DUI • License Suspension & Reinstatement • Appeal • Statutory Remedy Exhaustion • Jurisdiction
Howard v. PennDOT, PICS Case No. 13-2197 (Pa. Commw. June 10, 2013; reported July 22, 2013) Quigley, S.J. (7 pages).
PennDOT properly determined that petitioner failed to exhaust his statutory remedy by failing to appeal the trial court’s termination of his pending license suspension appeal to this court; therefore, this court lacked jurisdiction to review his petition. PennDOT’s preliminary objection sustained; petition dismissed.
Respondent Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) filed a preliminary objection to petitioner Harold Howard’s petition for review. Petitioner sought a court order requiring PennDOT to reinstate his operating privilege where PennDOT suspended it for failure to submit to chemical testing pursuant to Vehicle Code §1547, the implied consent law.
This court agreed with PennDOT that petitioner failed to exhaust his statutory remedies and therefore, this court lacked jurisdiction over his petition. A party is required to exhaust its statutory remedies before seeking redress with a court of competent jurisdiction.
Pursuant to Vehicle code §1550, any person whose operating privilege is suspended has the right to appeal that suspension to the trial court. Petitioner availed himself of that remedy but the trial court denied his appeal. Upon denial of his license suspension appeal, petitioner had the right to appeal the trial court’s order to this court.
Petitioner alleged that he filed a “permission to file notice of appeal nunc pro tunc” but that he received no response from the trial court. However, this court transmitted his filing to the trial court, which later terminated petitioner’s appeal on Jan. 29, 2013 for lack of activity after advising him in September 2012 that the case would be dismissed if he failed file a statement of intention to proceed prior to the termination date in the notice. Petitioner neither filed a notice of intention to proceed, nor appealed the termination of his pending license appeal.
Petitioner’s failure to exhaust his statutory remedy, i.e., to appeal the trial court’s termination of his pending license suspension appeal to this court, resulted in this court lacking jurisdiction to review his petition.