Appeal from the Order entered February 3, 1984 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, at No. GD 83-20181. Appeal from the Order of June 13, 1984 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, at No. GD83-20181.
David L. Schwartz, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Gerard J.A. Cipriani, Pittsburgh, for Passant, appellees.
David R. Johnson, Pittsburgh, for Petrone, appellees.
Cirillo, Hoffman and Rosenwald, JJ.*fn1
[ 343 Pa. Super. Page 334]
Appellant contends that the lower court erred in granting appellee's preliminary objections and motion for summary judgment. We affirm in part and reverse in part.
In September, 1982, appellant filed a complaint alleging that an insured under a policy issued by defendant, State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company,*fn2 had struck appellant with his automobile. The insured denied that the
[ 343 Pa. Super. Page 335]
accident had occurred. Therefore, because appellant's credibility appeared to be at issue, the insurance company hired Business Information Company (BIC) to investigate appellant's work history, physical condition, and community standing. As part of their investigation, BIC's employees researched appellant's criminal record and obtained information regarding his visits to South Side Hospital from Beverly Petrone, the hospital's credit manager. Appellant obtained BIC's report to the insurance company in the course of discovery regarding his personal injury claim.
In the instant action, filed December 1, 1983, appellant seeks to recover damages from appellees, BIC and its employees,*fn3 alleging that (1) their report contained defamatory statements, and (2) their efforts to investigate appellant's hospital records constituted an invasion of privacy. He also seeks damages from appellees, Ms. Petrone and South Side Hospital, alleging that (1) Ms. Petrone made defamatory remarks about appellant, and (2) her release of information to BIC's employees was an invasion of privacy.
On January 13, 1984, BIC and its employees filed preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer. On February 3, the lower court granted the preliminary objections, dismissing the defamation claim for lack of publication and the invasion of privacy claim due to failure to plead legally cognizable damages. On May 23, 1984, Ms. Petrone and South Side Hospital filed a motion for summary judgment which was granted on June 13, 1984. The lower court held that (1) appellant had failed to allege special damages and (2) the allegedly defamatory statements were true. These consolidated appeals followed.
A. Preliminary Objections of BIC and its Employees
When reviewing a grant of a demurrer, all well-pleaded facts averred in the complaint are deemed admitted, and in order for the demurrer to be sustained, the complaint must indicate ...