No. 2128 October Term, 1978, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Civil Division, at No. 76-17608
Michael J. Clement, Norristown, for appellants.
Charles K. Plotnick, King of Prussia, submitted a brief on behalf of appellee.
Cercone, President Judge, and Watkins and Hoffman, JJ.
[ 272 Pa. Super. Page 33]
The Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.A. § 742 (effective June 27, 1978) provides, as did its predecessor,*fn1 in relevant part, "[t]he Superior Court shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction of all appeals from final orders of the courts of common pleas . . . ." The question presented is whether a lower court order pursuant to Rule 1006(d) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure,*fn2 transferring an equity action from one county courthouse in the Commonwealth to another
[ 272 Pa. Super. Page 34]
county court of equal competence, is a "final order" within the meaning of Section 742, and thus immediately appealable. For the reasons which follow, we hold that where -- as in the present case -- both the transferor court and the transferee court, are of equal competence*fn3 to entertain an equity action, the order effecting this statutory transfer of venue is discretionary in character and not final for purposes of appellate review; accordingly, we quash the appeal.*fn4
In September of 1974, appellants formed a partnership in the practice of law with appellee, R. Jere Bloche. During the existence of this understanding, appellee allegedly provided legal services to the Estate of James Corse and its executors, James L. Corse, Jr. and Edward M. Corse. Subsequently, on March 31, 1976, appellee orally agreed to withdraw from the partnership and on April 6, 1976, a writing was executed which set forth a partial settlement of the affairs of the now non-existent partnership.
Apparently, this initial settlement failed to satisfactorily resolve the representation by the partnership of both the Corse Estate and the individual executors. On November 1,
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, in Montgomery County, appellants commenced this equity action. It sought to resolve the respective rights of the former partners to a legal fee which has accrued, or will accrue, from services provided to the above clients. Specifically, appellants prayed that Attorney Bloche be ordered to: produce for inspection and copying the entire file on the Corse Estate, make available any records of billing costs or costs advanced to the above clients, and; account for and transfer to appellants three-fourths of any fees earned during the existence of the partnership which had been paid or are to be paid by the above clients.
The troubles of the partners were increased when in October of 1977, in Delaware County, the executors of the Corse Estate, in their own right, filed a lawsuit against appellants. This action, which sounds in Assumpsit and Trespass, generally alleged that appellants engaged in certain unethical practices and maliciously interfered with the relationship between the executors and Attorney Bloche. Attorney Bloche was neither ...