Thursday, June 30, 2022

Trial Court Opines That Defendant's Appeal From Order Dismissing Defendant's Objections to Jurisdiction Should Be Quashed

In the case Galette v. New Jersey Transit, No. 200800610 (C.P. Phila. Co. May 31, 2022 Crumlish, J.), the trial court filed a Rule 1925 Opinion to the appellate court recommending the dismissal of the Defendant’s appeal from the trial court’s Order dismissing the Defendant’s objections to jurisdiction.

It was the position of the trial court that the Order dismissing the Defendant’s objection to jurisdiction was appealable only under Pa.R.A.P. 311(b) and that the requirements of that Rule had not been met. 

According to the Opinion, this matter arose out of a personal injury action filed by the Plaintiff against the Defendant New Jersey Transit, and another Defendant. According to the lawsuit, the Plaintiff was injured while sitting in a parked vehicle in the City of Philadelphia when that vehicle was allegedly struck by a bus operated by one of NJ Transit’s employees.

The Defendant, NJ Transit, objected to the court’s jurisdiction over it through a Motion to Dismiss. That Motion was denied and NJ Transit filed an appeal, which prompted this Opinion by the court.

The trial court noted that an Order denying a Motion to Dismiss is ordinarily interlocutory and, therefore, not appealable unless expressly made so by statute.

In its Opinion, the court cited to Pa.R.A.P. 311, which lists the interlocutory appeals that may be taken as a right, and Pa.R.A.P. 312, which allows for interlocutory appeals by permission.

Under Pa. R.A.P. 311(b), an appeal is allowed as a right when a trial court’s Order overruled Preliminary Objections to the trial court’s in personam or in rem jurisdiction and either the Plaintiff elected to treat the Order as final or the trial court stated in the Order that a substantial issue of jurisdiction existed.

Given that these requirements were not met, and given that the Defendant, NJ Transit, did not otherwise seek leave of court to file an interlocutory appeal, or request an Order stating that a substantial issue of jurisdiction was presented, the trial court noted that the appeal should be quashed by the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (June 7, 2022).

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