No. 1457 April Term, 1978, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, at No. G.D. 75-13054.
Robert A. Galanter, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Alan Frank, Pittsburgh, for appellee.
Spaeth, Hoffman and Van der Voort, JJ.
[ 277 Pa. Super. Page 562]
Appellant contends that the lower court erred in opening judgment rendered against appellees. We agree and, accordingly, vacate the order of the lower court and reinstate the judgment.
Appellant, The Service Bureau Company (Service Bureau), instituted this action in assumpsit against appellees, Taylor, Meyer & Associates, George Taylor, and Larry Meyer (Taylor, Meyer), in mid-1975. Subsequently, the case was referred to a board of arbitrators. In February, 1977, the arbitrators awarded $6,627.89 to Service Bureau, and Taylor, Meyer appealed that award to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. On August 24, 1977, Service Bureau moved to quash the appeal of the award on the ground that Taylor, Meyer had failed to send it a copy of the notice of appeal, as required by a local rule of court.*fn1 Taylor, Meyer did not file an answer to this motion. Argument on the motion was scheduled for September 16, 1977, but only Service Bureau appeared before the court on that date. After hearing argument from Service Bureau, the court quashed Taylor, Meyer's appeal "for failure to file a notice
[ 277 Pa. Super. Page 563]
of appeal with [Service Bureau]".*fn2 The order quashing Taylor, Meyer's appeal was docketed in the lower court on September 16, 1977, the date of entry, but the record does not reveal whether Taylor, Meyer was notified of entry of the order pursuant to Pa.R.Civ.P. 236.*fn3 Taylor, Meyer did not file a direct appeal from the order.
On October 20, 1977, judgment was entered on the award of the arbitrators. Eight days later Taylor, Meyer filed a petition to open the judgment. The basis of that petition was Taylor, Meyer's assertion that it had been deprived of an opportunity to oppose the motion to quash its appeal because Service Bureau had failed to notify it of the date set for argument of the motion.*fn4 Taylor, Meyer supported its petition with an affidavit in which its counsel stated that although he had received a copy of the motion to quash, he had never been notified of the argument date. Service Bureau denied Taylor, Meyer's assertions of lack of notice in its answer to the petition to open, and it filed supporting affidavits to both counsel and counsel's secretary detailing the manner in which it had notified Taylor, Meyer of the date set for argument. On October 10, 1978, after hearing arguments on the petition to open, the lower court entered an order opening the judgment and reinstating Taylor, Meyer's appeal.*fn5 In its opinion the lower court expressly ruled (1) that Taylor, Meyer had received inadequate notice of the date set for argument of the motion to quash, and (2)
[ 277 Pa. Super. Page 564]
that Taylor, Meyer's method of notifying Service Bureau of its appeal from the arbitration award "constituted sufficient notice of appeal to satisfy ...