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Kneller v. Stewart

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

March 30, 2015

David Kneller, Petitioner
v.
Marsha C. Stewart, Respondent

 Argued, March 12, 2015

Appealed from No. ORIGINAL JURISDICTION.

Brian C. Caffrey, Harrisburg, for petitioner.

Geri Romanello St. Joseph, Philadelphia, for respondent.

BEFORE: HONORABLE DAN PELLEGRINI, President Judge, HONORABLE ANNE E. COVEY, Judge, HONORABLE JAMES GARDNER COLINS, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 1270

COLINS, SENIOR JUDGE

This case is a mandamus action in this Court's original jurisdiction brought by a constable (Constable) against a Magisterial District Court Judge (MDC Judge). Before the Court are the MDC Judge's preliminary objections. For the reasons set forth below, we sustain the MDC Judge's preliminary objection to subject matter jurisdiction and order that the action be transferred to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

On December 11, 2014, Constable filed the instant petition for review seeking a judgment in mandamus ordering the MDC Judge to pay Constable $9,477.50 in fees for serving warrants issued by the MDC Judge's court, plus interest and costs, and requiring the MDC Judge to pay him such fees in the future upon submission of proof of rendering those services. (Petition for Review at 4 & PP3-10.) Constable asserts that the MDC Judge has a mandatory, ministerial duty to pay his fees under 44 Pa. C.S. § 7161(e), which provides:

(e) Payment.--All civil, landlord-tenant and criminal fees shall be paid by the court to the constable as soon as possible and in no case not more than 15 days in civil and landlord-tenant cases and 30 days in criminal cases after the service is performed and a proper request for payment is submitted, provided that, in criminal cases where the books and accounts of the relevant county offices are payable on a monthly basis, payment

Page 1271

shall be made not more than 15 days after the close of the month.

44 Pa. C.S. § 7161(e) (emphasis added). ( See Petition for Review PP8, 10.) Mandamus is the only relief sought by the Petition for Review.

The MDC Judge has filed three preliminary objections to the petition for review: (1) a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, (2) a demurrer, and (3) a motion to dismiss for failure to join indispensable or necessary parties, alleging that the Dauphin County Commissioners and Controller must be joined because the County is responsible for payment of the Magisterial District Court's expenses.[1] Constable does not dispute that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this action, but submits that the case should be transferred to the Supreme Court, rather than ...


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