Not Following a Court Order Directing a Witness to Testify In An Arbitration Case

In City of Philadelphia v. Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 5 (Gniotek), 107 Pa. Cmwlth. 15, 18, 527 A.2d 621, 621 (1987)." (City's Br. at 30.), the City sought to hold open the record in an arbitration case, when a key witness for its case declined to testify before the arbitrator, claiming Fifth Amendment protections. The City petitioned the trial court for an order directing the witness to testify, and the City asked the arbitrator to keep the record open pending the trial court's resolution of the issue. The trial court found in favor of the City, and directed the witness to testify, but the witness continued to decline to do so. The arbitrator closed the record without receiving the testimony of the witness, and decided the arbitration in favor of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). On appeal, the trial court affirmed the arbitrator's decision. This Court reversed the trial court's decision and remanded the case. There, the FOP had argued that "Gniotek's due process right to a timely post-termination hearing would be impinged by the delay between his discharge and any future arbitration hearings, and argues that such concerns outweigh the City's need to fully present its case." Gniotek, 527 A.2d at 622. This Court disagreed with the FOP's argument and held there is "no basis for compelling reinstatement merely because of delay attributable to the administrative appeals process" and that "Gniotek's due process rights were more than amply protected by the post-termination hearings and the prospect of reinstatement should the City fail to prevail in demonstrating just cause for his dismissal." Id.