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MARGARET B. GROMAN v. OFFICERS' AND EMPLOYEES' PENSION BOARD CITY BETHLEHEM ET AL. (10/25/82)

decided: October 25, 1982.

MARGARET B. GROMAN, APPELLANT
v.
OFFICERS' AND EMPLOYEES' PENSION BOARD OF THE CITY OF BETHLEHEM ET AL., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County in the case of Margaret B. Groman v. Officers' and Employees' Pension Board of the City of Bethlehem and Paul Marcincin, Wallace DeCrosta, Wilma Matus, Norman Allan, Catherine Schlener, James Hadden, John Roebuck, Individually and City of Bethlehem, No. 1979-C-8527.

COUNSEL

William F. Zaun, for appellant.

Thomas W. Houser, for appellee, Officers' and Employees' Pension Board of the City of Bethlehem et al.

Richard F. Boyer, for appellee, City of Bethlehem.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 448]

Margaret B. Groman (Appellant) appeals here from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County in favor of the Officers' and Employees' Pension Board of the City of Bethlehem (Board) and the City of Bethlehem (City) disallowing payment of pension benefits as of the date of Appellant's fifty-fifth birthday, May 23, 1979.

Appellant commenced the instant action in assumpsit after the Board denied her application for pension

[ 69 Pa. Commw. Page 449]

    benefits pursuant to the provisions of Section 4 of the Act of May 23, 1945 (Act of 1945), P.L. 903, as amended, 53 P.S. § 39374.*fn1 Although the trial court in a footnote in its opinion disposing of Appellant's exceptions to a non-jury verdict, indicated its consciousness of a possible jurisdictional question, it did not address that issue because the Appellant's procedure was not challenged by the City or the Board. Neither has the jurisdictional issue been raised in the briefs or oral argument in this Court.

In Lashe v. Northern York County School District, 52 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 541, 417 A.2d 260 (1980), we discussed in some detail the elements of subject matter jurisdiction. We need not repeat that discussion here. Our holding in Lashe was that where subject matter (as opposed to personal) jurisdiction is involved, the court has a duty to determine its own jurisdiction sua sponte, even though the issue has not been raised by the parties.

In the instant case, we are of the opinion that Appellant had an exclusive statutory remedy under the Local Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. §§ 551-555, 751-754, to pursue her pension entitlement. There can be no doubt that the Board is a local agency within the meaning of that term as defined in 2 Pa. C.S. § 101.*fn2 Likewise, there can be no doubt that the decision of the Board denying ...


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