No. 1120 Philadelphia 1982, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil Division, at No. 610 July Term, 1976.
Allen L. Feingold, Philadelphia, for appellants.
David M. McCormick, Philadelphia, for appellees.
Spaeth, President Judge, and Cavanaugh and Hoffman, JJ.
[ 326 Pa. Super. Page 365]
The sole issue on appeal concerns appellant's challenge to the lower court's imposition of a $100 sanction. We find that the lower court acted within its discretion in assessing the fee and, accordingly, affirm.
Appellant, counsel for the plaintiffs in the underlying action, had effectuated a $26,000 settlement with both the defendant and the additional defendant in early 1981. After the settlement, appellant provided the defendant's counsel with an order to settle, discontinue and end the matter, which was filed with the lower court. On March 18, 1981, however, appellant informed the defendant's counsel that the order had been returned because the additional defendant's attorney had failed to sign it. The order was then forwarded to the additional defendant's counsel, who subsequently told the defendant's attorney that the order had been lost. On January 5, 1982, the defendant's counsel requested appellant's signature on a newly prepared order, already signed by the additional defendant's counsel. After appellant refused to sign the order, the defendant's counsel motioned to compel appellant to sign the order and to assess counsel fees of $100. The lower court ordered the case
[ 326 Pa. Super. Page 366]
settled, discontinued and ended, and imposed the $100 sanction. This appeal followed.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 2503(7) provides:
The following participants shall be entitled to a reasonable counsel fee as part of the taxable costs of the matter:
(7) Any participant who is awarded counsel fees as a sanction against another participant for dilatory, obdurate or vexatious conduct during the pendency of a matter.
In the instant case, the lower court determined that appellant's refusal to sign the order constituted such "obdurate or vexatious" conduct as ...