Appeals from Orders of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Philadelphia County, No. 212 November Term, 1981.
Allen L. Feingold, Philadelphia, in propria persona.
John McGrath, Philadelphia, for Marino, appellee.
Wieand, Beck and Johnson, JJ.
[ 361 Pa. Super. Page 94]
These consolidated appeals are from orders directing Allen Feingold, Esquire, to pay fines and counsel fees incurred because of "his conduct in stonewalling discovery proceedings without any reasonable basis and for deliberately ignoring court orders." We will consider seriatim the issues raised.
Frank Markey, by his attorney, Allen Feingold, commenced an action against Dr. Joseph Marino for medical malpractice. On December 17, 1981, defense counsel caused a set of interrogatories to be served on the plaintiff. Later, on January 5, 1982, defense counsel also caused to be served a notice for the production of certain documents. Feingold, on behalf of the plaintiff, filed objections to the interrogatories, which the trial court ordered stricken for lack of merit. No objections were filed to the motion to produce. Thereafter, the plaintiff neither answered the interrogatories nor produced the requested documents. On March 5, 1982, the trial court granted a defense motion to compel answers to interrogatories and assessed counsel fees against plaintiff in the amount of $150. On March 30, 1982, the court entered an order directing the production of documents and making an additional award of counsel fees in the amount of $150 against the plaintiff.*fn1
When the court orders directing discovery were not obeyed, the trial court, on January 4, 1984, entered a judgment of non pros against the plaintiff. Plaintiff filed a motion to reconsider, which the court heard on May 8, 1984. At that hearing, the court communicated a willingness to remove the judgment of non pros if plaintiff would comply with the court's orders of March 5 and March 30, 1982. The hearing
[ 361 Pa. Super. Page 95]
court also determined that the refusal to comply had been the fault of Allen Feingold, plaintiff's counsel. Therefore, the court directed that Feingold pay counsel fees incurred by defendant in the amount of six hundred ($600) dollars.
This order was entered on May 9, 1984; it directed Feingold to make payment before May 14, 1984. On May 10, 1984, Feingold withdrew his appearance on behalf of the plaintiff, and new counsel entered an appearance on plaintiff's behalf. Nevertheless, several days later Feingold filed a single appeal in the Superior Court from the orders of March 5, 1982, March 30, 1982, and May 9, 1984. However, he failed to post security for the amount assessed against him personally by the order of May 9, 1984 and did not otherwise obtain a supersedeas. When the defendant subsequently attempted to enforce the order of May 9, 1984, the trial court scheduled a hearing for January 4, 1985. Feingold posted the necessary security on January 3, 1985; however, he did not notify the court or opposing counsel of this fact, and all appeared for hearing on January 4. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court found Feingold in contempt for failing to comply with the court's order of May 9, 1984 and directed that he pay a fine of $250 and additional counsel fees in the amount of $300. Feingold filed an appeal from this order, and it was consolidated for argument in this Court with the prior appeals.
The appeals from the orders of March 5, 1982 and March 30, 1982 must be quashed. These orders were interlocutory. They were sanction orders entered pursuant to authority contained in Pa.R.C.P. 4019 and pertained to discovery proceedings in the action brought by Frank Markey against Dr. Joseph Marino. The record does not disclose that the underlying action has been adjudicated finally. This Court has previously said:
As a general rule, this Court will not provide interim supervision of discovery proceedings conducted in connection with litigation pending in the several trial courts. In the ...