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MICHAEL LITT AND HOWARD SNITOW v. ROLLING HILL HOSPITAL (R. H. MEDICAL SERVICES (11/30/81)

SUPERIOR COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


filed: November 30, 1981.

MICHAEL LITT AND HOWARD SNITOW, ESQUIRE, CO-EXECUTORS OF THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ARLENE LITT, DECEASED, AND MICHAEL LITT, IN HIS OWN RIGHT
v.
ROLLING HILL HOSPITAL (R. H. MEDICAL SERVICES, INC.), APPELLANT AND M. H. ALEXANDER, M. D. APPEAL OF ROLLING HILL HOSPITAL (R. H. MEDICAL SERVICES, INC.)

COUNSEL

John J. O'Brien, Jr., Philadelphia, for appellant.

Barton A. Haines, Philadelphia, for Litt, appellees.

Stephen A. Ryan, Philadelphia, did not file a brief for Alexander, appellee.

Price, Wieand and Hoffman, JJ. Price, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 293 Pa. Super. Page 98]

This is an appeal from three judgments aggregating $2,050,000 entered upon praecipe following jury verdicts. Because the court below did not dispose of appellant's post-trial motions, we do not address the merits of appellant's contentions and, instead, quash the appeal.

On September 29, 1977, appellees filed an amended complaint against appellant Rolling Hill Hospital (Hospital) and a physician. During trial, appellees elicited evidence that Hospital was a wholly-owned subsidiary of R. H. Medical Services, Inc. (Services), and thereupon they moved to amend their complaint to add Services as an additional defendant. The lower court allowed the amendment over Hospital's objection. On February 8, 1980, the jury returned substantial verdicts for appellees against both Hospital and Services. Three days later, Hospital filed post-trial motions asserting, inter alia, that the lower court erred in permitting appellees to amend their complaint to add Services as a defendant after the statute of limitations had expired. However, Services filed no post-trial motions within the ten-day period allowed under Pa.R.Civ.P. 227.1.*fn1 On March

[ 293 Pa. Super. Page 997]

, 1980, appellees filed a praecipe for judgment against Services pursuant to Pa.R.Civ.P. 1039(1) on the ground that it had filed no post-trial motions. That day, the prothonotary duly entered judgments against Services. Although its post-trial motions had not yet been decided, Hospital took this appeal on March 25, 1980. Subsequently, Hospital filed various other motions in the court below. All of Hospital's motions remain unresolved.

Rule 1701(a) of the Rules of Appellate Procedure provides, in pertinent part, that "after an appeal is taken . . . the lower court . . . may no longer proceed further in the matter." The lower court relied upon that rule in declining to act upon Hospital's assorted motions, including its post-trial motions. We agree with the court below that the present appeal is premature and must be remanded for disposition of Hospital's motions. It is beyond peradventure that an appeal following a jury verdict is premature and must be quashed if taken before the lower court has disposed of post-trial motions. Cf. Slotsky v. Gellar, 455 Pa. 148, 150, 314 A.2d 495, 496 (1974) (appeal following non-jury trial premature when taken before court en banc decided exceptions). See Murray v. Abcon, Inc., 291 Pa. Superior Ct. 428, 435 A.2d 1301 (1981); Thomas M. Durkin & Sons, Inc. v. Nether Providence Township School Authority, 291 Pa. Superior Ct. 402, 435 A.2d 1288 (1981) (Pa.R.A.P. 301 and Rules of Civil Procedure intermesh to provide essentially uniform procedural prerequisites for appeals in civil matters). Because the filing of the notice of appeal deprived the court below of the opportunity to rule upon Hospital's post-trial

[ 293 Pa. Super. Page 100]

    motions and because such disposition is a prerequisite to an appeal we must quash this appeal.*fn2

Appeal quashed.


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