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KAREN R. BRUNGARD v. JOHN A. HARTMAN AND MANSFIELD STATE COLLEGE (03/07/74)

decided: March 7, 1974.

KAREN R. BRUNGARD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN A. HARTMAN AND MANSFIELD STATE COLLEGE, DEFENDANTS



Original jurisdiction in case of Karen R. Brungard v. John A. Hartman and Mansfield State College.

COUNSEL

William Wiest, with him Roger V. Weist and Wiest & Younkin, for plaintiff.

John D. Lewis, with him Cox, Wilcox, Owlett & Lewis, for defendant, John A. Hartman.

Larry B. Selkowitz, Deputy Attorney General, with him Israel Packel, Attorney General, for defendant, Mansfield State College.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson. Judge Crumlish concurs in the result only.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 12 Pa. Commw. Page 478]

Because of its clarity and conciseness, we quote the history of the case as contained in the brief of able counsel for the plaintiff: "Plaintiff filed a Complaint in Trespass in the Commonwealth Court entered to No. 1100 C.D. 1972, setting forth three (3) separate counts averring negligence on behalf of the Defendant, Mansfield State College, the Defendant, John A. Hartman, and the joint negligence of the both Defendants. The cause of action in question arises out of an explosion which occurred in the laboratory classroom of the Defendant, Mansfield State College, wherein the Plaintiff, a student at Mansfield State College, was injured while under the supervision of the Defendant, John A. Hartman, a member of the Mansfield State College faculty. Both Defendants filed Preliminary Objections raising the doctrine of sovereign immunity."

The matter of the sovereign immunity of the Commonwealth and its agency has been so recently decided

[ 12 Pa. Commw. Page 479]

    and so thoroughly discussed by our Supreme Court that that aspect of the case merely requires the citations of Sweigard v. Department of Transportation, 454 Pa. 32, 309 A.2d 374 (1973); Biello v. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, 454 Pa. 179, 301 A.2d 849 (1973). The more recent decision of our Supreme Court in Ayala v. Philadelphia Board of Public Education, 453 Pa. 584, 305 A.2d 877 (1973), far from overruling that doctrine, expressly reaffirmed it.

There is no question that defendant, Mansfield State College, is an agency of the Commonwealth, for plaintiff alleges in paragraph 3 of her complaint that it is owned and operated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As an agency of the Commonwealth, Mansfield State College is cloaked with sovereign immunity.

The question of the individual liability of defendant, John A. Hartman, turns on whether he was acting within his authority and in an intentional, malicious, wanton and reckless manner.*fn1 Obviously, for purposes of the preliminary objections, he was acting within his authority, for the plaintiff so alleges in paragraph 6 of the complaint.

As to whether he was acting in an intentional, malicious, wanton and reckless manner, again we must take the allegations of the complaint to be correct, and all that there is alleged is simple negligence. In paragraph 13 of Count ...


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