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JAIME SINGZON v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/24/81)

decided: September 24, 1981.

JAIME SINGZON, M. D., EDWARD V. TWIGGAR, II, M. D., DAVID L. HOFFMAN, HAROLD E. THOMAS, JAMES P. KELLEY, DEBRA L. PRICE AND LEONARD A. SLODYSKO, APPELLANTS,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, HELEN O'BANNON, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE



No. 80-2-288, Appeal from the Order dated May 15, 1980 of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania at No. 863 C.D. 1980.

COUNSEL

Michael I. Levin, Harrisburg, for appellants.

Allen Warshaw, David H. Allshouse, Deputy Attys. Gen., for appellees.

Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ. Roberts, J., filed a concurring opinion in which Nix, J., joins. O'Brien, C. J., and Wilkinson, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Larsen

[ 496 Pa. Page 9]

OPINION

In early March, 1980, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) announced the reduction of the nursing staff at Shamokin State General Hospital (SSGH) located in Shamokin, Pennsylvania. Appellants filed a petition for review with the Commonwealth Court on April 15, 1980 asking that Court to "set aside the decisions and plan" of respondents DPW and Helen O'Bannon, Secretary of DPW (appellees herein).

On April 24, 1980, appellants filed an application for a preliminary injunction requesting the Commonwealth Court to preliminarily enjoin appellees from implementing the announced reduction in staff. An evidentiary hearing on this application was held on May 15, 1980 before the Honorable

[ 496 Pa. Page 10]

Robert W. Williams, Jr. who, at the conclusion of the hearing, issued an order from the bench denying the application. This denial was appealed to this Court. (A written opinion was filed by Judge Williams on September 30, 1980, pursuant to Rule 1925 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure).

Appellants also filed an application with Commonwealth Court on May 22, 1980 seeking an injunction or stay of implementation of the DPW decision pending the determination of the appeal from the May 15, 1980 order but, on June 5, 1980, Justices Robert N. C. Nix, Jr. and Bruce W. Kauffman of this Court issued an order which stayed the DPW determination during the pendency of this appeal.

Appellants (petitioners below) are two SSGH staff physicians, (Drs. Jaime Singzon and Edward V. Twiggar, II), one nurse whose employment is directly affected by the planned staff reduction (Debra L. Price) and four area residents (David L. Hoffman, Harold E. Thomas, James P. Kelley, and Leonard A. Slodysko). Their application for preliminary injunction alleged, essentially, that appellees acted either without authority or in an arbitrary, capricious or bad faith manner, and that the proposed staff reduction posed an immediate threat of irreparable injury to the health, safety and welfare of patients and prospective patients at SSGH. Judge Williams concluded that the latter allegation -- immediate threat of irreparable injury -- was not supported by the evidence adduced at the hearing and so denied the injunction sought. We affirm.

The standards of appellate review or the grant or denial of a preliminary injunction have often been reiterated by this ...


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