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JAVELLE VANN v. BOARD EDUCATION SCHOOL DISTRICT PHILADELPHIA (08/30/83)

decided: August 30, 1983.

JAVELLE VANN, A MINOR, AND SEVENIA VANN, HER MOTHER AND NATURAL GUARDIAN, APPELLANTS
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in case of Javelle Vann, a minor, and Sevenia Vann, her mother and natural guardian v. Board of Education of the School District of Philadelphia, No. 5502 April Term, 1982.

COUNSEL

Patricia Pierce, with her William L. Bowe, Rudley, Bowe & Crummett, P.C., for appellants.

Andrew M. Rosen, Assistant Counsel, with him Eugene F. Brazil, General Counsel, for appellee.

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

Author: Doyle

[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 604]

Javelle Vann, a minor, and Sevenia Vann, her mother and natural guardian, here appeal an order of

[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 605]

    the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County which sustained preliminary objections to a complaint against the Board of Education of the School District of Philadelphia (School District) and dismissed the complaint. We affirm.

On February 21, 1981, at approximately 11:00 p.m., Javelle Vann was walking on the sidewalk adjacent to the Anderson School at 61st Street and Cobbs Creek Parkway. She was assaulted and forceably taken through an unsecured gate in the fence around the school to an unlighted area of the school grounds where she was beaten. A complaint in trespass was filed against the School District alleging negligence in failing to secure the school property and in failing to maintain adequate lighting, thereby permitting the property to be used for criminal activity directed at passersby. The School District filed preliminary objections to the complaint claiming immunity under Section 8541 of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa. C.S. § 8541.*fn1 The court of common pleas found that the circumstances of this case did not fall within the exceptions to immunity in Section 8542 of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa. C.S. § 8542, and dismissed the complaint. This appeal followed.

Section 8541 of the Judicial Code provides:

Except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, no local agency shall be liable for any damages on account of any injury to a person or property caused by any act of the local

[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 606]

    agency or an employee thereof or ...


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