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THOMAS D. CARL v. BANKS ENGINEERING COMPANY (05/14/87)

decided: May 14, 1987.

THOMAS D. CARL, A MINOR BY AND THROUGH HIS PARENT AND NATURAL GUARDIAN, GLORIA M. CARL, APPELLANT
v.
BANKS ENGINEERING COMPANY, ET AL., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County in the case of Thomas D. Carl, a minor, by and through his parent and natural guardian, Gloria M. Carl v. Banks Engineering Company, Inc. and East Suburban Chamber of Commerce; Ralph Aiello, trading and doing business as Burger King Restaurant; Municipality of Murrysville, and Franklin Regional School District, No. 7670 of 1983.

COUNSEL

H. Keith Hauger, for appellants.

Stephen R. Mlinac, with him, Kenneth S. Mroz, Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, P.C., for appellee, Franklin Regional School District.

Judges Craig and Barry, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Narick.

Author: Narick

[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 149]

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County granting a motion for summary judgment in favor of Franklin Regional School District (School District). We affirm.

On February 1, 1983, Thomas Carl, through his parent and natural guardian, Gloria Carl (Appellants), commenced an action in trespass against Banks Engineering Company (Banks). Pursuant to a complaint filed by Banks on June 17, 1983, the School District was joined as an additional Defendant.*fn1 On October 5, 1984, the School District filed a motion for summary judgment, and argument was heard on this motion before an en banc session of the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas on December 21, 1984. The court of common pleas issued an order granting the motion for summary judgment on May 7, 1985. Appellants have appealed this order.

The relevant facts are as follows. Thomas Carl attended the 1981 Murrysville Community Day. This event was sponsored by the Municipality of Murrysville Parks Commission. The Community Day Executive Committee which was authorized to act on behalf of the Parks Commission was responsible for planning this community affair. Michele Clarke and Joel Rosen were co-chairpersons of the Community Day Executive Committee. The School District donated land and school facilities for the affair. As a convenience to those attending the Community Day festivities a hayride was provided in order to transport people from the parking area to the exhibition area. Banks provided the tractor-trailer, driver and supplies for the hayride. The route

[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 150]

    used for the hayride was partly located on School District property.*fn2

Mr. Harold Steuernagle was operating a tractor-trailer used for the hayride. While at a designated stop, the hayride's assigned "safety man" left the trailer for something to drink. When the assigned "safety man" did not return to the trailer, Thomas Carl volunteered to act as "safety man". Thomas Carl received serious personal injuries when he either fell or jumped from the trailer. At the time of the incident, the tractor-trailer was located on School District property.

The School District asserts that it is not liable for Thomas Carl's injuries because (1) the School District did not exercise supervision, direction or control over the Community Day affairs; and (2) the School District is entitled to complete immunity pursuant to Section 8541 of the Judicial Code (Code), 42 Pa. C.S. § 8541. Appellants contend that the School District's liability may fall within the exceptions to immunity in Section 8542 of the Code, 42 Pa. C.S. § 8542.

The documents before the common pleas court for consideration of the motion for summary judgment which were filed on behalf of the School District, included the pleadings, the depositions of Edward Banks and Harold Steuernagle, and the affidavits of Michele Clarke and Joel Rosen. Appellants did not exercise their right to file ...


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