Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County in case of Joseph Lucy, Peter Bukowski, Patrick Vinansky, Richard Cicci, Jack Evans and John Washlack v. J. M. Muchnok, W. H. Nixon, E. C. Urbany and W. J. Vicinelly, No. 428 May Term, 1976.
Anthony J. Seneca, for appellant.
Dennis W. Strain, Assistant Attorney General, for appellees.
Kenneth J. Yablonski, for amicus curiae, District 5 United Mine Workers of America.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 36 Pa. Commw. Page 273]
This is the appeal of Joseph Lucy, Peter Bukowski, Patrick Vinansky, Richard Cicci, Jack Evans and
[ 36 Pa. Commw. Page 274]
John Washlack from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County dismissing their amended complaint in trespass against J. M. Muchnok, E. C. Urbany and W. J. Vicinelly for failing to state a cause of action.
Plaintiffs Lucy, Vinansky and Bukowski are members of the Mine Safety Committee of the Ellsworth, Pennsylvania Local of the United Mine Workers of America. Plaintiffs Washlack, Cicci and Evans are members of the Mine Committee of the same local. The plaintiffs' amended complaint contains allegations that the defendants Muchnok and Urbany are Bituminous Mine Inspectors of the Commonwealth and the defendant Vicinelly is the Commissioner of Deep Mine Safety;*fn1 that after an inspection of Bethlehem Mine Corporation mine No. 51, defendants Muchnok and Urbany filed a report with the Acting Director, Bituminous Regional Mine Safety, Department of Environmental Resources, stating that: "It is apparent that the mine safety committee, mine committee, mine management and the safety department are in collusion and are not enforcing the law. . . ."; that the defendant Vicinelly received a copy of this report and republished it by sending copies to other persons; that the quoted statement was false and libelous; and that the plaintiffs had suffered and would continue to suffer injury to their reputations for which they were entitled to damages.
The defendants filed amended preliminary objections in which under the heading "Lack of Jurisdiction" they averred the following concerning Bituminous
[ 36 Pa. Commw. Page 275]
Mine Inspectors, the positions held by ...