Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, in case of In Re: Washington Mall Tax Assessment Appeal, No. 92, November Term 1969.
Stephen I. Richman, with him Greenlee, Richman, Derrico & Posa, for appellant.
William C. Porter, Assistant County Solicitor, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Manderino, Mencer and Rogers. Opinion by Judge Manderino.
Washington Mall (appellant) has filed an appeal from an order of the Washington County Court of Common Pleas entered on March 25, 1971. The appeal was not filed in the Commonwealth Court until May 3, 1971, thirty-nine days after the entry of the order in the court below. Washington County (appellee) moved that the appeal be quashed because it was not timely filed. The motion to quash is granted.
The motion to quash is based on Section 502(a) of the Appellate Court Jurisdiction Act which states that: ". . . an appeal under this act from any order shall be filed within thirty days of its entry." (Act of July 31, 1970, P.L. 673, Act No. 223, 17 P.S. 211.502(a)).
There is no dispute that the appeal was filed after the expiration of the thirty-day period from the entry of the order below on March 25. Washington Mall asks that the thirty-day period be ignored and submits several arguments.
Washington Mall contends that there is some confusion concerning the proper time for appeal because prior to the Appellate Court Jurisdiction Act setting a thirty-day time limit for appeals, a longer appeal period was permitted under the Fourth to Eighth Class
County Assessment Law (Act of May 21, 1943, P.L. 571, 72 P.S. 5453.705), which provided that an appeal from a tax assessment case be taken within three months of the order effecting the assessment. The appellee answers this argument by asserting a stipulation entered into by both parties and approved by the lower court on September 15, 1970, providing that the order of the court en banc in Washington County should be final and appealable and that any appeal taken be taken according to the provisions of the Appellate Court Jurisdiction Act including the time limitations.
Appellee further asserts that this stipulation has the effect of estopping appellant from raising the applicability of the three month time limitation. We agree with the appellee on this particular point since parties may stipulate any matter involving individual rights and obligations among themselves. Parties may stipulate that no appeal will be filed and such stipulations are valid. McRoberts v. Burns, 371 Pa. 129, 88 A.2d 741 (1952).
Secondly, the appellant argues that the thirty-day time limitation for taking an appeal under the Appellate Court Jurisdiction Act is merely directory and does not mandate precise compliance in all circumstances. This contention, however, is not consistent with previous judicial determinations that statutes prescribing time limitations for the taking of appeals are mandatory. See Kravitz v. Zoning Board of ...