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LANDERMAN v. CHURCHILL AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT. (05/27/64)

May 27, 1964

LANDERMAN, APPELLANT,
v.
CHURCHILL AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT.



Appeal, No. 96, March T., 1964, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1963, No. 2898, in case of Edgar Landerman, Patricia K. DeRoy and Julia R. Zagorac, individually and on behalf of other residents of Churchill Area School District, v. Churchill Area School District, Linford S. MacDonald, H. Russell Keyser et al. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Michael Hahalyak, with him David Rainero, for appellant.

J. Robert Maxwell, with him Gerald W. Weaver, and Maxwell, Huss and Weaver, for appellees.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.

Author: Roberts

[ 414 Pa. Page 531]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS

Edgar Landerman, Patricia K. DeRoy and Julia R. Zagorac, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, filed a complaint in equity seeking a mandatory injunction against the Churchill Area School District and various persons, in their individual capacities and as School Directors of the Churchill Area School District, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

The complaint alleges that plaintiffs pay school taxes to the Churchill Area School District where their minor children attend school. Following further identification of all the parties, the complaint alleges: "In March of 1963, the said School Board voted to discontinue, in certain arbitrarily selected sectors of the said School District transportation to the students of said

[ 414 Pa. Page 532]

School District who resided less than one and one-half miles from the various elementary and Jr. high schools and two miles from the high school within the said School District." There follows a description of the various highways, characterizing them as hazardous for children to walk upon, particularly in inclement weather, and as a threat to the safety of the students.

The complaint avers that the Engineer of Churchill Borough, a municipality within the School District, made a report relative to the "dangers and hazards which would result from the reckless decision of the School Board." The report is attached to the complaint. It is alleged further that the Commissioners of Wilkins Township, also a municipality within the School District, by letter, warned the School Board of the safety hazards which would result because of its action, and requested reconsideration and review of the issue.

Plaintiffs urge in their complaint that the board has never given any reason for its decision and that it is guilty of "fuzzy horse and buggy thinking." They seek the aid of a court of equity because the board applied not its discretion "but arbitrary will and caprice ..." and because "the School Directors did not perform their duties intelligently in that they failed to fully familiarize themselves with the risks involved to the children; the said Directors accordingly failed to act in good faith and with that diligence, care and skill which ordinarily prudent men would exercise under similar circumstances in their personal business."

The complaint pleads lack of an adequate remedy at law and contends that the action of the Board violates Article X, ยง 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution which requires, in part, that the General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and ...


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