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MULLEN v. DUBOIS AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT (12/04/69)

decided: December 4, 1969.

MULLEN
v.
DUBOIS AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County, Sept. T., 1967, No. 303, in case of William Edward Mullen v. Board of School Directors of DuBois Area School District.

COUNSEL

David E. Blakely, with him Ammerman & Blakely, for appellant.

Edward V. Cherry, with him Gleason, Cherry & Guido, for appellee.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Pomeroy. Mr. Justice Jones joins in this dissent.

Author: Roberts

[ 436 Pa. Page 212]

On May 9, 1967, appellee Mullen was abruptly dismissed by appellant Board of School Directors [Board] from his position as a temporary professional employee of the DuBois Area School District. Following an unsuccessful attempt to have the Board reconsider its decision Mullen brought an action in mandamus seeking reinstatement to his position as a temporary professional employee and related economic damages. In support of his claim Mullen alleged that his dismissal was arbitrary and capricious and that he had no other adequate remedy because his dismissal had made it impossible for him to obtain employment as a teacher in any other school district.

The Board answered that Mullen's dismissal was the result of his unsatisfactory service as a teacher, that he had no valid and enforceable contract with the Board, and that he had other adequate remedies.

[ 436 Pa. Page 213]

The trial court resolved all of the issues in favor of Mullen and ordered both reinstatement and payment of damages. We affirm.

With regard to the quality of Mullen's teaching, we agree with the trial court that ". . . the great weight of credible testimony rests with [Mullen's] position," and that ". . . one can not find but that his dismissal was capricious and arbitrary and that the action was dictated by 'personal and partisan considerations.'"*fn1

The testimony clearly demonstrates that Mullen was an entirely competent teacher. Mullen was rated*fn2 five times during the period in which he taught in the DuBois area schools. On four of these occasions he received ratings indicating entirely satisfactory, and in most instances above average, performance. The only unsatisfactory rating was given on May 5, 1967, four days before his dismissal.*fn3 It is interesting to note that

[ 436 Pa. Page 214]

Mullen's principal, who issued the unsatisfactory rating, had previously rated him as excellent or satisfactory in nearly all respects. Additionally, all of his fellow teachers and former students who appeared below testified to his being an able teacher. Also of some relevance is the fact that questions concerning Mullen's ability arose only after he became the "building representative" for the DuBois Area Educational Association, in which capacity he found it ...


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