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ARLINGTON W. MYERS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/25/83)

filed: March 25, 1983.

ARLINGTON W. MYERS, ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, APPELLANTS,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY, AND CHARLES J. LIEBERTH, SECRETARY OF THE PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY AND CLEMENT J. CASSIDY, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION REFEREE



No. 1684 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from the Order of June 4, 1981 In the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Civil Division, Law No. 140 February Term, 1981.

COUNSEL

Henry C. Haefner, Lancaster, for appellants.

Daniel R. Schuckers, Harrisburg, for appellees.

Cercone, President Judge, and Spaeth and Cavanaugh, JJ.

Author: Cercone

[ 312 Pa. Super. Page 63]

This appeal involves pre-trial orders dismissing plaintiff's action on grounds of judicial and quasi-judicial immunity and holding the class issues thereby mooted. We affirm.

I. Factual and Procedural History

In late 1979, Mr. Myers filed a claim for workmen's compensation benefits and a hearing was held before the referee (defendant) on February 6, 1979. When no decision had been filed by the referee before August 18, 1980, Myers then filed a Petition for Review in the nature of a Complaint in the Commonwealth Court, complete with class action allegations. In particular, Myers sought a mandamus commanding the referee to issue a decision in Count I; in Count II, Myers sought damages in the form of interest on any award by the referee, computed from 90 days after the hearing until time of award. Myers also alleged that all those persons in whose workmen's compensation cases decisions had not been rendered within 90 days of their hearings

[ 312 Pa. Super. Page 64]

    were members of the class. Thereafter, and before the class issue was decided, a decision was filed in Myers' workmen's compensation case.

By Opinion and Order dated December 19, 1980, the Commonwealth Court held that Count I (mandamus) was mooted by the filing of a decision in Myers' workmen's compensation case. With regard to Count II (seeking interest), the Commonwealth Court held that the Department of Labor and Industry was immune from suit as was the Secretary of that Department. The Commonwealth Court also held that it lacked jurisdiction over the action against the referee and transferred that action to the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County. Myers does not complain of any of these rulings on this appeal.

The Court of Common Pleas held that the mooting of the representative plaintiff's claim for mandamus was fatal to the class action allegations and also held that the referee was immune to suit for damages under doctrines of judicial and quasijudicial immunity. While we disagree with the ...


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