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HUSSER v. PITTSBURGH SCHOOL DISTRICT (05/02/67)

decided: May 2, 1967.

HUSSER, APPELLANT,
v.
PITTSBURGH SCHOOL DISTRICT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, April T., 1966, No. 2379, in case of Louis Husser, Jr., a minor, by his parent and natural guardian Louis Husser, and Louis Husser in his own right v. The School District of Pittsburgh.

COUNSEL

Bernard Markovitz, with him George Shorall, and Royston, Robb, Leonard, Edgecombe, Miller & Shorall, for appellants.

Justin M. Johnson, Assistant Solicitor, with him Niles Anderson, Solicitor, for school district, appellee.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Mr. Justice Jones concurs in the result. Concurring and Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Musmanno.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 425 Pa. Page 250]

The minor plaintiff attended a public high school in the city of Pittsburgh. While leaving the school through the boys' exit at the end of the day's classes on February 11, 1965, he was accosted, assaulted and seriously beaten by a group of rowdy youths when he refused their demands for money. This action for damages against the school district was later instituted.

[ 425 Pa. Page 251]

The lower court sustained preliminary objections to the complaint in the nature of a demurrer and dismissed the action. The plaintiffs appeal.

The complaint alleges that similar criminal acts occurred with great frequency in and about the same school during the months immediately prior to the attack involved; that the school district and its agents knew of the existence of these occurrences and the danger present to those attending the school; and neglected and refused to take any precautionary measures to protect the safety of the minor plaintiff or the other pupils attending the school.

Appellants' counsel earnestly argues that the Pennsylvania rule, which protects a school district while engaged in the exercise of its governmental functions from vicarious liability for the tortious infliction of injury by its agents and employees, should be abolished. The rule was recently reiterated in Dillon v. York City School District, 422 Pa. 103, 220 A.2d 896 (1966). We again affirm our ruling in this respect.

Appellants also contend, that the conduct of the defendant was tantamount to the maintenance of a nuisance on the school property to which the immunity rule does not apply. The acts complained of may constitute negligence on the part of the school district, but do not constitute a nuisance in law. See, Carlo v. Scranton School District, 319 Pa. 417, 179 A. 561 (1935); Anderson v. Philadelphia, 380 Pa. 528, 112 A.2d 92 (1955); and, Moss v. School District of Norristown, 250 F. Supp. 917 (E.D. Pa. 1966).

Judgment affirmed.

Disposit ...


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