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decided: July 14, 1988.


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cameron County, in the case of James Travers v. Cameron County School District, No. 3531 of 1986.


Paul J. Malizia, Joseph J. Malizia, P.C., for appellant.

James William Harvey, Israel and Wood, P.C., for appellee.

Judges Doyle, Palladino and Smith, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 607]

James E. Travers (Appellant) appeals from an order of the Cameron County Court of Common Pleas sustaining the preliminary objection in the nature of a demurrer

[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 608]

    of the Cameron County School District (School District) and dismissing Appellant's complaint against School District with prejudice because it did not and could not state a cause of action against School District. We reverse and remand.

Appellant applied for a position as a physical education teacher with School District in March 1986. He was interviewed by Douglas R. Bleggi in May, 1986 and on June 4, 1986 by three members of the Cameron County School Board. On June 5, 1986, Bleggi offered Appellant the position of physical education teacher and the extracurricular positions of assistant football and track coach. Appellant signed a two-year temporary professional employee contract for the physical education teacher's position and an extracurricular agreement for the assistant football coach position with School District on July 1, 1986.

Appellant moved to Emporium, Pennsylvania from Cleveland, Ohio on August 4, 1986. He began his duties as assistant football coach on August 11, 1986 and as a physical education teacher on September 3, 1986. On September 11, 1986, School District, after discovering that Appellant was not qualified for any type of certification, granted Appellant an unrequested leave of absence, without pay or benefits, for one semester to permit him to obtain the necessary credits required for his Pennsylvania teaching certificate. Appellant was informed, in a letter from School District dated September 19, 1986, that failure to obtain the certification by the beginning of the second semester would result in the cancellation of his contract. Appellant was unable to enroll in classes which would permit him to obtain the requisite credits needed for certification because by the time he received notification from the School District that he was not qualified, classes were already underway.

[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 609]

Appellant filed a complaint on October 8, 1986 in the trial court alleging that School District, through its "officer, agent/and employee," when it offered him a teaching position, had assured him he was qualified for the teaching position and assured him that it "would take all necessary steps in preparing and filing the applications required for obtaining certification papers from the Pennsylvania Department of Education in Harrisburg." Appellant's complaint, paragraphs VII & VIII. Appellant asserted that the School District "by failing and neglecting to diligently prepare and file [Appellant's] Teacher Certification Application with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Education, after said plaintiff had relied on said promises, assurances and inducements, had breached the parties' agreement, and said plaintiff has suffered, is suffering, and will continue to suffer irreparable financial harm as a result thereof, all of which was foreseeable to [School District]." Id. paragraph XX.

School District filed preliminary objections to the complaint on November 5, 1986. The preliminary objections included a motion for a more specific pleading and a demurrer for failure to state a cause of action. Appellant filed an amended complaint on November 7, 1986, which added to the allegations in the original complaint a paragraph naming Bleggi as the "officer, agent and/or employee" of School District with authority "to interview prospective employees, check teaching certifications, make recommendations insofar as prospective employment of an employee to the [School District], and to prepare a prospective professional temporary employee's Teacher's Certification Application and submit the same to the ...

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