Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County in case of Eileen E. Gill v. Allentown State Hospital, City of Easton, Easton Police Department, et al. and Lehigh County and Lehigh County Mental Health/Mental Retardation, No. 1982-C-249 and No. 1982-C-2748.
Victor R. Stabile, with him, Michael E. Kosik, Deputy Attorney General, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for petitioners.
Terry S. Hyman, Angino & Rovner, P.C., for respondent.
president Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Rogers, Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Rogers. Judge Palladino dissents. Judge Williams, Jr., did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 332]
This case is a companion to Gill v. Northampton County, et al., 88 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 327, A.2d (1985). It is an interlocutory appeal, by permission pursuant to 42 Pa. C.S. § 702(b), from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County refusing motions for judgment on the pleadings made by the Allentown State Hospital and three of its employees, Doctors Guzman, Jain and Durka (appellants).
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 333]
On August 10, 1980, the appellee, Eileen Gill, was assaulted by Arthur Metzer, a former patient of the Allentown State Hospital. The appellee filed complaints in trespass against the Allentown State Hospital, Doctors Guzman, Jain and Durka, and a number of local agencies, two of which are the subject of the appeal at 14 T.D. 1984, alleging that Arthur Metzer had been negligently released and supervised by the several defendants. Answers and New Matter were filed denying the averments of the appellee's complaint and raising defenses of sovereign and governmental immunity. Thereafter, the Allentown State Hospital and Doctors Guzman, Jain and Durka, its employees, filed motions for judgment on the pleadings.
The trial court denied the motions concluding that the state had waived its sovereign immunity by 42 Pa. C.S. § 8522(b)(2). The Allentown State Hospital and Doctors Guzman, Jain and Durka have appealed.
Section 8522 provides as follows:
Liability Imposed -- The General Assembly, pursuant to Section 11 of Article I of the Constitution of Pennsylvania, does hereby waive, in the instances set forth in subsection (b) only and only to the extent set forth in this subchapter and within the limits set forth in section 8528 (relating to limitations on damages), sovereign immunity as a bar to an action against Commonwealth parties, for damages arising out of a negligent act where the damages would be recoverable under the common law or a statute creating a cause of action if the injury were caused by a person not having available the defense of sovereign immunity.
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 334]
(b) Acts which may impose liability -- The following acts by a Commonwealth party may result in the imposition of liability on the Commonwealth and the defense of sovereign immunity ...