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STUART WAYNE FRAZIER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/05/75)

decided: February 5, 1975.

STUART WAYNE FRAZIER, A MINOR, SHAWN WILLIAM FRAZIER, A MINOR, AND STEPHEN WENDELL FRAZIER, A MINOR, BY THEIR FATHER AND NATURAL GUARDIAN, STUART FRAZIER, SR., INDIVIDUAL CITIZENS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE RETIREMENT BOARD, DEFENDANT, AND KAREN JOHNSON; WILLIAM JOHNSON, JR., A MINOR, BY HIS MOTHER AND NATURAL GUARDIAN, HELEN PATRICIA JOHNSON; VALTATRUITE FRAZIER; ALEXANDER FRAZIER, A MINOR, BY HIS FATHER AND NATURAL GUARDIAN, ALEXANDER FRAZIER, SR.; HELEN PATRICIA JOHNSON; ALEXANDER FRAZIER, SR., INTERVENING PETITIONERS



Original jurisdiction in case of Stuart Wayne Frazier, a minor, Shawn William Frazier, a minor, and Stephen Wendell Frazier, a minor, by their father and natural guardian, Stuart Frazier, Sr., individual citizens, v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, State Retirement Board and Karen Johnson; William Johnson, Jr., a minor, by his mother and natural guardian, Helen Patricia Johnson; Valtatruite Frazier; Alexander Frazier, a minor, by his father and natural guardian, Alexander Frazier, Sr.; Helen Patricia Johnson; Alexander Frazier, Sr., Intervening Petitioners.

COUNSEL

John V. Adams, with him Robert C. Hillen, and Kachulis, Copetas, Adams & Hillen, for plaintiffs.

Raymond Kleiman, Deputy Attorney General, with him Israel Packel, Attorney General, for defendant.

Howard E. Goldfarb, for intervening petitioners.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 244]

This case is before this Court in original jurisdiction on motion for summary judgment*fn1 by Stuart Wayne

[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 245]

Frazier, Shawn William Frazier, Stephen Wendell Frazier as minors, and by their father, Stuart Frazier (Plaintiffs). Plaintiffs filed a complaint in mandamus seeking to compel the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State Retirement Board, Defendant herein, (Board) to pay the sum of $28,200.36 to Plaintiffs pursuant to Section 407(3) of the State Employes' Retirement Code, Act of June 1, 1959, P.L. 392, as amended, 71 P.S. 1725-407(3). On petition, Intervenors*fn2 were granted leave to intervene by us.

Eleanor B. Jones (Decedent) was an employee of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for some sixteen years until March 14, 1972, when she died. During the course of her Commonwealth service she paid sums of money into the State Employes' Retirement Fund which was, and is, managed by the Board. At death, the value of that account was $28,200.36. On February 25, 1963, decedent duly executed and filed with the Board a "Nomination of Beneficiaries Form" which named Plaintiffs, who were three grandchildren of decedent, as sole beneficiaries of that fund. Then, on January 20, 1969, she forwarded a new Nomination of Beneficiaries Form to the Board in which she named Intervenors, four other grandchildren, as beneficiaries, in addition to the Plaintiffs whom she had previously named. Upon receipt of the second nomination of beneficiaries, the Board, by letter dated February 7, 1969, informed decedent that it could not effectively process that form because, "you indicated more than one beneficiary but did not list them in the space marked Equal Shares or Survivors, Principal Beneficiary, or Contingent Beneficiary to show how

[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 246]

    you wish the money divided." Decedent died before she met the requirements of that notice. The Board, following unsuccessful attempts to resolve the dilemma, decided to distribute the fund in equal shares among Plaintiffs and Intervenors. This precipitated Plaintiffs' Complaint in Mandamus.

Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1035 provides in relevant part: "(a) After the pleadings are closed . . . any party may move for summary judgment on the pleadings . . . . (b) . . . The judgment shall be rendered if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue ...


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