Pan American World Airways, Inc. v. Florida Public Service Com'n, No. 62077

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Writing for the CourtMcDONALD; ALDERMAN; OVERTON, J., dissents with an opinion, in which ADKINS; OVERTON; ADKINS
Citation427 So.2d 716
Decision Date17 February 1983
Docket NumberNo. 62077
PartiesPAN AMERICAN WORLD AIRWAYS, INC., Appellant, v. FLORIDA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION and Florida Power and Light Company, Appellees.

Page 716

427 So.2d 716
PAN AMERICAN WORLD AIRWAYS, INC., Appellant,
v.
FLORIDA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION and Florida Power and Light Company, Appellees.
No. 62077.
Supreme Court of Florida.
Feb. 17, 1983.

William S. Bilenky, Gen. Counsel and Bonnie Enneking Davis, Staff Counsel, Florida Public Service Com'n, Tallahassee, and Jay W. Molyneaux and Morris E. Shelkofsky, Jr., Florida Power & Light Company, Miami, for appellees.

McDONALD, Justice.

This case comes to us on direct appeal from a final order of the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC). We have jurisdiction pursuant to article V, section 3(b)(2), Florida Constitution, and we affirm the holding of the PSC.

In its final order, the PSC found the following facts, as stipulated to by the parties:

National Air Lines (National) and Pan American World Airways, Inc. (Pan Am) were customers of Florida Power and Light (FPL) for many years. In January 1980 Pan Am and National merged. In February 1980 Pan Am informed FPL of the merger and that Pan Am was assuming responsibility for National's accounts with FPL. FPL responded with a request for a deposit of $206,000, advising Pan Am that it was considered a new customer insofar as the National accounts were concerned and that deposits were routinely required for service to new customers. Pan Am replied that it was not a new customer and therefore FPL had no right to require a deposit. Unable to resolve this matter, the parties filed a complaint with the PSC on November 30, 1981. The parties stipulated to the facts and record and waived an evidentiary hearing.

Between the time of the original deposit request and oral argument, FPL recalculated the amount of the deposit to a total of $361,095. Although Pan Am challenged the basis for the increase over the original $206,000 demand, the PSC found the recalculated deposit demand to be justified based on the recent average two-month bill for the accounts in question. The PSC ordered Pan Am to post a deposit of $361,095 within thirty days of the order to insure continuous service from FPL, but stayed this order pending appeal and upon the posting of a supersedeas bond by Pan Am in the full amount of the deposit plus 15%.

We begin by noting the narrow scope of this Court's review of orders of the Florida Public Service Commission. We have only to determine whether the PSC's action comports with the essential requirements of law and is supported by substantial competent evidence. Florida Telephone Corp. v. Mayo, 350 So.2d 775 (Fla.1977). The burden is upon appellants to overcome the presumption of correctness attached to orders of the PSC. Surf Coast Tours, Inc.

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v. Florida Public Service Commission, 385 So.2d 1353 (Fla.1980); Fargo Van & Storage, Inc. v. Bevis, 314 So.2d 129 (Fla.1975).

Pan Am raises four primary issues in urging reversal of the PSC's order. Three of these may be disposed of without extensive discussion. The fourth argument, set forth more fully below, also fails upon close examination to overcome the presumption of correctness with which the PSC's order comes before this Court.

First, Pan Am argues that the PSC erred in determining that Pan Am's merger with National did not prohibit FPL from requiring security deposits on National's old accounts. No rule of the PSC gave National an enforceable right to continued deposit-free service from FPL; likewise, there was no contractual agreement to this effect. Since the utility would have been within its rights to require new or additional deposits from National prior to the merger, it follows that Pan Am acquired, as a result of the merger, no proprietary interest in the privilege of deposit-free accounts.

Similarly ineffectual is Pan Am's second contention, i.e., that the PSC erred in determining that FPL's deposit policy was reasonable and nondiscriminatory. The primary concern reflected in the PSC's regulation of public utility security deposits appears to be protecting the masses of utility customers from increased rates resulting from large commercial consumers defaulting on their payments. With this policy in mind, we cannot say that the PSC departed from the essential requirements of law or was not supported by substantial competent evidence in reaching its conclusion that FPL's policy of requiring new deposits following corporate name changes was reasonable. We note, as did the PSC, that FPL uses the name change on accounts as a "triggering" device which shifts the burden to the utility customer to show that there has been no actual change in the corporate entity responsible for the account. National, the corporate entity previously responsible for the accounts on which FPL now seeks deposits from Pan Am, has ceased to exist as a separate corporation as a result of its merger into Pan Am. § 607.231(3), Fla.Stat. (1979). The PSC reasonably concludes that Pan Am, having acquired the assets and liabilities of National, is likely to have...

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42 practice notes
  • Bayonet Point Regional Medical Center v. Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, No. BP-272
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • 24 Noviembre 1987
    ...appeal dismissed, 466 U.S. 901, 104 S.Ct. 1673, 80 L.Ed.2d 149 (1984); Pan American World Airways v. Florida Public Service Commission, 427 So.2d 716, 719 (Fla.1983); Graham v. Estuary Properties, Inc., 399 So.2d 1374, 1380, n. 10 (Fla.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1083, 102 S.Ct. 640, 70 L.Ed.......
  • Gregory v. Indian River County, No. 90-3135
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 4 Diciembre 1992
    ...great weight and is not to be overturned unless clearly erroneous. Pan American World Airways, Inc. v. Florida Public Service Commission, 427 So.2d 716 (Fla.1983); Shell Harbor Group, Inc. v. Department of Business Regulation, 487 So.2d 1141 (Fla. 1st DCA 1986). DER's interpretation of sect......
  • Florida Waterworks Ass'n v. Florida Public Service Com'n, Nos. AT-46
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 15 Julio 1985
    ...appeal unless clearly erroneous. Pan American World Airways, Inc. v. Florida Public Service Commission and Florida Power & Light Company, 427 So.2d 716, 719 (Fla.1983). The reviewing court will defer to any interpretation within the range of possible interpretation. Department of Health and......
  • American Southern Ins. Co. v. State, Dept. of Revenue, No. 95-2588
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 13 Mayo 1996
    ...of statutes which the administrative agency is required to enforce."); Pan Am. World Airways, Inc. v. Florida Public Serv. Comm'n, 427 So.2d 716, 719 (Fla.1983) ("We have long recognized that the administrative construction of a statute by an agency or body responsible for the statute's adm......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
43 cases
  • Bayonet Point Regional Medical Center v. Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, No. BP-272
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • 24 Noviembre 1987
    ...appeal dismissed, 466 U.S. 901, 104 S.Ct. 1673, 80 L.Ed.2d 149 (1984); Pan American World Airways v. Florida Public Service Commission, 427 So.2d 716, 719 (Fla.1983); Graham v. Estuary Properties, Inc., 399 So.2d 1374, 1380, n. 10 (Fla.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 1083, 102 S.Ct. 640, 70 L.Ed.......
  • Gregory v. Indian River County, No. 90-3135
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 4 Diciembre 1992
    ...great weight and is not to be overturned unless clearly erroneous. Pan American World Airways, Inc. v. Florida Public Service Commission, 427 So.2d 716 (Fla.1983); Shell Harbor Group, Inc. v. Department of Business Regulation, 487 So.2d 1141 (Fla. 1st DCA 1986). DER's interpretation of sect......
  • Florida Waterworks Ass'n v. Florida Public Service Com'n, Nos. AT-46
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 15 Julio 1985
    ...unless clearly erroneous. Pan American World Airways, Inc. v. Florida Public Service Commission and Florida Power & Light Company, 427 So.2d 716, 719 (Fla.1983). The reviewing court will defer to any interpretation within the range of possible interpretation. Department of Health and Re......
  • American Southern Ins. Co. v. State, Dept. of Revenue, No. 95-2588
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 13 Mayo 1996
    ...of statutes which the administrative agency is required to enforce."); Pan Am. World Airways, Inc. v. Florida Public Serv. Comm'n, 427 So.2d 716, 719 (Fla.1983) ("We have long recognized that the administrative construction of a statute by an agency or body responsible for the sta......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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