No. 2005 Philadelphia, 1980, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County at Civil Action No. 673 April Term 1979.
William H. Robinson, Jr., Stroudsburg, for appellant.
Mark Love, Stroudsburg, for appellee.
Spaeth, Hoffman and Van der Voort, JJ.
[ 300 Pa. Super. Page 281]
This appeal is from an order denying appellants' petition to intervene in an action in assumpsit brought by Boise Cascade Corporation against East Stroudsburg Savings Association. Boise Cascade has filed a motion to quash the appeal as interlocutory. We grant the motion.
Often, in deciding to quash an appeal as interlocutory, we do not consider the merits of the case. If, for example, we find that an appeal is from an order dismissing exceptions, instead of from a judgment entered on the docket, we look no further. Penstan Supply, Inc. v. Hay, 283 Pa. Superior Ct. 558, 424 A.2d 950 (1981). It would be pointless in such a case to consider the merits. We are a court of limited jurisdiction, and unless a case is within our jurisdiction we have no power to decide it, no matter how compelling its merits might be. Toll v. Toll, 293 Pa. Superior Ct. 549, 439 A.2d 712 (1981).
Sometimes, however, the decision whether to quash an appeal is interwined with a consideration of the merits, for "[t]he finality of an order is a judicial conclusion which can be reached only after examination of its ramifications." Bell v. Beneficial Consumer Discount Co., 465 Pa. 225, 228, 348 A.2d 734, 735 (1975). This is especially so when the appeal is from an order denying a petition to intervene.
[A]s a rule, an appeal will not lie from an order refusing leave to intervene, because such an order is not a final one, [but] cases may arise where a denial of a petition to intervene would be a practical denial of relief to which the petitioner for intervention is entitled and can obtain in no other way; and in such cases the refusal to permit an intervention is a final order or decree as to the petitioner. Frey's Estate, 237 Pa. 269, 271, 85 A. 147, 148 (1912) (citations omitted).
[ 300 Pa. Super. Page 282]
Unless we consider the merits -- or "ramifications" -- of a case, we cannot tell whether an order denying a petition to intervene is "a practical denial of relief to which the petitioner for intervention is entitled." See, e.g., Taub v. Merriam, 251 Pa. Superior Ct. 572, 380 A.2d 1245 (1977) (deciding appeal); Richard Held Builders, Inc. v. A. G. Allebach, Inc., 266 Pa. Superior Ct. 101, 403 A.2d 113 (1979) (quashing appeal).*fn1
Here the lower court concluded that if appellants were a party to Boise Cascade's action against East Stroudsburg Savings, they would be entitled to no relief. The issue we must decide is whether that conclusion was correct. If it was, then under Frey's Estate, supra, the lower court's order denying appellants' petition to ...