Liability for a Commonwealth Party If the Property Itself Is Alleged to Have Caused the Injury
42 Pa.C.S. Section 8522(b)(3) states that liability for a Commonwealth party may be imposed in claims for damages caused by:
"The care, custody or control of personal property in the possession or control of Commonwealth parties, including Commonwealth-owned personal property and property of persons held by a Commonwealth agency...."
42 Pa.C.S. Section 8522(b)(3) may only be applied if the property itself is alleged to have caused the injury.
In Bufford v. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 670 A.2d 751 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1996)the Court reversed a trial court determination that Section 8522(b)(3) of the Judicial Code applied in a case where a driver paid an out-of-state traffic ticket after receiving notice from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and properly notified DOT, but it negligently imposed a suspension anyway, and the driver was later arrested and detained for driving with a suspended license.
Although DOT mishandled the information in the driver's record, this Court held that the personal property exception did not apply because it was DOT's negligent management of the record that caused the injury, which negligence did not fall within the exception.
In Nicholson v. M & S Detective Agency, Inc., 94 Pa. Commw. 521, 503 A.2d 1106 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1986) a bank employee was injured during a robbery by a security guard, and she sued the company that hired the guard and the State Police for violating a statutory duty to prevent known criminals from being employed by private detective agencies by failing to conduct a required thorough search of fingerprints of known criminals.