Appeal from the Judgment entered June 16, 1987 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, No. 2636-87.
Patrick J. Shannon, Pittsburgh, for appellants.
Deborah L. Lesko, Bethel Park, for appellee.
Olszewski, Tamilia and Kelly, JJ.
[ 374 Pa. Super. Page 503]
In this landlord/tenant action, the defendants, Darrell and Cheryl Callwood ("Tenants") appeal an order granting summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, Carol Burr ("Landlord"). The issue presented is whether a defendant who files a counterclaim in a district justice action properly
[ 374 Pa. Super. Page 504]
preserves the issues raised in the counterclaim where he files an appeal to the court of common pleas from only the adverse judgment rendered against him on the complaint filed by the plaintiff. We find that in order to preserve the issues raised in the counterclaim, the defendant must file an appeal from the adverse judgment entered on the counterclaim. Here, the defendant filed a notice of appeal from the adverse judgment entered on the claim of plaintiff against defendant, but failed to file a notice of appeal from the adverse judgment entered on the counterclaim. The trial court therefore properly concluded that, on appeal to the court of common pleas, defendant was precluded from raising the issues previously raised in the counterclaim. Accordingly, we affirm.
On January 15, 1987, Landlord filed a district justice complaint against Tenants, seeking to recover rents allegedly due under a residential lease agreement and possession of the property. On January 20, 1987, Tenants filed a district justice complaint against Landlord, seeking $2,000.00 plus costs; the complaint stated that "[p]laintiff [Tenant] is suing for breach of implied warranty of inhabitability [sic] and intentional infliction of emotional distress." On February 10, 1987, following a hearing, the district justice entered two separate judgments. On the claim brought by Landlord against Tenants, the district justice entered judgment in Landlord's favor for $1,168.50. On the claim brought by Tenants against Landlord, the district justice entered judgment in favor of Landlord and against Tenants. A standard notice appeared on each judgment notification, informing the parties that any appeal must be filed within 30 days.
Tenants filed a timely appeal to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, with rule upon Landlord to file a complaint, from the judgment entered on the claim of Landlord against Tenants. Tenants at no time appealed the adverse judgment entered on their claim against Landlord. In response to the rule to file complaint, Landlord filed a complaint, again seeking the rent and late payment charges
[ 374 Pa. Super. Page 505]
allegedly due under the lease agreement. Tenants filed an answer; the sole defense asserted was that Landlord was not entitled to payment of rent because Landlord had breached the implied warranty of habitability. In a counterclaim, Tenants sought return of double the security deposit, in accordance with 68 P.S. § 250.512.*fn1
On May 18, 1987, Landlord filed a motion for summary judgment on the complaint and the counterclaim. The motion alleged that Tenants were collaterally estopped from presenting a breach of implied warranty of habitability claim, since the issue was previously determined in Landlord's favor in the claim of Tenants against Landlord, and Tenants had not appealed that determination. Since the sole defense alleged for non-payment of rent was a breach of the implied warranty of habitability, Landlord claimed she was entitled to judgment on the claim for rent as a matter of law. As for the counterclaim, Landlord alleged she was entitled as a matter of law to retain the Tenants' security deposit in light of Tenants' ...