Appeal from the Order entered December 23, 1986, in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, Civil No. 83-3159.
Thomas A. Beckley, Harrisburg, for appellant.
Donald A. Browns, Media, for appellee.
Montemuro, Kelly and Cercone, JJ.
[ 368 Pa. Super. Page 592]
This case involves a question of whether certain information is protected from discovery by the Peer Review Protection Act.*fn1 The trial court found that the information sought is not protected by the Act, and issued a contempt order for appellant's refusal to produce the information at deposition. We affirm.
In March 1983, the plaintiff-appellee, Marc Steel, D.D.S., commenced this defamation action against Steven L. Weisberg, D.D.S. During the course of discovery, plaintiff Steel obtained a copy of a letter written by Weisberg to appellant, Dr. Charles R. Weber, in Weber's capacity as chairman of the Chester-Delaware Patient Relations Committee of the Pennsylvania Dental Association.*fn2 Steel filed a notice to take the deposition of Weber, and in response, Weber filed a motion for protective order. On October 5, 1984, the trial court denied the motion.*fn3
On April 25, 1986, Steel filed a motion for an order directing Weber to answer questions regarding the letter. On September 12, 1986, the trial court entered an order directing appellant to appear and answer the questions. The deposition of Dr. Weber was scheduled for December 8, 1986; at that time, Weber appeared and again refused to answer questions concerning the letter. As a result, Steel filed a petition for contempt. Weber filed an answer, and, following a hearing on the matter, the trial court entered the following order:
And now, to wit, this 22nd day of December, 1986, it is hereby ORDERED that Dr. Charles R. Weber is found to be in Civil Contempt of Court and is fined the sum of $25.00 conditionally.
[ 368 Pa. Super. Page 593]
Dr. Charles R. Weber may purge himself of Contempt and avoid the necessity of paying said $25.00 by answering all the questions provided to him at his depositions of February 21, 1986 and December 8, 1986.
The above Order has been entered after a Rule attaching Dr. Charles R. Weber was entered requiring his appearance to answer why a Rule Absolute should not be entered that he be found in Contempt; after Answer to said attachment by Dr. Charles R. Weber and Hearing thereon on December 18, 1986; after an Oral Rule Absolute was entered upon Dr. Charles R. Weber; and, after hearing on the Contempt citation and Rule Absolute on December 18, 1986.
It is this order which is now before us on appeal.
Before considering the challenge raised by appellant Weber, we must determine whether the December 22, 1986 contempt order ...