Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Orphans' Court Division, of Washington County, No. 1 Partition of 1966, in re estate of Gabriel E. Marino, also known as G. E. Marino, deceased.
Edward Munce, for appellant.
Thomas J. Terputac, for appellee.
Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts.
On October 6, 1961, Gabriel E. Marino died intestate, owning, inter alia, 12.81 acres of land in Washington County. He was survived by the following named sister and four brothers: Teresino Marino, Ralph Marino, Anthony Marino, Patsy Marino*fn1 and Russell Marino.*fn2
On March 6, 1969, Russell Marino, as administrator for the estate, filed a petition seeking leave to retain separate counsel to aid with certain condemnation proceedings. On March 18, 1969, Judge Charles D. Copeland, specially presiding, granted this petition to retain separate counsel. Anthony Marino appealed from the order of March 18, 1969, and Russell Marino has filed a petition to quash the appeal. The appeal must be quashed.
In the absence of express statutory authorization, an interlocutory order is generally unappealable
(McGee v. Singley, 382 Pa. 18, 114 A.2d 141 (1955)) and no such statute is presently applicable. "The evident policy of the law in such regard is to preclude piecemeal determinations and the consequent protraction of litigation." Sullivan v. Philadelphia, 378 Pa. 648, 649, 107 A.2d 854, 855 (1954).
An order is not interlocutory if it precludes a party from presenting the merits of his claim to the lower court. Ventura v. Skylark Motel, Inc., 431 Pa. 459, 246 A.2d 353 (1968); Stewart Estate, 423 Pa. 189, 223 A.2d 685 (1966); Stadler v. Mt. Oliver Borough, 373 Pa. 316, 95 A.2d 776 (1953).
In the case at bar, Anthony Marino, apparently, would like to have Russell Marino removed as administrator, although Anthony's position is none too clear from the pleadings. The order from which this appeal has been taken only pertains to the retention of additional counsel to aid the estate in certain condemnation proceedings. The order of March 18, 1969, not only fails to raise the issue which is apparently in controversy but is also interlocutory. Middleberg v. Middleberg, 427 Pa. 114, 233 A.2d 889 (1967). Accordingly, this appeal must be quashed. Any discussion on the merits of this case must ...