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PATRICK GILLESPIE v. ST. JOSEPH'S UNIVERSITY (06/19/86)

submitted: June 19, 1986.

PATRICK GILLESPIE, APPELLANT,
v.
ST. JOSEPH'S UNIVERSITY, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF FIREMEN AND OILERS, LOCAL 473, CLIFFORD RUDD AND WILLIAM EVANS



Appeal from the order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil Division, No. 5702 Mar Term 85.

COUNSEL

Daniel B. Boasberg, Norristown, for appellant.

Sandra A. Girifalco, Philadelphia, for appellees.

Cirillo, President Judge, and Tamilia and Kelly, JJ.

Author: Tamilia

[ 355 Pa. Super. Page 363]

This is an appeal from an Order sustaining preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer to Counts II and V of appellant's amended complaint.

Appellant, Patrick Gillespie, was employed as a head groundskeeper by appellee, St. Joseph's University. On May 11, 1983, the University discharged appellant from employment.

On March 29, 1985, appellant commenced this action by filing a writ of summons and subsequently filing a complaint*fn1 and an amended complaint.*fn2

In Count II of his amended complaint, appellant brought an action of wrongful discharge against William Evans and appellees, Clifford Rudd and the University. Appellant averred he was wrongfully discharged after two fellow employees, Rudd and Evans, and the University accused him of a crime involving dishonesty. Appellant also asserted the accusers did not have reasonable cause for their accusations. Appellant alleged the University violated public policy by terminating his employment as a direct result of the accusations of criminal behavior. In Count V, appellant made a claim for punitive damages against all the defendants.

Appellee Clifford Rudd and the University filed preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer to Counts II

[ 355 Pa. Super. Page 364]

    and V of appellant's amended complaint.*fn3 The lower court sustained the preliminary objections after finding that appellant's complaint failed to state a cause of action under Pennsylvania law.

On appeal, appellant alleges the lower court committed an error of law when it sustained the preliminary objections of the appellees. Appellant urges this Court to apply a balancing test to determine whether a cause of action for wrongful discharge exists when an employee has been ...


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