license and its Medicare reimbursement contract.
In the course of its self-righteous diatribe and unprofessional ad hominem arguments, plaintiff conveniently omits the simple fact that serious violations of health and safety regulations had been uncovered by state and federal investigators in repeated inspections of plaintiff's facility over several years. Thus plaintiff would not appear to be the holy martyr it claims to be.
Nevertheless, plaintiff scored a victory in the administrative proceedings. Although plaintiff had admitted to a long list of serious violations discovered by investigators in May and June, 1984 (a year after Snyder and Wells visit), the State Health Facility Hearing Board refused to revoke plaintiff's license. However, on appeal the Commonwealth Court reversed the decision of the Board, finding it to be wholly arbitrary and without support in the record, and ordered immediate revocation of plaintiff's license. Commonwealth v. Brownsville Golden Age Nursing Home, Inc. 103 Pa. Commw 449, 520 A.2d 926 (1987).
The underlying facts of the numerous and varied violations and the procedural history are reported in considerable detail in the Commonwealth Court's opinion. We need not reprise those facts here except to note that the state and federal inspections of May and June 1984 revealed such serious problems as heavy accumulations of dust, dirt and litter, insect infestation, missing plaster, patients unclothed or defecating in full view of staff and visitors, inadequate medical records, deficient nursing care, and serious delays or utter failure in calling a physician when needed.
Plaintiff's Complaint was filed during the pendency of the appeal to Commonwealth Court. Count I charges all four defendants with civil conspiracy in a campaign to force the closing of plaintiff's facility. Counts II - V charge each defendant with tortious interference with present and future contractual relations. Count VI charges Joyce McNamara, an official of the Pennsylvania Department of Health with malicious abuse of process.
Defendant McNamara filed a motion to dismiss and the remaining defendants filed motions for summary judgment. All parties have submitted briefs and extensive evidentiary materials.
1). Malicious Abuse of Process.
In Count VI of the Complaint, plaintiff charges defendant McNamara with malicious abuse of process. In Pennsylvania this tort action is governed by statute, 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 8351-8354, and plaintiff must establish three elements to prevail:
1) The underlying proceedings terminated favorably to plaintiff.