Sok v. Commonwealth, 110719 PACCA, 231 C.D. 2019

Docket Nº:231 C.D. 2019
Opinion Judge:MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, PRESIDENT JUDGE
Party Name:Linda Sok v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Appellant
Judge Panel:BEFORE: HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, President Judge, HONORABLE MICHAEL H. WOJCIK, Judge, HONORABLE ROBERT SIMPSON, Senior Judge
Case Date:November 07, 2019
Court:Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
 
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Linda Sok

v.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Appellant

No. 231 C.D. 2019

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

November 7, 2019

OPINION NOT REPORTED

Submitted: September 6, 2019

BEFORE: HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, President Judge, HONORABLE MICHAEL H. WOJCIK, Judge, HONORABLE ROBERT SIMPSON, Senior Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, PRESIDENT JUDGE

The Department of Transportation, Bureau of Motor Vehicles (PennDOT), appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County (trial court) that sustained the appeal of Linda Sok (Registrant) of PennDOT's three-month suspension of her vehicle registration. PennDOT suspended her registration for failing to maintain liability insurance on her vehicle, which is required by the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL), 75 Pa. C.S. §§1701-1799.7. The trial court credited Registrant's testimony that she timely paid her insurance premium and found that Registrant did not receive a notice that her insurance had been cancelled. PennDOT asserts that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to make these determinations. We vacate and remand.

Registrant is the registered owner of a 2006 Chrysler station wagon that was insured by Brethren Mutual Insurance Company (Brethren Mutual). On March 3, 2018, Brethren Mutual terminated Registrant's policy for nonpayment of premium and electronically reported the termination to PennDOT. On March 24, 2018, PennDOT notified Registrant that it had received a copy of Brethren Mutual's cancellation notice. On May 10, 2018, PennDOT informed Registrant that her vehicle registration would be suspended for three months, effective June 14, 2018. Registrant appealed the suspension to the trial court.

At the de novo hearing on its registration suspension, PennDOT offered several documents into evidence, including: (1) PennDOT's suspension notice dated May 10, 2018; (2) PennDOT's record of the electronic transmission of Brethren Mutual's cancellation of Registrant's vehicle insurance; (3) PennDOT's form titled "Vehicle Inquiry Detail" showing Registrant as the registered owner of the 2006 Chrysler; (4) PennDOT's March 24, 2018, letter to Registrant that it had received the cancellation notice from Brethren Mutual; and (5) a certification statement of a PennDOT employee attesting to the accuracy of the above-listed documents.

Registrant, appearing pro se, testified that she paid her insurance premium on time. Notes of Testimony, 1/29/2019, at 5 (N.T.__); Reproduced Record at 20a (R.R.__). She used a debit card to remit the payment to her insurance agent. Registrant produced "a receipt" from her "insurance company saying [she] paid that bill on time." Id. She testified that her insurance company did not notify her that her payment was...

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