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RAYMOND RIGGS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (08/09/83)

decided: August 9, 1983.

RAYMOND RIGGS, JR. ET AL., PETITIONERS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Board of Claims in the case of R. Riggs, J. Kubinsky, P. O'Connor and J. A. Hayes v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, No. FC-44-79.

COUNSEL

Leo Jackson, with him Jonathan K. Walters, Kirschner, Walters, Willig, Weinberg & Dempsey, for petitioners.

Michael D. Reed, Assistant Counsel, with him Ward T. Williams, Chief Counsel, and Jay C. Waldman, General Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Blatt, Craig and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 228]

Petitioners appeal an order of the Board of Claims (Board) which denied petitioners' claim against their employer, the Department of Transportation (DOT), for the value of work tools stolen from a DOT garage. We affirm.

Petitioners are mechanics for DOT and are stationed at the Christy Park garage, McKeesport, Pennsylvania.*fn1 As a condition of their employment, they were each required to supply their own set of work

[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 229]

    tools, which, for their own convenience, they stored at the garage in their own locked cabinets. Sometime during the weekend of October 7, 1978, an unknown person broke into the garage and made off with the petitioners' tools.

Petitioners filed a letter with the Board of Claims seeking compensation from DOT for the stolen tools, and on July 17, 1979, the Board dismissed the claim without a hearing. The matter was appealed to this Court and remanded to the Board for a hearing.*fn2 On April 22, 1982, the Board again dismissed petitioners' claim which prompted the present appeal.

The Commonwealth Court's scope of review in such matters is limited; we must affirm the order of the Board unless we find that it is not in accordance with law or that there is not substantial evidence to support the findings of fact. State Highway and Bridge Authority v. E.J. Albrecht Co., 48 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 491, 409 A.2d 1202 (1980).

Three of the petitioners, Riggs, Kubinsky and O'Connor, were included in a collective bargaining agreement entered into between DOT and Council 13 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, under which all disputes arising from the terms and conditions of their employment were to be submitted to a grievance procedure. Initially, the petitioners followed this procedure and submitted their claim for compensation to binding arbitration.*fn3 On April 2, 1979 Arbitrator William C. Stonehouse, Jr. ...


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