Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of the 41st Judicial District, Perry County Branch, in case of Richard C. Fox and Barbara M. Conyne and Lloyd Simmons v. Raymond M. Barrick and Bertha Barrick, No. 78-1036.
Allen E. Hench, for appellants/cross appellees, Richard C. Fox and Barbara M. Conyne.
C. Joseph Rehkamp, for appellees/cross appellants, Raymond M. and Bertha Barrick.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Blatt and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
On November 5, 1980, the Court of Common Pleas of the 41st Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Perry County Branch, entered an order denying and dismissing the motion for a new trial filed by the appellants, Raymond M. and Bertha Barrick. The order also denied and dismissed the cross-appeal filed by the appellees, Richard C. Fox and Barbara M. Conyne.
On December 5, 1980, both sides appealed to this Court. On January 6, 1981, the trial court (by President Judge Keith B. Quigley), ordered both parties to file a Statement of Matters Complained of, pursuant to Pa. R.A.P. 1925(b). Neither party, however, has complied with that order and, as President Judge Quigley points out, this put the trial court "in a position
where it must attempt to cover all possible issues, even though it is quite possible, in fact probable, that some of the issues are not being seriously advanced by counsel." He adds that, due to this failure, he believes that "no issues survive for reference to the Appellate Court." We must agree.
Pa. R.A.P. 1925(b) provides:
(b) Direction to file statement of matters complained of. If the lower court is uncertain as to the basis for the appeal, the lower court may by order direct the appellant forthwith to file of record in the lower court and serve on the trial judge a concise statement of the matters complained of on the appeal. A failure to comply with such direction may be considered by the appellate court as a waiver of all objections to the order, ruling or other matter complained of. (Emphasis added.)
Thus, Pa. R.A.P. 1925(b) gives an appellate court the discretion to hold that a party's failure to file a Statement of the Matters Complained of operates as a waiver of objections to the order. As Judge Spaeth recognized, however, "the problem, . . . is to define the difference in circumstances that will determine whether we will exercise our discretion to find waiver, or to find no waiver. . . . [W]e must consider the impact on our ability to ...