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ROBERT CAPUZZI v. RICHARD HELLER (05/10/89)

decided: May 10, 1989.

ROBERT CAPUZZI, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF ELEANOR CAPUZZI, DECEASED, AS PARENT AND NATURAL GUARDIAN OF NICHOLAS CAPUZZI, A MINOR, AND AMANDA CAPUZZI, A MINOR, AND IN HIS OWN RIGHT, APPELLANTS
v.
RICHARD HELLER, JOSEPH BECKER, THERESA BECKER BENFIELD, ANTHONY GRANDINETTI, VAN'S AUTO TAGS, MIDDLE BUCKS AREA VOCATIONAL TECHNICAL SCHOOL, CENTENNIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT AND WILLIAM TENNENT HIGH SCHOOL, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, in the case of Robert Capuzzi, Administrator of the Estate of Eleanor Capuzzi, deceased, as parent and natural guardian of Nicholas Capuzzi, a minor, and Amanda Capuzzi, a minor, and in his own right v. Richard Heller, Joseph Becker, Theresa Becker Benfield, Anthony Grandinetti, Van's Auto Tags, Middle Bucks Area Vocational Technical School, Centennial School District, and William Tennent High School, No. 87-03390-09-1.

COUNSEL

Roy T. J. Stegena, with him, William C. Archbold, Jr., for appellants.

Alexander Ewing, Jr., Gollatz, Griffin, Ewing & McCarthy, for appellee.

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

Author: Barry

[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 679]

Robert Capuzzi, the estate of his deceased wife, Eleanor Capuzzi, and his children, Nicholas Capuzzi and Amanda Capuzzi (appellants), appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County granting a judgment on the pleadings in favor of Middle Bucks Area Vocational Technical School (vo-tech school) and dismissing the first and second counts of their amended complaint insofar as it related to the vo-tech school.

Appellants filed an amended complaint alleging that, on September 8, 1986, Richard Heller (Heller), a student at both the William Tennent High School (high school) and the vo-tech school, was driving himself from the high school to the vo-tech school. On the way, he had engaged

[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 680]

    in a race with Joseph Becker (Becker), another student at both the high school and vo-tech school, who was also driving himself from the high school to the vo-tech school. Heller was travelling north in the passing lane of York Road in Warminster Township, Bucks County, at a rate of speed that was greatly in excess of the posted forty-five mile per hour speed limit. At the intersection of York Road and Ivyland Road, he drove his vehicle through a red traffic signal and collided with an automobile operated by Mrs. Capuzzi, who had lawfully entered the intersection from Ivyland Road. As a result of the collision, Mrs. Capuzzi was killed and appellants, Nicholas Capuzzi and Amanda Capuzzi, who were passengers in the vehicle, were injured.

In their amended complaint, the appellants made the following averments regarding the negligence of the vo-tech school, the high school and Centennial School District:

36. The Defendant Centennial School District and Defendants, William Tennent High School and Area Middle Bucks Vocational Technical Institute [sic], at all times pertinent herein were responsible for providing safe transportation from the high school to the vocational school for students, such as Defendants Heller, Becker and Grandinetti,*fn1 who were enrolled in both schools and who had to attend classes in each school on each specified school day under the control of said schools and as the responsibility of said schools.

37. Defendants Centennial School District, William Tennent High School and Area Middle Bucks Vocational Technical Institute [sic] (sometimes

[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 681]

    hereinafter referred to collectively as 'defendant schools') had at certain times pertinent herein undertaken the operation, supervision and control of a system by which certain students were occasionally permitted by the school district and the individual schools to transport themselves in their own vehicles between classes ...


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