Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of Cheryl Marshall v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, and City of Philadelphia, and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, No. 400 May Term, 1980.
Thomas P. Fay, with him Arvin Maskin, Deputy Attorney General, for appellants.
Leonard N. Ross, with him Lawrence G. Metzger, for appellee.
Judges Williams, Jr., Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.
[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 206]
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT) has appealed to this Court from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. The court's order, as a sanction for failure to make discovery, precludes DOT from entering a defense and presenting evidence with respect to liability at the time of trial of this personal injury matter.
The appellee, Cheryl Marshall, was allegedly injured on October 21, 1979, while riding as a passenger on a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 207]
bus. The appellee instituted suit to recover for her injuries on May 6, 1980, and on June 3, 1980, served written interrogatories on DOT. DOT failed to either answer or object to the interrogatories within thirty (30) days, as prescribed by Pa. R.C.P. No. 4006(a)(2), and, as a result, the appellee filed, on July 29, 1980, a Motion for Sanctions. By order dated October 1, 1980, the court below granted the Motion and directed DOT to file answers to the interrogatories within twenty (20) days of the date of that order. The appellant failed to do so, and upon application of the appellee, an order was entered on November 20, 1980 precluding DOT from entering a defense and presenting evidence as to liability at the time of trial. The instant appeal by DOT to this Court followed.
Before addressing the merits of this appeal, we must first determine whether it is properly before us at this time. Specifically, the issue is whether the order from which DOT has appealed, which prohibits DOT from entering a defense and presenting evidence with respect to liability, but which reserves for trial the issue of damages, is a final, appealable order.
It is virtually axiomatic that no appeal will lie to this Court from an interlocutory order, unless otherwise expressly permitted by statute.*fn1 Weiss v. City of Philadelphia, 65 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 260, 442 A.2d 378 (1982). As a matter of policy, this rule against entertaining appeals from interlocutory orders was developed to avoid piecemeal determinations
[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 208]
and the consequent protraction of litigation. Husted v. Board of Directors of Wellsboro Area School District, 57 Pa. ...