Thursday, July 26, 2012

Marcellus Shale - Act 13 - Pa. Constitution

Robinson Township v. PUC - Cmwlth. Court - July 26, 2012 (66 pp.)

In a case involving a township's challenge to state statute concerning the Marcellus Shale, the commonwealth filed PO's and both parties moved for summary relief on some issues.

- standing - municipalties , landowners, associations, et al. -
- equal protections - Article I, sec. 1, and 14th Amendment - PO's rejected
- special laws - Article III, sec. 32
- natural resources - Article I, sec. 27
- separation of powers
- delegation of legislative power
- vagueness

On the Commonwealth's preliminary objections, the court sustained many, rejected a few, held that two sections of the law were unconstitutional.

The township's claims about violation of equal protection and impropert delegation of legislative power were upheld and enforcement of much of the law, Act 13, was enjoined.

UC - notice of hearing - presumption of receipt - opportunity to rebut

Volk v. UCBR - Cmwlth. Court - July 26, 2012 (4-3)

A claimant who alleges that he did not get notice of the referee hearing must be afforded a hearing at which he has an opportunity to rebut the presumption of receipt of the notice.

The UCBR "may not rely solely upon the sufficiency of statements made in a petitioner’s appeal document or request to reopen the hearing, but must provide the petitioner against whom the presumption of receipt is being asserted the opportunity to submit evidence to rebut that presumption and to support the asserted reasons believed to be proper cause for not appearing at the hearing before the Board determines whether the petitioner had proper cause for not attending the hearing. Our holding is consistent with the Department’s regulation at 34 Pa. Code § 101.104, this Court’s decision in Coin Automatic Laundry, 447 A.2d 690, 691 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1982), and the principles of due process. To hold otherwise would effectively transform the presumption of receipt of mail into an irrebutable presumption. Therefore, we vacate the Board’s Order and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.