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APPLE ET AL. v. REICHERT (06/01/71)

decided: June 1, 1971.

APPLE ET AL., APPELLANTS,
v.
REICHERT



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Jan. T., 1967, No. 1458, in case of Ruth T. Apple and Ammon A. Apple v. Phyllis M. Reichert, William P. Reichert, Virginia Maris Bonner and Catherine H. Bonner.

COUNSEL

David Freeman, with him C. David Krewson and Stuckert, Yates & Krewson, for appellants.

Peter A. Glascott, for appellees.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Barbieri, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Barbieri.

Author: Barbieri

[ 443 Pa. Page 290]

This is an appeal from the refusal of the court below to strike off an involuntary non-suit entered in favor of one of the defendants, Virginia Bonner, in a trespass action for personal injuries. The question of this defendant's liability was tried before a judge without a jury and the non-suit was entered at the close of appellant's case.*fn1 The court en banc dismissed appellants' motions to strike off the non-suit and for a new trial, supporting this action with an extensive and thorough opinion. From the en banc order this appeal was taken.

The accident out of which this case arose occurred in June of 1965, when plaintiff-appellant, Ruth Apple, was a passenger in an automobile being operated by

[ 443 Pa. Page 291]

    appellee, Virginia Bonner. The vehicle was involved in an intersectional collision with another automobile being operated by Phyllis Reichert, a co-defendant in the action below. At that time both appellant and appellee were employed as school teachers by the Centennial Joint School System in Bucks County. It was the practice in the school in which they taught to meet their respective classes at one school building, take the roll and lunch count, and thereupon the pupils were transported by school bus to another school building where school classes were held. These two teachers had no specific duties to perform on the school bus and were officially authorized to proceed to the classroom site, either by means supplied by themselves or on the school bus. When the accident occurred they were in transit from the first to the second school.

The appellant, in addition to instituting this trespass action, made a workmen compensation claim under the Workmen's Compensation Act (Act),*fn2 against the school district and was granted injury compensation benefits under a regular agreement for compensation entered into with her employer's carrier and filed with the Bureau of Workmen's Compensation.

Appellee, Virginia Bonner, interposed as a defense in the trespass action that she was immune from liability by virtue of a 1963 amendment adding Section 205 to the Act, Act of August 24, 1963, P. L. 1175, No. 496, § 1, 77 P.S. § 72 (Supp. 1971), which provides: "If disability or death is compensable under this act, a person shall not be liable to anyone at common law or otherwise on account of such disability or death for any act or omission occurring while such person was in the same employ as the person disabled or killed, except for intentional wrong."

[ 443 Pa. Page 292]

The trial court concluded that both appellant and appellee were acting within the scope of their employment and in the course of their employer's business; that the Act was applicable; that Section 205 of the Act as amended, (77 P.S. § 72), did provide immunity from liability for appellee; and that, therefore, a compulsory non-suit must be entered in favor of the appellee. As we have ...


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