Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in case of Mary C. Murphy v. Township of Abington and Albert Herrman, Manager, Township of Abington, No. 83-04339.
Louis J. Sinatra, with him, Peter L. Fiss, Lesser & Kaplin, P.C., for appellant.
Paul A. Logan, Waters, Gallagher & Trachtman, for appellees.
Judges Craig and Doyle and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle. Judge Williams, Jr., did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 492]
This is an appeal by Mary C. Murphy (Plaintiff) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County sustaining a preliminary objection in the nature of demurrer, filed by the Township of Abington and Albert Herrman, the Township Manager,
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 493]
(Township) which dismissed Plaintiff's complaint in mandamus. Plaintiff is the widow of James J. Murphy, Sr., who died on May 30, 1980. Mr. Murphy, at the time of his death, was a volunteer member of the Weldon Fire Company for the Township of Abington. On May 30, 1980 Mr. Murphy was directing traffic at the scene of a fire when he collapsed in the street. First aid was administered to Mr. Murphy at the scene and he was taken to Abington Memorial Hospital where he died later that evening.
Subsequent to her husband's death, Plaintiff, pursuant to Section 1 of the Act of June 26, 1976, P.L. 424, as amended, 53 P.S. § 891 (Act 101), determined to apply to the Department of General Services, (DGS) Bureau of Risk and Insurance Management (Bureau) for the $25,000 in death benefits provided for surviving spouses of firefighters killed in the performance of their duties. Section 1 of Act 101 provides in pertinent part:
In the event a . . . firefighter is killed in the performance of his duties, such political subdivision within 30 days from the date of death shall submit certification of such death to the Commonwealth. (Emphasis added.)
As part of the application procedures Plaintiff submitted to the Township a Report of Death form and requested that the Township process the form. This form appears in the regulations promulgated by DGS. See 4 Pa. Code § 89.11.
The Report of Death form states that it is to be completed by the political subdivision or Commonwealth agency. In addition to spaces for general information such as the decedent's name, address, social security number, date of injury, date of death, and the name of the decedent's superior ...