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JOSEPH KENNEDY v. DELAWARE RIVER JOINT TOLL BRIDGE COMMISSION (07/14/78)

decided: July 14, 1978.

JOSEPH KENNEDY, APPELLANT,
v.
DELAWARE RIVER JOINT TOLL BRIDGE COMMISSION



No. 388 January Term, 1976, Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court dated March 11, 1976, at No. 21 T.D. 1975

COUNSEL

Jack Sirott, Bristol, for appellant.

Robert W. Valimont, William E. Benner, Reeves, Bowen & Valimont, Doylestown, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Pomeroy, J., filed a concurring opinion. Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, J., dissent.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 479 Pa. Page 515]

OPINION OF THE COURT

On January 3, 1974, appellant Joseph Kennedy was injured when the automobile he was operating skidded on the Lower Trenton Bridge over the Delaware River between Trenton, New Jersey, and Morrisville, Pennsylvania, and crashed into the structure of the bridge. Kennedy filed an action in trespass in the court of common pleas alleging that his injuries were the result of negligent maintenance of the

[ 479 Pa. Page 516]

    bridge by the appellee Commission. Preliminary objections, consisting of a demurrer and a motion raising a question of jurisdiction of the court of common pleas, were filed by the Commission. The court of common pleas, being of the view that it lacked jurisdiction,*fn1 ordered the case transferred to the Commonwealth Court.*fn2 The demurrer, which relied on the Commission's entitlement to sovereign immunity, was renewed in the Commonwealth Court,*fn3 and that court sustained the demurrer. 23 Pa. Commw. 662, 354 A.2d 52 (1976). This appeal followed.*fn4

In Mayle v. Pennsylvania Department of Highways, 479 Pa. 384, 388 A.2d 709, decided this day, sovereign immunity has been abolished as a defense in trespass actions in the courts of this Commonwealth. Our decision in Mayle is controlling here, and compels the conclusion that appellee's preliminary objections should not have been sustained on the ground of sovereign immunity.*fn5 Accordingly, the order of the Commonwealth Court is reversed, and the case remanded to that court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

It is so ordered.

[ 479 Pa. Page ...


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