No. 1889 Philadelphia, 1981, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Trial Division -- Law, at No. 3891, March Term, 1981.
Marshall A. Bernstein, Philadelphia, for appellants.
Michael Hemsley, Philadelphia, for Andersen, appellee.
Richard A. Kraemer, Philadelphia, for Newcomer, appellee.
Cavanaugh, McEwen and Hoffman, JJ.
[ 300 Pa. Super. Page 24]
Appellants contend that the lower court erred in changing the venue of this action to the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County. Because appellants have failed to perfect their appeal, we do not reach the merits of their contention and, instead, dismiss the appeal.
Appellants filed a complaint in trespass and assumpsit, alleging that the minor appellant was severely injured when she fell through a defective window screen manufactured by appellee Andersen Corporation and installed in an apartment leased from the individual appellees. Appellees filed
[ 300 Pa. Super. Page 25]
preliminary objections asserting that venue was improperly laid in Philadelphia County. On May 22, 1981, the lower court sustained the preliminary objections and transferred the case to the Bucks County forum. The order was entered and notice provided under Pa.R.Civ.P. 236(b) on June 2, 1981. Appellants then filed a petition for reconsideration, alleging that the lower court's action was premature because testimony from a May 28, 1981 deposition revealed that the corporate appellee was indeed transacting business in Philadelphia County. On July 8, 1981, thirty-six days after entry of the earlier order, the lower court, after oral argument, granted reconsideration but "reaffirmed" its earlier order transferring the case. That order, the rule 236 notice, and the pertinent notice of appeal were docketed on July 14, 1981.
Timeliness of an appeal is a jurisdictional matter which can be raised by the court sua sponte. See, e.g., Penjerdel Refrigeration Corp. v. R. A. C. S., Inc., 296 Pa. Superior Ct. 62, 64, 442 A.2d 296, 297 (1981); Commonwealth v. Gottshalk, 276 Pa. Superior Ct. 102, 104, 419 A.2d 115, 116 (1980). In general, "the notice of appeal . . . [must] be filed within 30 days after the entry of the order from which the appeal is taken." Pa.R.A.P. 903(a). "The date of entry of an order in a matter subject to the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure shall be the day on which the clerk makes the notation in the docket that notice of entry of the order has been given as required by Pa.R.Civ.P. 236(b)." Pa.R.A.P. 108(b). The thirty day appeal period of rule 903 has been strictly construed. See, e.g., Hesson v. Weinrebe, 288 Pa. Superior Ct. 216, 218, 431 A.2d 1015, 1016 (1981). An appellate court "may not enlarge the time for filing a notice of appeal." Pa.R.A.P. 105(b). The mere filing of a petition for reconsideration does not toll the period in which an appeal may be perfected. See, e.g., Penjerdel Refrigeration Corp. v. R. A. C. S., Inc., supra, 296 Pa. Superior Ct. at 218, 442 A.2d at 297; Scoumiou v. United States Steel Corp., 293 Pa. Superior Ct. 254, 257, 438 A.2d 981, 982-83 (1981). Absent a stay, the lower court must grant the petition for
[ 300 Pa. Super. Page 26]
reconsideration within the thirty day appeal period to toll the appeal period. See, e.g., Hesson v. Weinrebe, supra; Fingles v. Green, 269 Pa. Superior Ct. 131, 409 A.2d 99 (1979); Strickler v. United Elevator Co., 257 Pa. Superior Ct. 542, 391 A.2d 614 (1978); Provident National Bank v. Rooklin, 250 Pa. Superior Ct. 194, 378 A.2d 893 (1977); In re Kemmerer, 46 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 455, 405 A.2d 1108 (1979). If the lower court does not expressly grant reconsideration or enter an appropriate stay within the thirty day appeal period, its "power . . . to act on the application for reconsideration . . . is lost." Explanatory Note to Pa.R.A.P. 1701(b)(3). See generally Provident National Bank v. Rooklin, supra, 250 Pa. Super. at 201, 378 A.2d at 896 (Pa.R.A.P. 1701 contemplates concurrent reconsideration and appeal). Failure to follow established procedures for obtaining direct appellate review waives any objection for the purposes of collateral attack. See, e.g., Washington v. Liberi, 273 Pa. Superior Ct. 48, 49, 416 A.2d 1082, ...