Case Details


Control Of Litigation

Filing State



Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court




Commonwealth by Corbett v. Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods, Inc., 983 A.2d 1274 (Pa. Comm. Ct. 2009)


Attorney General’s parens patriae authority over charities is well settled

Case Description

The Attorney General of Pennsylvania sued a former state senator who had founded a charity, Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods, Inc. Defendant was convicted on federal fraud charges for receiving non-profit funds. Defendant challenged the Attorney General’s complaint on the grounds that the Attorney General did not have standing to bring a parens patriae action in a charities case. The court held that it is “well-settled” law that the Pennsylvania Attorney General is responsible for the public supervision of charities through his parens patriae powers. “The Commonwealth has parens patriae standing whenever it asserts quasi-sovereign interests, . . . Here, the Commonwealth’s interest in the well-being of the public that Citizens was created to serve is a clear example of such a quasi-sovereign interest. . . .It is the duty of the Attorney General to ensure that the purpose of the charity remains charitable. Consequently, the Attorney General always has standing in any case involving a charity.