Friday, February 16, 2024

Based on Bankruptcy Court Stay of the Matter, Appellate Court Overturns Administrative Dismissal of Case by Trial Court

In the case of Tyson v. City of Philadelphia, No. 519 C.D. 2022 (Pa. Cmwlth. Jan. 16, 2024 McCullough, J., Wojcik, J. and Hannah Leavitt, S.J.) (Op. by McCullough, J.), the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court vacated a Philadelphia County trial court’s denial of a Petition to Open an Administratively Dismissed Action.

This case involved a trip and fall along a sidewalk in Philadelphia. The Plaintiff sued the City of Philadelphia, Sears Holdings Corp. d/b/a Kmart and other Defendants.

The one (1) Defendant, Sears Holdings Corp. and its affiliates had provided the trial court with a notice that a voluntary bankruptcy proceeding was pending which necessitated a stay of this action.

However, this personal injury litigation was administratively terminated by the trial court due to a lack of docket activity. The injured party Plaintiff’s Petition to Open was denied. That party asserted that he was not aware of the administrative dismissal paperwork.

In part, the Plaintiff asserted that the administrative dismissal was improper as no action should have been taken in the matter due to the pending bankruptcy of Sears Holding and the automatic stay issued by the bankruptcy court.

On appeal, the Commonwealth Court found that the trial court had erred in administratively dismissing the action for failure to prosecute given that one of the Defendants in the case had filed a voluntary bankruptcy proceeding and given that a bankruptcy stay had to be construed to apply to the dismissals.

The lower court’s decision was vacated and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Jan. 30, 2024).

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