Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in case of Deborah A. Anastasi v. Civil Service Commission City of Philadelphia, No. 3125 September Term, 1983.
Kenneth D. Freeman, with him, Kip D. Denega, Jr., and S. Jay Sklar, for appellant.
Susan Shinkman, with her, James K. Grasty and Amy E. Katz, Assistant City Solicitor, for appellee.
Judges MacPhail, Colins and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. Judge Colins dissents. This decision was reached prior to the resignation of Judge Williams, Jr.
Deborah A. Anastasi (Appellant) appeals here from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County affirming the decision of the Civil Service Commission of Philadelphia (Commission) discharging Appellant from her position as a police officer due to a permanent and partial disability.
Appellant, a recent inductee in the Philadelphia police force, had been seeing a lay therapist prior to her appointment to the police force to explore problems she was experiencing in her personal relationships.
On July 23, 1982, Appellant threatened to commit suicide.*fn1 At her therapist's insistence, Appellant voluntarily committed herself to the Lankenau Hospital for psychiatric evaluation.*fn2 Three days later, against the advice of her attending physician, Appellant signed herself out of the hospital.
Upon Appellant's release from the hospital, Appellant was instructed to see the Municipal Medical Director, John M. Lawlor, M.D. At the request of Dr. Lawlor, Appellant's psychiatrist, Dr. Alfred S. Roberts (not her lay therapist) submitted a letter of his evaluation of Appellant. Dr. Roberts determined that Appellant had experienced a "short, acute episode of depression" and indicated that Appellant could return to work as soon as Dr. Lawlor's department approved. Dr. Lawlor sent Appellant to see Dr. Paul J. Poinsard, a professor of psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College. On the basis of an extended interview with Appellant and a review of her records, Dr. Poinsard opined that Appellant did not possess the mental stability required of a police officer. In accordance with civil service regulations, Appellant was offered alternative employment.*fn3 When that offer was not pursued, she was dismissed from her position as a police officer.
On appeal to the Commission, Appellant presented the testimony of two psychiatrists who concluded that Appellant was mentally able to function as a police
officer.*fn4 The Commission resolved the conflicting testimony in favor of the police ...