically, Pennsylvania's statutory law has consistently placed the obligation for funding of the trial courts on county government and not the state. See County of Allegheny v. Commonwealth, 517 Pa. 65, 71-2, 534 A.2d 760, 763 (1987). Even after the Unified Judicial System was established by the 1968 Amendments, the Pennsylvania Legislature reaffirmed the principle that funding for the non-statewide courts "shall be paid by the respective political subdivisions." 42 Pa. C.S.A. §§ 3544, 3722. In 1987, however, Pennsylvania's Supreme Court struck down that statutory funding scheme as repugnant to the state Constitution. In County of Allegheny, the Unified Judicial System created by Article V was held to have mandated the State to fund the trial courts. Id., 517 Pa. at 75-6, 534 A.2d at 765. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court stayed its order so as to give the Legislature the opportunity to appropriate the requisite funding. Id. To date, six years later, such legislation has not occurred, and the stay of County of Allegheny remains. See Curtis v. Cleland, 122 Pa. Commw. 328, 331, 552 A.2d 316, 318 (1988); Curtis v. Cleland, 137 Pa. Commw. 537, 541, 586 A.2d 1029, 1031 (1991).
The Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia receives some state money. In fiscal year 1990, the Court of Common Pleas revenues were comprised of: City of Philadelphia General Funds (57%),
locally generated non-tax revenues (7.9%), revenues from state government (21.2%), and revenues from grants (13.9%). In fiscal year 1991, its revenues were: City of Philadelphia General Funds (56.6%), locally generated non-tax revenues (7.9%), revenues from state government (21.2%), and revenues from grants (13.9%). In fiscal year 1992: City of Philadelphia General Funds (58%), locally generated non-tax revenues (6.7%), revenues from state government (17.5%), and revenues from grants (17.7%).
Fitchik noted that "the most striking financial detail is that NJT's money does not come predominately from the state." 873 F.2d at 660 (emphasis in original). Instead, New Jersey provided "less than 33% of NJT's operating funds." Id. In comparison, Pennsylvania gives defendant courts an even smaller proportion of funding. In recent years, less than 22 percent of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas revenues have come from the state, and none of the revenue of the Municipal Court does so.
Additionally, the salaries of all employees of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County and the Philadelphia Municipal Court are paid from City of Philadelphia appropriations. Paychecks are drawn on City accounts. Only the judges, who are conceded to be state officials, receive salaries paid from the state treasury.
Given the existing circumstances, funding is a strong factor arguing against according defendants Eleventh Amendment immunity at the present time.
(2) Status Under State Law
Nonetheless, under Pennsylvania jurisprudential law, defendant courts are part of the state body politic. The Pennsylvania Constitution expressly identifies defendants as members of the Unified Judicial System. As such, they have a more integral or organic status than an agency.
Even if, as plaintiff contends, defendants have the power to sue and be sued in their own name, the plain meaning of the Pennsylvania Constitution is that courts are state entities. See County of Allegheny, 517 Pa. at 75-6, 534 A.2d at 765.
Moreover, the uncontested facts demonstrate the degree of administrative authority exercised by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in recent years over defendants' operations. Dramatic steps have emphasized the pyramidal structure and inclusive nature of the state's Unified Judicial System. Personnel, budgetary, judicial, and administrative matters have all received the Court's close scrutiny and control. Defendants recount that after County of Allegheny, which was decided in 1987, the following events occurred.
In December, 1990, the Court designated one of its members to oversee the administration of the Philadelphia courts "with full authority to approve, implement and monitor all changes and reforms deemed necessary and proper until further order of this Court." Judicial Administration Order, Docket No. 104 (Pa. December 19, 1990) (Bernice G. LaBoo, Chief Clerk, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania). It gave another justice supervisory authority over the Philadelphia courts' budget. Id. In October, 1991, it prohibited those courts from "altering the status quo of the administration of their respective courts or divisions without the prior approval of this Court through its designate Justice Ralph J. Cappy . . . ." No. 112 Judicial Administration Order, Docket No. 1 (Pa. October 24, 1991) (Cappy, J.). On March 10, 1993, the justice in charge of administration noted that Supreme Court control and monitoring of the lower courts during the preceding two years had constituted "day-to-day involvement." Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Directive from Justice Cappy, March 10, 1993, at 1.
Since 1991, the Philadelphia courts have been given zero-growth budgets, any increase to be subject to Supreme Court approval. See deposition of Geoffrey Gallas, at pp. 28-29. The justice supervising fiscal matters directed significant staffing cuts. Id., at p. 37. For several years, until March 10, 1993, hiring and firing decisions within the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia required the approval of the designated justice in addition to that of the Philadelphia courts' administrative judge and Executive Administrator. See deposition of Geoffrey Gallas, at pp. 16, 21.
The Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts, operating directly under the Supreme Court, now administers the procurement of all goods, supplies, and equipment for the Philadelphia courts. See No. 110 Judicial Administration Order, Docket No. 1 (Pa. June 27, 1991) (Papadakos, J.).
Given all of these considerations, the autonomy factor - or lack of autonomy - suggests that defendants are members of Pennsylvania's Unified Judicial System and, as such, state entities.
In sum, defendant courts, while still hybrids in fact, are state entities in law. Although it is stipulated that a judgment in this case would be paid by the City of Philadelphia, that does not mean the City would be legally obligated to do so. Given time, it would seem that the dictates of County of Allegheny will have to be complied with and that the state's Unified Judicial System will become fully realized. Under the Pennsylvania Constitution and the holding of its highest court, that reality now exists as an unequivocal part of state law. The state Legislature's reluctance to accept this fundamental construct, at least as regards central funding, does not preclude recovery from the State Treasury. If a judgment for money damages against a Philadelphia court were before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, it is predictable, under County of Allegheny, that an order would be entered directing the State Treasurer to make payment. That order would no doubt be enforceable.
The Pennsylvania Legislature's continuing confrontation with the state Supreme Court is not a justiciable basis for considering the Unified Judicial System to have been permanently repudiated or somehow invalidated. Otherwise, the Legislature could strip away the trial courts' Eleventh Amendment protection despite the organic mandate of the Pennsylvania Constitution to the contrary. The Legislature's defiant position on court funding is unlawful and unsupportable. Under our form of government, the arrangement and allocation of powers must be respected. Judicial Review and the Rule of Law are not optional matters for a legislature's self-serving determination.
But these principles aside, even if the trial courts were regarded as hybrids in fact, the Urbano -Fitchik factors would still tilt in favor of state entity. The factors of status under state law and autonomy weigh heavily in that direction. To hold that they are overcome in this case by funding alone would be to ignore the specific instructions of Fitchik. Support for this conclusion can be found in the Ninth Circuit's decision in Greater Los Angeles Council on Deafness, 812 F.2d at 1110, as well as numerous cases in a variety of jurisdictions.
Accordingly, defendants' motion for summary judgment based on Eleventh Amendment immunity will be granted.
Edmund V. Ludwig, J.
ORDER - June 30, 1993, Filed
AND NOW, this 30th day of June, 1993, defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted.
Edmund V. Ludwig, J.