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ROSALIE COHEN v. TEMPLE UNIVERSITY COMMONWEALTH SYSTEM HIGHER EDUCATION (04/30/82)

filed: April 30, 1982.

ROSALIE COHEN, APPELLANT,
v.
TEMPLE UNIVERSITY OF THE COMMONWEALTH SYSTEM OF HIGHER EDUCATION, AND MARVIN WACHMAN, AND JOHN RUMPF, AND GEORGE W. JOHNSON, AND DAVID G. BERGER



No. 533 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil Division, at No. 4399 September Term, 1979.

COUNSEL

John J. O'Brien, Jr., Philadelphia, for appellant.

Matthew Strickler, Philadelphia, for appellees.

Beck, Hoffman and Lipez, JJ.

Author: Hoffman

[ 299 Pa. Super. Page 126]

Appellant contends that the lower court erred in dismissing her complaint for failure to exhaust mandatory arbitration procedures. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the order of the court below.

In 1970, appellant, Dr. Rosalie Cohen, was jointly appointed to the faculty of appellee Temple University of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education as an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology of the College of Liberal Arts and the Department of Foundations of Education of the College of Education. Thereby, she was to teach courses in both departments, but was to be considered for promotion within the Department of Sociology. On July 5, 1973, the American Association of University Professors was duly certified pursuant to the Public Employe Relations

[ 299 Pa. Super. Page 127]

Act*fn1 (PERA) as the exclusive bargaining representative of a unit including the full-time faculty of the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Education. The union and the University subsequently negotiated a collective bargaining agreement establishing minimum pay scales and generally incorporating existing university policies on promotion, work load, and fringe benefits. The collective bargaining agreement also established a three-step procedure for processing employee grievances and required, as a final step of that process, that all disputes be submitted to arbitration.*fn2 Appellant did not join the union. On September 26, 1979, she filed a fourcount complaint in assumpsit and trespass seeking compensatory and punitive damages from the University and four

[ 299 Pa. Super. Page 128]

    of its administrators. Appellant's three assumpsit counts aver that her contractual employment rights had been violated because: (1) she had not been promoted to the status of Professor according to established university procedures; (2) she had not been assigned to choice committees and graduate-level courses; and (3) the University had not observed proper procedures in attempting to terminate her appointment to the Department of Foundations of Education.*fn3 Appellant's trespass count generally reiterated her claim that she had been denied promotion and further alleged that the appellee administrators had fraudulently misrepresented the procedures that would be employed in evaluating her last application for promotion. Appellees then filed preliminary objections asserting, inter alia, that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because appellant had failed to submit her disputes to arbitration as required by the collective bargaining agreement and section 903 of PERA, 43 P.S. ยง 1101.903. The lower court sustained the preliminary objection as to its jurisdiction and dismissed appellant's complaint with a directive that the parties submit the matters to arbitration.*fn4 This appeal followed.*fn5

[ 299 Pa. Super. Page 129]

"Where . . . an administrative remedy is statutorily prescribed the general rule is that a court -- be it a court of equity or a court of law -- is without jurisdiction to entertain the action." Lilian v. Commonwealth, 467 Pa. 15, 18, 354 A.2d 250, 252 (1976) (citations omitted). Accord, Veerasingham v. Sharp, 61 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 460, 464, 434 A.2d 221, 223 (1981). "An aggrieved employee covered by a collective bargaining agreement which provides exclusive remedies for breaches of that agreement, must attempt to exhaust those contractual ...


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