Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County in the case of C. Allen Miller, Kathleen Hodgson, Ervin Cross and Rose Marie Cross, his wife v. Roger Emelson, Joseph DeBlassio, Jr., Kenneth L. Downer, Edgar Delbarre, Oliver Hormell and California Area School District, No. 180 September Term, 1984, and in the case of Thomas J. Webb v. Roger Emelson, Joseph DeBlassio, Jr., Kenneth L. Downer, Edgar Delbarre, Oliver Hormell and California Area School District, No. 181 September Term, 1984.
Richard J. Schubert, Caroselli, Spagnolli & Beachler, for appellants.
Barbara Burson Rutt, with her, Phillip J. Binotto, Jr., Binotto & Sweat, for appellees.
Judges Barry, Colins (p) and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.
[ 103 Pa. Commw. Page 439]
Thomas J. Webb, C. Allen Miller, Kathleen Hodgson, Ervin Cross and Rose Marie Cross (Appellants) appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County (trial court) which granted the summary judgment motions of the California Area School District (School District) and of Roger Emelson, Joseph DeBlassio, Jr., Kenneth L. Downer, Edgar Delbarre (School Directors). We affirm as to School District but reverse as to School Directors.
A teachers' strike took place in the California Area School District during the 1982-83 school year. School District's solicitor filed criminal charges in January, 1983 against Appellants, teachers in the district, alleging harassment, threats of and actual physical violence, and property damage. The charges were dismissed by a district justice on May 5, 1983.*fn1 Appellants, on September 11, 1984, filed actions for malicious prosecution against School District, School Directors and Oliver Hormell, School District's solicitor.
School District moved for summary judgment under the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act (Act),*fn2 which motion the trial court granted. School Directors moved for and were granted summary judgment on the grounds that the claims against them were not filed within the six month time limitation of 42 Pa. C.S. § 5522(b)(1).
Appellants, on appeal, contend that School District is not protected by the general immunity of Section
[ 103 Pa. Commw. Page 4408541]
of the Act*fn3 and that the six month commencement of action limitation of 42 Pa. C.S. § 5522(b)(1) is not applicable to School Directors because (1) School Directors had actual notice of the incident on which the malicious prosecution actions are based, and (2) 42 Pa. C.S. § 5524 contains the filing limitation applicable to malicious prosecution actions.*fn4
Our scope of review of the grant of a motion for summary judgment is limited to determining whether there has been an error of law or a manifest abuse of discretion. Peters Township School Authority v. United States Fidelity and ...