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THOMAS HALL v. JOHN JACKSON LEE (04/03/81)

filed: April 3, 1981.

THOMAS HALL, AND JANET HALL, APPELLANTS,
v.
JOHN JACKSON LEE, JR., AND JAMES F. LOMBARDO AND SONS



No. 2295 October Term 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Trial Division - Law at No. 1253 December Term 1978.

COUNSEL

Allen L. Feingold, Philadelphia, for appellants.

Peter J. Hoffman, Philadelphia, for appellees.

Wickersham, Hoffman and Van der Voort, JJ.

Author: Wickersham

[ 285 Pa. Super. Page 543]

This is an appeal from the lower court's order denying appellants' motion for sanctions. Because the appeal is not properly before us, we are compelled to quash it.

The facts underlying this appeal may be summarized as follows. On December 8, 1978, appellants filed a complaint in trespass alleging that they had sustained injuries as a

[ 285 Pa. Super. Page 544]

    result of an automobile accident. On June 15, 1979, their counsel, Mr. Feingold, requested that defendants-appellees make available all documents subject to discovery under the rules of civil procedure. In response thereto, appellees forwarded certain documents that they maintained fulfilled their obligations. Mr. Feingold was not satisfied, however, and on August 13, 1979, he filed his first motion for sanctions contending that appellees should be compelled to produce further records. The lower court denied Mr. Feingold's motion for sanctions. On October 22, 1979, Mr. Feingold filed a second motion for sanctions alleging that appellees had perpetrated a fraud on the court by failing to forward documents that were subject to discovery. Mr. Feingold also requested five hundred dollars as attorney's fees for preparing his second motion for sanctions. The lower court denied Mr. Feingold's motion and directed him to pay appellees' counsel one hundred dollars as attorney's fees for preparing and filing an answer to the motion. This appeal followed.

Before we may consider the merits of this appeal, we must determine whether it is properly before us. Although the appellees did not raise this issue, the appealability of an order is a question of jurisdiction and may be raised sua sponte. Williams v. Williams, 253 Pa. Super. 444, 385 A.2d 422 (1978); Polascik v. Baldwin, 245 Pa. Super. 1, 369 A.2d 263 (1976); 42 Pa.C.S. § 704(b)(2). Our court's appellate jurisdiction is generally limited to appeals from final orders of courts of common pleas. 42 Pa.C.S. § 742. A final order is generally one which terminates the litigation, disposes of the entire case, or effectively puts the litigant out of court. Adoption of G. M., 484 Pa. 24, 398 A.2d 642 (1979); In the Interest of C. A. M., 264 Pa. Super. 300, 399 A.2d 786, (1979). "The reason for prohibiting appeals from interlocutory orders is 'to preclude piecemeal determinations and the consequent protraction of litigation.'" Piltzer v. Independence Federal Savings and Loan Association of Philadelphia, 456 Pa. 402, 406, 319 A.2d 677, 678 (1974); quoting from Sullivan v. Philadelphia, 378 Pa. 648, 649, 107 A.2d 854, 855

[ 285 Pa. Super. Page 545]

(1954). Orders which do not dispose of the entire case may be deemed final and appealable, however, if postponement of appeal until after final judgment might result in the irreparable loss of the right asserted. Pugar v. Greco, 483 Pa. 68, 73, 394 A.2d 542, 545 (1978), construing Cohen v. Beneficial Industrial Loan Corporation, 337 U.S. 541, 69 S.Ct. 1221, 93 L.Ed. 1528 (1949).*fn1

Appellants argue that their second motion for sanctions was necessary to compel appellees to produce discoverable material. Sanctions for failure to adequately respond to requests for discovery are provided for ...


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