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LEON D. TOURVILLE v. INTER-OCEAN INSURANCE COMPANY AND JAMES COLWELL (03/04/86)

filed: March 4, 1986.

LEON D. TOURVILLE, APPELLANT
v.
INTER-OCEAN INSURANCE COMPANY AND JAMES COLWELL



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Civil Division at No. GD 82-18768

COUNSEL

John T. Tierney, III, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Alan H. Perer, Pittsburgh, for appellees.

Brosky, Rowley and Feeney, JJ.*fn*

Author: Brosky

[ 353 Pa. Super. Page 54]

This appeal is from summary judgment against plaintiff in a civil suit for wrongful discharge. Appellant contends that there were sufficient factual allegations to go to trial

[ 353 Pa. Super. Page 55]

    on the issue of wrongful discharge. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm.

Facts

Appellant was an insurance broker for appellee before he fell ill. During his hospitalization an employee of appellee came to his house and collected his business records; justifying this to his wife with the statement that he was dying. Appellant did not fulfill this prophecy, but returned home. His former clients were then told that by the same employee he had beat his wife, had a nervous breakdown and kept dishonest accounts. He denies his demise, his brutality and the dishonesty attributed to him. The trial court granted summary judgment for appellee based on the legal conclusion that appellant had not alleged a violation of public policy necessary to support a wrongful discharge action.

Wrongful Discharge

The seminal wrongful discharge case in Pennsylvania is Geary v. U.S. Steel Corp., 456 Pa. 171, 319 A.2d 174 (1974). Writing for a majority of the Court, Justice Pomeroy announced a cause of action for wrongful discharge for at-will employees. Under Geary, one of two circumstances have to be met: the discharge must be made with the specific intent to harm,*fn1 or it must be contrary to public policy.*fn2 We agree with the trial court that appellant's pleadings do not support a discharge violative of public policy. It remains to be seen, ...


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