Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

BRADERMAN v. PENNSYLVANIA HOUS. FIN. AGENCY

June 18, 1985

SANDRA BRADERMAN, Plaintiff
v.
PENNSYLVANIA HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY, COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CALDWELL

 I. Introduction.

 Defendants, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), Harold Dunbar, PHFA's former chief counsel, and Trudy Baum, PHFA's Director of Personnel, have filed a motion for summary judgment. Based upon the recent United States Supreme Court decision in Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 105 S. Ct. 1938, 85 L. Ed. 2d 254 (1985), defendants contend that plaintiff, Sandra Braderman's, civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 are barred by the two year Pennsylvania statute of limitations for personal injury actions. See 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524. Conceding that the affect of the Wilson decision would be to bar her federal claims by application of that state statutory section, see Knoll v. Springfield Township School District, 763 F.2d 584 (3d Cir. 1985) (deciding on remand from the Supreme Court that 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524 applies to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 actions), plaintiff argues that the decision should not be applied retroactively. She also contends that, in any event, application of the "discovery rule," adopted by Pennsylvania in determining when the limitations period for personal injuries has run, leads to the conclusion that her civil rights claims are timely under Wilson.1

 II. Discussion.

 II. Discussion.

 Braderman's section 1983 claims are based upon her discharge from her position as a legal secretary at PHFA in alleged violation of her First Amendment right to freedom of association and her Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. Her complaint, also making state constitutional and state law claims for relief, was filed on September 19, 1984, and alleges that she was fired on August 7, 1981. (Complaint, paras. 8, 25). In Wilson v. Garcia, supra, the Supreme Court held that all section 1983 actions would be governed by the state statute of limitations applicable to personal injury actions. Hence, it would appear that Braderman's claim is time barred because she filed her complaint approximately three years and two weeks after her discharge and one year and two weeks after the Pennsylvania limitations period for personal injury claims had run. See 42 Pa.C.S. § 5524.

 Plaintiff argues, however, that when she filed her complaint, it was timely under the law then in effect in the Third Circuit. Under the test set forth in Chevron Oil Co. v. Huson, 404 U.S. 97, 92 S. Ct. 349, 30 L. Ed. 2d 296 (1971), for determining when a decision should be applied retroactively, she contends that Wilson should not be applied to bar her claim. Conversely, defendants contend that the general rule requires the court to apply the law in effect at the time of its decision. See Perez v. Dana Corporation, 718 F.2d 581 (3d Cir. 1983). They request summary judgment on the federal claims and dismissal of the state claims for lack of pendent jurisdiction since the federal claims are barred. To apply the Chevron test we must do the following:

 
First, we must determine whether the decision establishes "a new principle of law, either by overruling clear past precedent on which the litigants may have relied, or by deciding an issue of first impression whose resolution was not clearly foreshadowed." Chevron, 404 U.S. at 106, 92 S. Ct. at 355. Second, we must look to the prior history of the decision in question, and to its purpose and effect, to ascertain "whether retrospective operation will further or retard its operation." Id. at 106-07, 92 S. Ct. at 355-356 (quoting Linkletter v. Walker, 381 U.S. 618, 629, 85 S. Ct. 1731, 1737, 14 L. Ed. 2d 601 (1965)); Marino v. Bowers, 657 F.2d 1363, 1365 (3d Cir. 1982). Third, we must weigh "the inequity imposed by retroactive application." Chevron, 404 U.S. at 107, 92 S. Ct. at 355.

 Perez, supra, at 585 (3d Cir. 1983).

 A. The Chevron Test.

 1. Wilson's Change From Prior Law.

 Plaintiff contends that Wilson established a new principle of law which overruled clear past precedent in the Third Circuit. She cites Knoll v. Springfield Township School District, 699 F.2d 137 (3d Cir. 1983), cert. granted, 468 U.S. 1024, 104 S. Ct. 3571, 82 L. Ed. 2d 870 (1984), vacated, 471 U.S. 288, 105 S. Ct. 2065, 85 L. Ed. 2d 275 (1985), on remand, 763 F.2d 584 (3d Cir. 1985) and Fitzgerald v. Larson, 741 F.2d 32 (3d Cir. 1984), *fn2" to support her claim that the law of the Third Circuit prior to Wilson clearly gave her six years from the accrual of her cause of action to bring suit. *fn3"

 We disagree. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals noted in Knoll itself that:


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.