Monday, November 21, 2005

admin. law - right to stenographic record - 2 Pa. C.S. 504

Mason v. Dept. of Corrections

The substance of this case -- a claim by the DOC that a prisoner should pay for medical treatment given to him, under the Prison Medical Services Act, 61 P.S. 1013 -- is not within our practice.

However, there is an important procedural issue. The DOC held an assessment hearing in the case and entered an order directing the prisoner to pay DOC more than $77,000. However, the testimony at the hearing was not stenographically or electronically recorded. The prisoner appealed, claiming a due process violation by denying him a stenographer at the hearing, a right guaranteed under the Administrative Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. sec. 504, which states that "[a]ll testimony shall be stenographically record and a full and complete record shall be kept of the proceedings."

The court held that a failure to make a full and complete record "render[ed] the adjudication invalid," citing Holloway v. Lehman, 671 A.2d 1179 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1996) and Callahan v. State Police, 431 A.1d 946 (Pa. 1981). The case was "remanded for a hearing in accordance with the provisions" of the Administration Agency Law.

Donald Marritz
MidPenn Legal Services