Richard B. Sigmond, with him Meranze, Katz, Spear and Bielitsky, for plaintiff.
Jacques H. Fox, Assistant Attorney General, with him Marx S. Leopold, Assistant Attorney General, and J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General, for defendants.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., and Kramer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Kramer.
[4 Pa. Commw. 350 Page 350]
This case was filed within the original jurisdiction of this Court. The instant matter comes before this Court on Preliminary Objections filed by Kremens and Wohlgemuth (Defendants). These Preliminary Objections
[4 Pa. Commw. 350 Page 351]
were filed in response to Plaintiff's filing of a suit in equity praying that Defendants be enjoined from dismissing Plaintiff from her position at Haverford State Hospital.
On or about December 7, 1970, Elizabeth Clodi (plaintiff) entered the employ of Social Services Division at the Haverford State Hospital. Her initial position classification was that of "E" status, i.e., an emergency appointment. Subsequently her position was changed to that of Caseworker -- Probationary Status. The Civil Service Act, Act of August 5, 1941, P.L. 752, as amended, 71 P.S. 741.603(a) provides: "No appointment to a position in the classified service shall be deemed complete until after the expiration of a probationary period. The probationary period for each class of position shall be prescribed in the rules of the commission and shall in no case be less than six months or more than eighteen months. . . ." In accordance with this statutory provision, the Department of Public Welfare set the term of nine months as the probationary period of a caseworker -- probationary status.*fn1 A performance report evaluating Plaintiff's work was submitted by her immediate supervisor on July 23, 1971, placing Plaintiff's work product in the "unsatisfactory" category. This evaluation was thereafter reviewed by a senior supervisor and again by the reviewing officer, each approving the "unsatisfactory" determination.
In late August of 1971, Plaintiff was notified via letter by Defendant Kremens, the Director of Haverford State Hospital, that her employment was to terminate as of September 8, 1971. This letter also notified the Plaintiff of her rights to appeal to the Civil Service Commission, among other rights set forth. Plaintiff thereafter requested this Court to issue, ex
[4 Pa. Commw. 350 Page 352]
parte, a preliminary injunction on grounds that administrative due process had been denied her. This we refused to do. On September 17, 1971, a hearing was held to act upon Plaintiff's request for a preliminary injunction. This Court refused to issue such an injunction. On that same day, Defendants filed Preliminary Objections to Plaintiff's Complaint in equity alleging that Plaintiff had an adequate remedy at law under the provisions of the Civil Service Act, supra, and therefore equitable relief was inappropriate. Answer to the Preliminary Objections was filed by Plaintiff on September 21, 1971.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants failed to grant to her a number of appellate rights as provided for in the Manual of the Department of Public Welfare. It is unnecessary to outline the substance of these allegations, because even under the regulations found in the Manual, the Plaintiff had a right to ...