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THOMAS SCHREIBER v. WILLIAM JETER ET AL. (05/13/82)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: May 13, 1982.

THOMAS SCHREIBER, PLAINTIFF
v.
WILLIAM JETER ET AL., DEFENDANTS

Original jurisdiction in case of Thomas Schreiber v. William Jeter et al.

COUNSEL

Arlene Glenn Simolike, for plaintiff.

Carl Vaccaro, Deputy Attorney General, with him John O. J. Shellenberger, Deputy Attorney General, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for defendants.

Judges Craig, MacPhail and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. Judge Mencer did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Craig

[ 66 Pa. Commw. Page 478]

Plaintiff Thomas Schreiber, an income maintenance worker with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW), has filed this original jurisdiction action, for violation of his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against defendants DPW, William Jeter and Vertell Jones, formerly DPW employees, and Don Jose Stovall, executive director of the Philadelphia County Board of Assistance. DPW, Jones and Stovall have filed preliminary objections demurring to the complaint.

Schreiber asserts that the defendants have discriminated against him because of his union activities and his "active stance" on office procedures and personnel

[ 66 Pa. Commw. Page 479]

    policies. Schreiber argues that the defendants have subjected him to discriminatory treatment in an effort to prevent him from exercising his civil rights.

The complaint contains allegations that the defendants changed Schreiber's caseload completely several times over a short period, that each new caseload was larger or more difficult, that the defendants assigned Schreiber a Spanish-speaking caseload although he does not speak Spanish, that because of these caseload changes Schreiber had to work overtime, and that the defendants required Schreiber to keep a minute-by-minute log of his overtime hours. The complaint also contains the allegation that, under color of law, the defendants treated Schreiber differently than other employees.*fn1

Schreiber is a classified civil service employee. The Civil Service Act*fn2 provides an administrative remedy*fn3 for discriminatory discipline and work assignments. Section 905.1 of the Act*fn4 states in pertinent part:

No officer or employee of the Commonwealth shall discriminate against any person in . . . any . . . personnel action with respect to the classified service because of . . . non-merit factors.

Schreiber's complaint states a civil service violation.*fn5

Not every legally cognizable injury which may have been inflicted by a state official acting under color of law establishes a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The complaint contains only general conclusions of

[ 66 Pa. Commw. Page 480]

    law stating that the defendants have violated Schreiber's rights of free speech, association and equal protection. Because the complaint alleges no facts which would show that Schreiber's constitutionally protected liberty or property interests or federal statutory rights have been violated, we decide that no constitutional tort has been pleaded. Paul v. Davis, 424 U.S. 693 (1976).

Accordingly, we sustain defendants' demurrer and dismiss the complaint.

Order

Now, May 13, 1982, defendants' preliminary objections, Nos. 20, 21 and 23, are sustained and plaintiff's complaint is hereby dismissed.

Judge Mencer did not participate in the decision in this case.

Disposition

Preliminary objections sustained. Complaint dismissed.


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