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ALVIN JOHNSON v. EARL SCHEIB (03/26/86)

filed: March 26, 1986.

ALVIN JOHNSON, APPELLEE,
v.
EARL SCHEIB, INC., APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil, at No. 5847 X February, 1985

COUNSEL

Jay Meyers, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Robert H. Nemeroff, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Rowley, Montemuro and Kelly, JJ.

Author: Montemuro

[ 352 Pa. Super. Page 280]

On June 1, 1984, appellee, Alvin Johnson, filed a statement of claim in Philadelphia Municipal Court for $1000.00 in damages to appellee's automobile allegedly occasioned by appellant's, Earl Scheib, Inc.'s, breach of contract. As a result of appellant's failure to attend the July 5, 1984 hearing on appellee's claim, judgment was entered against appellant by default.

Thereafter, appellant filed a petition to open the default judgment in Municipal Court contending that appellant's previous failure to appear was due to internal corporate "confusion" and to the failure of the "legal papers" to be forwarded to the "home office". Appellant's petition was denied and appellant subsequently appealed this denial to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County.*fn1

On October 9, 1984, the Honorable Thomas A. White also denied the petition to open the default judgment. In response to appellant's motion for reconsideration of the October 9, 1984 order, Judge White again denied appellant's petition to open in an order dated December 18, 1984. In his opinion, filed along with his December 18, 1984 order, Judge White noted that "service of the Complaint and notice of the [July 5, 1984] hearing were properly served on the Petitioner." Judge White was clearly unmoved by the alleged subsequent mishandling of the legal papers.

Having been thwarted in its attempts to have the default judgment opened, appellant returned to Municipal Court and filed a petition to strike the default judgment due to the claimed excessiveness of the $1000.00 award. Following a hearing, this petition was similarly denied on February 8, 1985. On March 1, 1985, appellant again appealed to the Court of Common Pleas.

Misapprehending the March 1, 1985 appeal to be an appeal from his earlier denial of appellant's petition to open the default judgment, Judge White ruled, in an order dated April 30, 1985, "It appearing that defendant has improperly

[ 352 Pa. Super. Page 281]

    filed an appeal of our Order with this Court, it is hereby Ordered that said appeal is dismissed."*fn2 Appellant timely appealed this order.

Given the nature of the underlying action, this case has become unnecessarily arduous. Appellant has steered this case through a serpentine procedural course. Appellant's persistence, combined with the regrettable, albeit understandable, misapprehension by the court below, has now placed this matter in our judicial lap. In the interest of "judicial economy", we have opted to disregard the numerous procedural irregularities, see Pa. R.A.P. 105(a) and Pa. R.C.P. 126, and we will address this case on its ...


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