Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act, 77 Pa.Stat.Ann. §§ 1-2626 [hereinafter WCA].
The general rule is that an employee's exclusive remedy for injuries arising in the course of employment is the WCA. 77 Pa.Stat.Ann. § 481(a). Under the Act, in exchange for the greater certainty of receiving benefits, employees relinquish the right to bring an action in tort against their employer. Poyser v. Newman & Co., Inc., 514 Pa. 32, 522 A.2d 548, 550 (Pa. 1987). However, there are a few limited exceptions to this general rule of exclusivity.
Plaintiff appears to contend that the Archdiocese cannot claim protection under the WCA because the Archdiocese has contended throughout this litigation that it is not plaintiff's employer. If plaintiff is now contending that the Archdiocese is not her employer, plaintiff would have no cause of action under Title VII or Title I of the ADA, and has failed to allege any facts that would give rise to any duty of care toward plaintiff that could impose liability for negligence. Absent an employer-employee relationship, there could be no duty imposing liability for the alleged acts.
Plaintiff's exclusive remedy for negligence, if any, would have to be under an exception to the WCA. Plaintiff argues that acts of discrimination or conduct fundamentally related to the discrimination claims do not fall within the WCA exclusivity provisions. Under the Act, injuries "caused by an act of a third person intended to injure the employe because of reasons personal to him" are excluded from coverage. 77 Pa.Stat.Ann. § 411(1). There is also a judicially created exception recognized in some cases, but not by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, to the exclusivity provisions of the Act for "intentional torts" committed by an employer, supervisor, or a co-worker. Rodgers v. Prudential Ins. Co., of America, 803 F. Supp. 1024 (M.D. Pa. 1992). Torts based on allegations of intentional infliction of emotional distress due to racial or sexual harassment have routinely been excluded from the Act's coverage. Id. at 1029. However, to whatever extent there is an intentional tort exception, the exception is clearly limited to intentional torts and not those based in negligence. See Barb v. Miles, Inc., 861 F. Supp. 356 (W.D. Pa. 1994); Lazarz v. Brush Wellman, Inc., 857 F. Supp. 417 (E.D. Pa. 1994); Rodgers v. Prudential Ins. Co. Of America, 803 F. Supp. 1024 (M.D. Pa. 1992).
The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act is the plaintiff's exclusive remedy to recover for employment related injuries. The WCA acts as a bar to plaintiff's claim of common law negligence and of negligent infliction of emotional distress. Accordingly, summary judgment must be granted to defendants on Count IV.
In light of the foregoing, I will grant the defendant's motion for Partial Summary Judgment in part and deny the motion in part.
An appropriate order follows.
AND NOW, on this the 17th day of September, 1997, upon consideration of the motion of the defendants, the St. Denis School and Archdiocese of Philadelphia, for Partial Summary Judgement, it is hereby ORDERED that defendant's motion is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART as follows:
1. Defendant's motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED as to the Americans with Disabilities claim set forth in Count I.
2. Defendant's motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED as to the Title VII claim set forth in Count II.
3. Plaintiff's claim for breach of an implied contract for continued employment set forth in Count III is DISMISSED.
4. Plaintiff's claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing set forth in Count III is DISMISSED.
5. Plaintiff's negligence claim set forth in Count IV is DISMISSED.
BY THE COURT:
Donald W. VanArtsdalen, S.J.
September 22, 1997