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DEANNA BRUCH v. WILLIAM CLARK AND FRED YEAGER (04/10/86)

filed: April 10, 1986.

DEANNA BRUCH, APPELLANT,
v.
WILLIAM CLARK AND FRED YEAGER



Appeal from the Order Entered on may 8, 1985 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil Division, No. 861 March Term 1980

COUNSEL

Malcolm H. Waldron, Jr., Philadelphia, for appellant.

C.Y. Lamb, Cheltenham, for appellees.

Montemuro, Hoffman and Cercone, JJ.

Author: Cercone

[ 352 Pa. Super. Page 227]

Appellant brings this appeal from the order of the trial court en banc reversing the judgment in favor of plaintiff-appellant and granting defendants-appellee's Motion for Judgment N.O.V. The sole issue raised on appeal is whether the trial court erred in finding that the appellant failed to state a cause of action for malicious prosecution. We find that it did not err and affirm the judgment of the lower court.

Appellant, Deanna Bruch, was employed by the Department of Public Welfare, Bucks County Board of Assistance, Bristol Office. In October 1976, while still employed full-time, she applied for and began receiving welfare benefits for her two children. That same month she began training for a position as, and soon became, an income maintenance worker. Her responsibilities as an income maintenance worker included computing client eligibility for receiving welfare benefits. She continued to receive welfare checks during this time. Her application for welfare had been approved by Mr. Ernest Maleski an Intake Supervisor at the Bucks County office, who was later investigated for welfare fraud.

Defendant-appellees Bill Clark and Fred Yeager, special investigators for the Department of Public Welfare, were assigned to investigate welfare fraud within the Bristol Office. Continuing an investigation begun by another investigative team, they found numerous irregularities relative to appellant's receipt of welfare benefits. The investigation of appellant was prompted by a finding of her file on Mr. Maleski's desk. In addition to the inaccuracies found therein, her file had not received the customary six month review, nor had appellant reported her pay increases to the

[ 352 Pa. Super. Page 228]

Department, although she had knowledge that she was required to do so.

When appellant first met with the appellees she had already been suspended from her position as the result of previous investigative findings. During this meeting appellant alleged that the appellees promised to help her gain reinstatement in return for her supplying evidence incriminating Mr. Maleski. Appellant responded that she had no information to offer.

Upon completion of the investigation, the appellees turned the results over to the Bucks County District Attorney's Office.

Shortly thereafter, appellant was arrested and charges were brought against her for welfare fraud, theft by deception and receiving stolen property. Ultimately these charges were dropped by the District ...


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