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MATTHEW BARTON v. STAFF INSPECTOR RALPH PENCO (02/23/81)

submitted: February 23, 1981.

MATTHEW BARTON, APPELLANT,
v.
STAFF INSPECTOR RALPH PENCO, POLICE COMMISSIONER MORTON SOLOMON AND CITY OF PHILADELPHIA



No. 1651 Philadelphia, 1980, Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division - Equity, of Philadelphia County, No. 4251 April Term, 1980.

COUNSEL

Robert A. Gelinas, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Tyler E. Wren, Assistant City Solicitor, Philadelphia, for appellees.

Spaeth, Johnson and Wieand, JJ.

Author: Wieand

[ 292 Pa. Super. Page 203]

Matthew Barton, a police officer, was accused of receiving stolen property by an unidentified complainant. After a thorough investigation had been conducted by Inspector Ralph Penco, the accusation was found to be groundless. Barton thereafter commenced an action in equity to compel Penco, Police Commissioner Morton Solomon, and the City of Philadelphia to disclose the name and address of the complainant and the contents of the investigative file. The trial court, after hearing, entered an order denying a mandatory injunction and dismissing the complaint with prejudice.

Barton, without filing exceptions, took an immediate appeal to this Court. Therefore, we must first determine

[ 292 Pa. Super. Page 204]

    whether appellant's failure to file exceptions precludes him from presenting substantive arguments on appeal. See: Pa.R.C.P. 1518; Logan v. Cherrie, 444 Pa. 555, 282 A.2d 236 (1971).

The trial court's order from which the instant appeal was filed did not comply with the Rule 1517 requirements of an adjudication.*fn1 It contained "no findings of fact, no conclusions of law, nor any language which would indicate that the order [was] a decree nisi, or that the parties were required to file exceptions to perfect a right of appeal. There is nothing on the face of the order which would indicate that it is anything other than a final order and, as such, the requirements of Rule 1518 are not applicable. When the court's order neither comports with the requirements of Rule 1517 nor indicates on its face that the order is a decree nisi, it should not be presumed that exceptions must be filed in order to preserve a right of appeal." Commonwealth v. Derry Township, et al., 466 Pa. 31, 41-42, 351 A.2d 606, 611 (1976). See also: Greenwood Township v. Kefo, Inc., 52 Pa. Commw. 367, 416 A.2d 583 (1980). The instant appeal, therefore, is not improper for this reason.

Appellant's complaint was based exclusively on the Right-to-Know Act of June 21, 1957, P.L. 390, as amended, 65 P.S. §§ 66.1-66.4.*fn2 He contends, as he did in the court below, that the file encompassing the investigation is a "public record" and, therefore, subject to examination and

[ 292 Pa. Super. Page 205]

    inspection. It is a public record, he argues, because it is a ". . . minute, order, or decision by an agency fixing the personal or property rights, privileges, immunities, duties or obligations of any ...


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