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JOSEPH M. TARANTINO v. ALLENTOWN STATE HOSPITAL ET AL. (01/29/76)

decided: January 29, 1976.

JOSEPH M. TARANTINO, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF JANICE A. TARANTINO, DECEASED, APPELLANT,
v.
ALLENTOWN STATE HOSPITAL ET AL.



COUNSEL

Rodney D. Henry, Quakertown, for appellant.

Allen C. Warshaw, Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellee.

Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Jones, C. J., took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. O'Brien, J., filed an Opinion in Support of Affirmance in which Eagen and Pomeroy, JJ., joined. Roberts, J., filed an Opinion in Support of Reversal in which Nix and Manderino, JJ., joined.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 465 Pa. Page 581]

OPINION

The Court being equally divided, the Order of the Commonwealth Court is affirmed.

[ 465 Pa. Page 582]

O'BRIEN, Justice (Opinion in Support of Affirmance).

Order of the Commonwealth Court affirmed.

See Brown v. Commonwealth, 453 Pa. 566, 305 A.2d 868 (1973); Poklemba v. Shamokin State General Hospital, 21 Pa. Commw 301, 344 A.2d 732 (1975). See also Biello v. Pa. Liquor Control Bd., 454 Pa. 179, 301 A.2d 849 (1973) (opinion announcing the decision of the Court).

ROBERTS, Justice (Opinion in Support of Reversal).

On January 19, 1973, Janice Tarantino was involuntarily committed to Allentown State Hospital. Appellants allege that even though bruises were visible on her head and body, Janice Tarantino was not examined by physicians during the first four days of her confinement. In March she died. It is alleged that her death was caused by the negligence of the Commonwealth and its agents.

This wrongful death and survival action ensued. Preliminary objections raising the defense of sovereign immunity were sustained. Today, members of this Court allow that order to stand. As on every other occasion when this Court has reaffirmed the doctrine of sovereign immunity, depriving citizens of the Commonwealth of their day in Court, I disagree. See, e. g., Zerby v. Department of Transportation, 464 Pa. 421, 423, 346 A.2d 914, 915 (1975) (dissenting opinion of Roberts, J.); Williams v. Commonwealth, 460 Pa. 581, 582, 333 A.2d 924, (1975) (dissenting ...


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