Tuesday, October 09, 2007

declaratory judgment - ripeness - challenge to admin. regulations

Township of Derry v. Dept. of Labor and Industry - Pa. Supreme Court - September 26, 2007


Request for declaratory relief challenging DLI regulations concerning the definition of "state-owned building" was held to be ripe, overruling the Commonwealth Court's sua sponte dismissal on ripeness grounds.

The Supreme Court held that

- the issues were adequately developed
- the parties would suffer hardship if review were delayed
- there was an actual and ongoing controversy
- the issues were concrete and adequately developed for judicial review

The Court also noted that evidence in an administrative enforcement proceeding would be different from the evidence relevant to the plaintiff's challenge. "The enforcement process has not been accepted as a substitute for declaratory judgment review in...circumstances involving substantial challenges to state administrative regulations....[I]ndeed, the concept of pre-enforcement review has expressly been approved."