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MICHELLE MASCARO v. YOUTH STUDY CENTER (05/22/85)

decided: May 22, 1985.

MICHELLE MASCARO, A MINOR AND KENNETH MASCARO AND MICHELLE MASCARO, APPELLANTS
v.
YOUTH STUDY CENTER, CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, WILSON GOODE AND COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of Michelle Mascaro, a minor et al. v. Youth Study Center et al., No. 6068 April Term, 1983.

COUNSEL

David Assad, with him, Dennis E. Haggerty, Briscoe, Haggerty & Howard, for appellants.

Ralph J. Luongo, with him, Michael B. Tolcott, Barbara W. Mather, City Solicitor, Barbara R. Axelrod, Deputy City Solicitor, and Norman G. Prajzner, Assistant City Solicitor, for appellees.

Judges Rogers and Colins and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 89 Pa. Commw. Page 389]

Kenneth Mascaro and Michelle Mascaro, for themselves and in behalf of two minor children, sued the City of Philadelphia (City), its Youth Study Center (Center), and Wilson Goode, formerly the City's Managing Director, in trespass for damages for personal injuries inflicted in assaults upon them by an escaped inmate of the Center. They here appeal from judgment on the pleadings entered by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County against them and in

[ 89 Pa. Commw. Page 390]

    favor of the appellees, defendants below. To lighten the burden of reading this, we will refer to the appellants here as the plaintiffs and the appellees as the defendants.

The plaintiffs alleged by complaint that Claude Opher escaped from the Center, entered their home, bound and gagged the parents and one child, and raped the other child. The negligent acts charged to the defendants were that they failed in their duty to supervise, that is confine, Opher who had a known propensity for escaping, and that they failed properly to maintain the locks, windows, and doors of the Center, enabling Opher to escape. Mr. Goode is alleged to have been negligent by issuing a directive providing that the Center's detainees including Opher should no longer be required to wear orange uniforms. The plaintiffs charged in general terms that the acts of the City and Center employees, including Mr. Goode, constituted willful misconduct.

By Answer, the defendants effectively denied the plaintiffs' allegations of negligence and by New Matter invoked the affirmative defenses of governmental and official immunity conferred by 42 Pa. C.S. ยงยง 8541-8564, which we will refer to generally as the Act.

The plaintiffs by Reply to New Matter, noted that the defenses advanced by the defendants based on the Act were conclusions of law requiring no reply.

The defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings.

The trial court judge held that the alleged failure to provide adequate supervision of Opher was not an act excepted from the immunity conferred upon the defendants by the Act, granted the defendants' motion for ...


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