Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Juniata County in case of Herbert Lynch v. Michael Johnston, District Attorney and William R. Hurley, State Trooper, Pennsylvania State Police, No. 243 of 1982.
Herbert Lynch, for himself.
John B. Mancke, with him Douglas B. Marcello, Mancke, Lightman & Wagner, for appellee, Michael Johnston, District Attorney.
David F. Snyder, Deputy Attorney General, with him Herbert L. Olivieri, Chief, Torts Litigation Unit, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for appellee, William R. Hurley, State Trooper, Pennsylvania State Police.
Judges Rogers, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Memorandum Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
This action was commenced in Juniata County in June of 1982 when Plaintiff,*fn1 Herbert Lynch, filed a pleading entitled "Class Action in Trespass and Torts, Joint Complaint", the caption of which listed "Michael Johnston, District Attorney and William R. Hurley, Trooper, Penna. State Police", as Defendants.*fn2 Attached to the pleading are certain exhibits including a copy of an application for a nolle prosequi signed by Mr. Johnston as District Attorney and a copy of a criminal complaint signed by Mr. Hurley as a Pennsylvania State Police Trooper.
Preliminary objections were filed to the pleading by both named Defendants. Before the objections were ruled upon, Plaintiff filed a paper entitled "Amendment of Complaint" and a motion to strike the Defendants' preliminary objections. Other preliminary objections were filed whereupon the learned trial judge, with due regard for Plaintiff's pro se status,*fn3 filed an order supported by a memorandum which disposed of the motions then before the court
and accepted Plaintiff's "Amendment of Complaint" as an amended complaint.
Thereafter, with leave of court, Plaintiff filed to the same term and number a pleading entitled "Action in Trespass and Torts, Joint Complaint, Amended Complaint". The caption of this pleading named the Defendants as Michael Johnston and William R. Hurley without further identification. Both Defendants again filed preliminary objections. The trial judge, again with due regard for Plaintiff's pro se status, sustained Defendants' preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer and dismissed the Plaintiff's amended complaint with prejudice. This appeal followed.
Plaintiff's amended complaint contains 3 counts preceded by several paragraphs under the heading of "Facts". Since Pennsylvania adheres to fact as opposed to notice pleading, we must determine whether the trial judge correctly ruled that even if all the facts alleged by the Plaintiff and the fair inferences therefrom were true, Plaintiff, as a matter of law, failed to state a cause of action against either Defendant; and that both Defendants were entitled to official immunity.
Paragraph 4 of the complaint states that Plaintiff was charged in 1980 with forgery by Trooper Hurley and that Mr. Johnston was at the hearing before a district justice when the case was dismissed because the Commonwealth failed to make out a prima facie case. The next paragraph of the complaint states that in March of 1981, Plaintiff was charged with forgery and theft by deception by Trooper Hurley and that Mr. Johnston was again present ...