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Linkosky v. Commonwealth, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

December 5, 2019

John Thomas Linkosky
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing, Appellant

          Submitted: October 18, 2019




         The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation (Department), Bureau of Driver Licensing (Bureau), appeals from the January 17, 2019 order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County (trial court) sustaining the statutory appeal of John Thomas Linkosky (Licensee) from the Bureau's refusal to issue Licensee a duplicate license renewal camera card after he lost his previously issued license camera card. Upon review, we affirm.

         In a previous ruling, this Court set forth the underlying facts of the instant matter as follows:

On October 16, 2018, Licensee, a licensed driver in Pennsylvania, pled guilty in Ohio to a violation of Ohio Rev. Code § 4511.19 (relating to driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs). As a result of his guilty plea, Licensee's Ohio operating privilege was suspended for a period of 12 months, with credit awarded to him from June 30, 2018. On October 4, 2018, prior to entering the guilty plea in Ohio, Licensee applied for the renewal of his Pennsylvania driver's license. The Department granted Licensee's renewal application and issued him a temporary internet driver's license. The temporary internet driver's license was valid from October 4, 2018, to October 18, 2018, and the accompanying instructions advised that Licensee would receive a camera card in the mail within 10 days. Upon receipt of the camera card, Licensee was to take the camera card to any Department Photo License Center, have a new picture taken, and receive a renewed photo license.
Licensee received a camera card from the Department, but later misplaced it, and on December 4, 2018, sought a replacement card. By notice mailed December 11, 2018, the Department informed Licensee that it was unable to issue him a new camera card because as of December 4, 2018, the National Driver Register (NDR) showed his operating privilege was suspended in Ohio. Pursuant to Section 1503(a)(1) of the Vehicle Code, the Department may not renew the driver's license of any person "[w]hose operating privilege is suspended or revoked in this or any other state." 75 Pa.C.S. § 1503(a)(1). Licensee appealed the Department's notice to the [trial court].
The trial court held a hearing on January 17, 2019, and sustained Licensee's appeal that same day. The trial court ordered the Department to furnish Licensee a duplicate camera card and, upon his presentation of that camera card at a Department Photo License Center, issue him a renewed photo driver's license. The Department appealed the trial court's January 17, 2019 order, triggering an automatic supersedeas in its favor pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 1736(b). Pa. R.A.P. 1736(b) (the taking of appeal by the Commonwealth shall operate as a supersedeas in favor of such party, which continues through any proceedings in the United States Supreme Court). Licensee then filed an application to vacate the automatic supersedeas in the trial court. By order dated February 14, 2019, the trial court granted Licensee's application and vacated the automatic supersedeas.

Linkosky v. Dep't of Transp., Bureau of Driver Licensing (Pa. Cmwlth., No. 98 C.D. 2019, filed March 5, 2019) (March 5, 2019 Decision), slip op. at 1-3 (internal record citations and footnotes omitted). The Department petitioned this Court to reinstate the automatic supersedeas, which petition this Court denied by order filed March 5, 2019. Id. at 9 & Order. The Department's appeal of the trial court's January 17, 2019 order sustaining Licensee's appeal now comes before this Court for determination.[1]

         On appeal, [2] the Department claims the trial court erred in sustaining Licensee's statutory appeal of the Department's denial of his request that the Department issue him a duplicate camera card because Licensee's Ohio license suspension precluded the Bureau from issuing Licensee a Pennsylvania license. See Bureau's Brief at 4 & 12-26. Essentially, the Department maintains that Licensee's December 4, 2018 request for a duplicate license renewal camera card was the equivalent of a second request for a license renewal. Id. We disagree.

         Section 1513 of the Vehicle Code pertains to the issuance of duplicate and substitute driver's licenses and provides, in relevant part, as follows:

If a learner's permit or driver's license issued under the provisions of this chapter is mutilated, lost, stolen, destroyed or becomes illegible, the person to whom it was issued, upon furnishing proof satisfactory to the department that the license or permit has been mutilated, lost, stolen, destroyed, or has become illegible, shall obtain a duplicate or substitute license or permit upon payment of the required fee.

75 Pa.C.S. § 1513(a).

         Section 1503 of the Vehicle Code concerns persons ineligible for licensing in the Commonwealth and mandates that the Department "shall not issue a driver's license to, or renew the driver's license of, any person: . . . [] [w]hose operating privilege is suspended ...

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