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B.B. v. Department of Public Welfare

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

June 10, 2015

B.B. In re: J.K., Petitioner
v.
Department of Public Welfare, Respondent

Submitted April 24, 2015

Appealed from No. 021-14-0326. State Agency: Bureau of Hearings and Appeals.

Michael J. Rudinski, Williamsport, for petitioner.

Charles F. Greevy, III, Williamsport, for intervenor Lycoming County Department of Children and Youth.

BEFORE: HONORABLE BERNARD L. McGINLEY, Judge, HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, Judge, HONORABLE ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge.

OPINION

ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge

Page 483

B.B. petitions for review of the October 17, 2014, order of the Secretary of the Department of Public Welfare[1] (Secretary) denying B.B.'s request for reconsideration of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW), Bureau of Hearings and Appeals' (Bureau) final administrative action dated September 16, 2014. The Bureau determined that insufficient grounds existed to permit an appeal nunc pro tunc and upheld the decision of the DPW's Director of the Division of Operations (Director) to dismiss B.B.'s appeal of an indicated report of child abuse as untimely. We reverse and remand.

On July 17, 2013, ChildLine notified B.B. that he is listed on the statewide

Page 484

central registry of child abuse as a perpetrator in an indicated report of child abuse. On August 14, 2013, B.B. appealed, seeking review and expungement of the indicated report of child abuse.[2] On October 4, 2013, ChildLine notified B.B. that it had reviewed the indicated report and found it to be accurate and maintained in a manner consistent with the Child Protective Services Law (Law), 23 Pa. C.S. § § 6301-6386. The October 4, 2013, notice advised B.B. that he must request administrative review in writing within 45 days of the notice date.

On November 21, 2013, counsel for B.B. (Counsel) mailed an appeal of the October 4, 2013, notice. The appeal was postmarked 48 days after the October 4, 2013, notice. On January 10, 2014, the Director denied B.B.'s appeal as untimely. On February 21, 2014, B.B. requested an appeal nunc pro tunc.

An administrative law judge (ALJ) conducted a hearing on August 25, 2014. Counsel testified that he filed the appeal late because he had emergency eye surgery for a partially detached retina in August 2013, had to hang his head upside down for 40 minutes of every hour after the surgery, and did ...


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