Wednesday, December 02, 2015

admin. law - findings and reasons

State Police v. Brandon – Cmwlth. Court – November 24, 2015 – unreported* memorandum decision



The court vacated an ALJ decision concerning respondent’s right to possess a firearm, because the decision did not contain proper findings and reasons, as required by the Administrative Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. 507, which states that  “All adjudications of a Commonwealth agency shall be in writing, shall contain findings and the reasons for the adjudication, and shall be served upon all parties or their counsel personally, or by mail.” 2 Pa. C.S. §507. 


Section 507 of the AAL requires that adjudications contain findings of fact that are “sufficiently specific to enable [a reviewing] court … to pass upon  questions of law.” In re: Petition for Formation of Independent Sch. Dist., 962 A.2d 24, 28 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2008) (quoting Henderson v. Office of Budget, 537 A.2d 85, 86 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1988)). Further, adjudications stating only that a party “failed to present evidence” to meet its burden do not comply with Section 507 of the AAL.


Where a decision contains no specific findings regarding the evidence, but rather merely set forth conclusory findings, a remand is necessary for adjudication that complies with 2 Pa. C.S. §507).  Independent Sch. Dist., supra.; see also Turner v. Civil Serv. Comm’n, 462 A.2d 306 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1983) (where commission’s decision merely concluded that police officer’s dismissal was for just cause without any findings as to which testimony was found credible, which charges against the officer were substantiated by the evidence, or what facts constituted just cause for dismissal from employment, remand was necessary for findings of fact consistent with Section 555 of the Local Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. §555), which is similar to 2 Pa. C.S. 507.




*An unreported case may not be cited “binding precedent” but can be cited “for its persuasive value. . . .”  See 210 Pa. Code § 69.414 (a) and Pa. R.A.P.  3716 [45 Pa.B. 3975; Saturday, July 25, 2015]

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