Appeal from Order of the Court of common Pleas, Civil Division, of York County, No. 86-SU-00418-01.
William H. Poole, Jr., York, for appellants.
Joseph C. Phillips, Harrisburg, for appellee.
Wieand, Olszewski and Tamilia, JJ.
[ 363 Pa. Super. Page 517]
Olive Blouse, Peggy Fulton and Sandra Alloway commenced a common law tort action against their employer, Superior Mold Builders, Inc., for injuries which they allegedly had sustained as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals routinely used in the course of their employment.*fn1 They alleged that their employer had intentionally caused their injuries by failing to warn them of known dangers inherent in the chemicals, by removing warning labels from the containers in which the chemicals had been stored, and by assuring them that the chemicals were safe for use. The employer filed preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer to the complaint and raising a question of jurisdiction. He asserted therein that the employees' exclusive remedy was under the Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act,*fn2 which barred common law tort actions for injuries arising in the course of employment. The trial court agreed, granted the preliminary objections, and dismissed the complaint. The employees appealed.
There is but a single issue presented in this appeal: whether the Workmen's Compensation Act provides the
[ 363 Pa. Super. Page 518]
exclusive remedy for injuries sustained by employees in the course of their employment if the injury is a result of intentional wrongdoing by the employer. We conclude that the employees' sole remedy is under the Workmen's Compensation Act. Therefore, we affirm the order of the trial court which sustained the employer's preliminary objections and dismissed the complaint.
The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act was enacted "to protect employees and their families by insuring quick and certain payment for work-related injuries without having to resort to the courts." Wagner v. National Indemnity Co., 492 Pa. 154, 161-162, 422 A.2d 1061, 1065 (1980) (plurality opinion). Where applicable, the Act deprives common pleas courts of subject matter jurisdiction over common law tort actions which seek recovery against employers for work-related injuries. LeFlar v. Gulf Creek Industrial Park # 2, 511 Pa. 574, 580, 515 A.2d 875, 879 (1986).
The Act specifically delineates the scope of its coverage. Section 301(a) of the Act provides:
Every employer shall be liable for compensation for personal injury to, or for the death of each employee, by an injury in the course of his employment, and such compensation shall be paid in all cases ...