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BOBBIE J. SPEER v. PHILADELPHIA HOUSING AUTHORITY (11/13/87)

decided: November 13, 1987.

BOBBIE J. SPEER, APPELLANT
v.
THE PHILADELPHIA HOUSING AUTHORITY, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, in case of Bobbie J. Speer v. The Philadelphia Housing Authority, No. 5697, July Term, 1979.

COUNSEL

Neil E. Jokelson, for appellant.

Terri W. Claybrook, for appellee.

Judge Craig, and Senior Judges Barbieri and Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 92]

Bobbie J. Speer appeals a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in favor of defendant

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 93]

Philadelphia Housing Authority in Speer's action against the authority for alleged breach of contract for terminating Speer's employment.

Speer's suit also named the union as a defendant, claiming that the union had failed to represent her adequately, but the union could not be subjected to service of process. (According to counsel, the union has been dissolved.)

The issue on appeal as framed by the parties is whether the trial court erred in concluding that Speer had not shown by a preponderance of the evidence that her union breached its duty of fair representation to her.

However, the fact that Speer brought this action at law, seeking only damages as relief, and was able to obtain jurisdiction over her employer alone, raises a preliminary issue of what relief is available to a public employee through the courts when the employee is able to assert a claim for damages against only her public employer, based on wrongful discharge.

The trial court found that appellant Speer was employed as a housing security officer by the authority. In that position she was armed and in uniform, and she performed duties similar to those of a patrolling police officer. At all times relevant to this dispute Speer was a member of the Union of Security Officers, Local No. 1.

In March of 1976 Speer injured her right ankle while she was working for the authority, and she was off work for approximately one month. She returned to work in April with a light duty restriction, but in June her doctor placed her right leg in a cast from the ankle to the knee. In late June or early July the authority assigned Speer to sit on a park bench outside a highrise public housing project with ...


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