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MARC STEEL v. STEVEN L. WEISBERG (09/06/85)

filed: September 6, 1985.

MARC STEEL, D.D.S.
v.
STEVEN L. WEISBERG, D.D.S. APPEAL OF CHARLES R. WEBER, D.D.M.



Appeal from the Order entered October 5, 1984 in the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Civil Division, at No. 83-3159.

COUNSEL

Thomas A. Beckley, Harrisburg, for appellant.

Donald A. Brown, Harrisburg, for appellee.

Cavanaugh, Olszewski and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Hoffman

[ 347 Pa. Super. Page 107]

This is an appeal from the lower court's order denying appellant's motion for a protective order. Appellant contends that the Peer Review Protection Act, 63 P.S. §§ 425.1-.4, compels a different result. Because we find that the order is not appealable, we must quash this appeal.

On March 23, 1983, Marc Steel, D.D.S., appellee herein, filed a complaint against Steven L. Weisberg, D.D.S., not a party to the present appeal, alleging that Dr. Weisberg defamed him and failed to pay him his share of patients' dental fees pursuant to an agreement between the two dentists. Dr. Weisberg filed his answer, new matter, and counterclaim on June 20, 1983. On March 15, 1984, during discovery, appellee filed a notice to take the deposition of Dr. Charles Weber, D.D.M., appellant herein. On April 12,

[ 347 Pa. Super. Page 1081984]

, appellant filed a motion for a protective order, pursuant to Pa.R.Civ.P. 4012(a), alleging that, as Chairman of the Chester-Delaware Patients Relations Committee, a "review committee" within the meaning of the Peer Review Protection Act, supra, he could not be deposed concerning the proceedings and records of the Committee in accordance with the provisions of the Act. In appellee's answer to the motion, filed on April 25, 1984, appellee alleged that he had "no intention of asking any questions concerning any testimony or proceedings before any dental committee" and that "[t]he only questions will be with respect to the receipt of the letter provided by the Defendant [Dr. Weisberg] and the names of those individuals to whom the letter was distributed." (Appellant's Answer to motion for Protective Order para. 4). The letter in question was an October 14, 1982 letter from Dr. Weisberg to appellant which contained some of the allegedly defamatory statements made by Dr. Weisberg. By order of October 5, 1984, the lower court denied the motion for a protective order. This appeal followed.

"The Superior Court shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction of all appeals from final orders of the courts of common pleas, . . . except such classes of appeals as are . . . within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court or the Commonwealth Court." 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 742 (emphasis added). A final order is one which "either ends the litigation or disposes of the entire case." Gray v. State Farm Insurance Co., 328 Pa. Superior Ct. 532, 537, 477 A.2d 868, 871 (1984). "In determining what constitutes a final order we look to a practical rather than technical construction of the order." Marron's Woodstove and Fireplace Center, Inc. v. Alaska Co., Inc., 326 Pa. Superior Ct. 471, 472-74, 474 A.2d 337, 338-39 (1984). Interlocutory orders, on the other hand, are not appealable unless "authorized by law" or by permission of the appellate court. 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 702(a), (b) and 5105(c). Here, the order denying appellant's motion for a protective order is not a final order

[ 347 Pa. Super. Page 109]

    because it neither ends the litigation between appellee and Dr. Weisberg nor disposes of their entire case. Furthermore, it is not an interlocutory order appealable as of right. See generally Pa.R.A.P. 311(a).

Appellant contends, however, that the instant order is appealable under the "collateral order" exception to the final ...


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