408 A.2d 223

Rose Abrams and Melvin Brookman, Esquire, Garnishee, Appellants v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare, Appellee.

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.Argued October 2, 1979
November 29, 1979.

Argued October 2, 1979, before President Judge BOWMAN and Judges CRUMLISH, JR., WILKINSON, JR.,

Page 450

ROGERS, BLATT, DiSALLE and MacPHAIL. Judges MENCER and CRAIG did not participate.

Appeals, Nos. 60 and 64 T.D. 1978, from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania in cases of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare v. Rose Abrams and Melvin Brookman, Garnishee, Nos. 1391 and 1392 April Term, 1978.

Judgments confessed in the Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania. Defendant filed petitions to open judgments and to stay execution. Petitions denied. CHALFIN, J. Petitioner appealed to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. Held: Affirmed.

D. Bruce Hanes, with him Shein Brookman, P.A., for appellants.

Joseph F. Lynch, Deputy Attorney General, for appellee.

OPINION BY JUDGE DiSALLE, November 29, 1979:

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, denying Rose Abrams’ petition to open judgment and stay execution.

Ms. Abrams was injured in an automobile accident on August 2, 1971, and subsequently applied for and began receiving medical assistance (MA) and public assistance (PA) from the Department of Public Welfare (DPW). In all, she received a total of some $12,000.00. As a condition to receiving the assistance, she signed two DPW forms agreeing to reimburse DPW for its PA and MA out of the proceeds,

Page 451

if any, of her tort claim. Each form contained a confession of judgment clause empowering DPW to enter judgment against her in the amount of $2,000.00 plus costs and collection fees. Significantly, each form also contained the following language: “I hereby acknowledge that all legal fees and incidental costs are entirely my responsibility and cannot be charged to the Department of Public Welfare.”

Ms. Abrams’ attorney, Melvin Brookman, filed a negligence action on her behalf, and eventually obtained a settlement in her favor in the amount of $20,000.00. Following Mr. Brookman’s refusal to reimburse DPW in the amount of its claims, DPW filed both confessions of judgment, totalling $4,312.00, the amount which is in dispute here. From an order of the lower court refusing to open judgment, Ms. Abrams has appealed.

Since we believe the lower court quite properly relied on the case of Charleston v. Wohlgemuth, 332 F. Supp. 1175 (E.D. Pa. 1971), aff’d mem., 405 U.S. 970 (1972), upholding the constitutionality of the identical forms involved in the instant case, we will affirm on the able opinion of Judge CHALFIN, which can be found at Nos. 1391 and 1392 April Term, 1978, of the Trial Division of the Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, filed November 13, 1978.

ORDER
AND NOW, this 29th day of November, 1979, the order of the Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania is affirmed and can be found at Nos. 1391 and 1392 April Term, 1978, of the Trial Division of the Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, filed November 13, 1978.

Page 452

408 A.2d 223

Rose Abrams and Melvin Brookman, Esquire, Garnishee, Appellants v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare, Appellee.

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania.Argued October 2, 1979
November 29, 1979.

Argued October 2, 1979, before President Judge BOWMAN and Judges CRUMLISH, JR., WILKINSON, JR.,

Page 450

ROGERS, BLATT, DiSALLE and MacPHAIL. Judges MENCER and CRAIG did not participate.

Appeals, Nos. 60 and 64 T.D. 1978, from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania in cases of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare v. Rose Abrams and Melvin Brookman, Garnishee, Nos. 1391 and 1392 April Term, 1978.

Judgments confessed in the Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania. Defendant filed petitions to open judgments and to stay execution. Petitions denied. CHALFIN, J. Petitioner appealed to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. Held: Affirmed.

D. Bruce Hanes, with him Shein Brookman, P.A., for appellants.

Joseph F. Lynch, Deputy Attorney General, for appellee.

OPINION BY JUDGE DiSALLE, November 29, 1979:

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, denying Rose Abrams’ petition to open judgment and stay execution.

Ms. Abrams was injured in an automobile accident on August 2, 1971, and subsequently applied for and began receiving medical assistance (MA) and public assistance (PA) from the Department of Public Welfare (DPW). In all, she received a total of some $12,000.00. As a condition to receiving the assistance, she signed two DPW forms agreeing to reimburse DPW for its PA and MA out of the proceeds,

Page 451

if any, of her tort claim. Each form contained a confession of judgment clause empowering DPW to enter judgment against her in the amount of $2,000.00 plus costs and collection fees. Significantly, each form also contained the following language: “I hereby acknowledge that all legal fees and incidental costs are entirely my responsibility and cannot be charged to the Department of Public Welfare.”

Ms. Abrams’ attorney, Melvin Brookman, filed a negligence action on her behalf, and eventually obtained a settlement in her favor in the amount of $20,000.00. Following Mr. Brookman’s refusal to reimburse DPW in the amount of its claims, DPW filed both confessions of judgment, totalling $4,312.00, the amount which is in dispute here. From an order of the lower court refusing to open judgment, Ms. Abrams has appealed.

Since we believe the lower court quite properly relied on the case of Charleston v. Wohlgemuth, 332 F. Supp. 1175 (E.D. Pa. 1971), aff’d mem., 405 U.S. 970 (1972), upholding the constitutionality of the identical forms involved in the instant case, we will affirm on the able opinion of Judge CHALFIN, which can be found at Nos. 1391 and 1392 April Term, 1978, of the Trial Division of the Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, filed November 13, 1978.

ORDER
AND NOW, this 29th day of November, 1979, the order of the Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania is affirmed and can be found at Nos. 1391 and 1392 April Term, 1978, of the Trial Division of the Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, filed November 13, 1978.

Page 452