In the case of Feleccia v. Lackawanna College, No. 74 MAP 2017, 215 A.3d 3 (Pa. 2019), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard an appeal from the Lackawanna College defendants, after their motion for summary judgment, granted by the trial court, was reversed on appeal by the Superior Court.
Plaintiffs, Feleccia and Resch were student athletes at Lackawanna College, trying out for the football team in March of 2010. Lackawanna College’s football department had lost its two athletic trainers in the summer of 2009, and had hired two recent graduates with degrees in Athletic Training, though neither had passed their athletic trainer certification exam at the time they were hired for the position. In fact, after their hiring, both new hires failed their certification exam, and the Lackawanna re-titled their position to “first responder,” though they did not sign new or different job descriptions.
Lackawanna College moved for and was granted summary judgment, based primarily on waiver. Finding the negligence claims barred, the trial court ruled the claim for punitive damages also failed, and discussion of the waiver’s applicability to the punitive damages claim was unnecessary.