Appeal from Common Pleas Court, Philadelphia County; Honorable Bernard J. Avellino, Judge.
Thomas J. Wamser, Deputy City Sol., with him, Timothy B. Kiser, Chief Asst. City Sol., Philadelphia, for appellants.
Allen L. Feingold, A.L. Feingold Associates, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Craig and Doyle, JJ., and Narick, Senior Judge.
[ 129 Pa. Commw. Page 116]
The Board of Revision of Taxes of the City and School District of Philadelphia (Appellant) has appealed from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. That court, in response to Appellee Marlene Talasnik's motion for sanctions for Appellant's failure to comply with a discovery request, granted the motion and directed Appellant "to participate in discovery without prejudice to its right to raise other objections which may be appropriate." Appellee has filed a motion to quash this appeal as interlocutory,
[ 129 Pa. Commw. Page 117]
which this Court directed the parties to brief and argue along with the merits of the appeal.*fn1
This case concerns a tax assessment appeal which Appellee filed in common pleas court, seeking reassessment of real property within the City of Philadelphia. As part of those proceedings, Appellee noticed the deposition of Joseph N. Williams, Appeals Administrator for Appellant. Apparently, after several unsuccessful attempts to reschedule the deposition she had continued at Appellant's request, Appellee again noticed the deposition. Appellant informed Appellee that it would not produce Mr. Williams on the grounds that discovery rules did not apply in tax appeal cases. Appellee then filed the motion for sanctions to compel the deposition which gave rise to the order which is the subject of this appeal.
The trial court's memorandum and order, in its entirety, provides as follows:
The issue before the court is relatively simple: it [sic] is discovery authorized when a party appeals to the Court of Common Pleas and challenges a real estate tax assessment.
We believe the correct answer to this question is 'yes.' The City characterizes the proceedings before the Court as an 'appeal.' Assuming the accuracy of the characterization, the fact remains that there is a 'proceeding' before the Court. Pa.R.C.P. No. 4001(a)(1) covers all manner of 'proceedings' and is broad enough to encompass matters like this.
Meanwhile, this dispute arose because the plaintiff attempted to depose the Administrator of the Board of Tax Review. The City objected because it believed that no discovery was permissible. It is entirely possible that there are other grounds to bar this deposition. ...