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07/14/97 TEMPLE UNIVERSITY - COMMONWEALTH SYSTEM

July 14, 1997

TEMPLE UNIVERSITY - OF THE COMMONWEALTH SYSTEM OF HIGHER EDUCATION, APPELLANT
v.
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA



Appealed From No. 4518 October Term, 1989. Common Pleas Court of the County of Philadelphia. Judge SABO.

This Opinion Substituted by the Court for Withdrawn Opinion of April 15, 1997, Previously

Before: Honorable James Gardner Colins, President Judge, Honorable Joseph T. Doyle, Judge (p.), Honorable Charles A. Lord, Senior Judge. Opinion BY Judge Doyle.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Doyle

OPINION BY JUDGE DOYLE

FILED: July 14, 1997

Temple University (Temple) appeals from the judgment entered following an order by the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County which denied equitable and declaratory relief to Temple.

The record reveals that Temple brought this action for declaratory and injunctive relief against the City of Philadelphia (City), in which it sought a declaration that the City was responsible for the cost of emergency medical treatment which it renders to indigent city residents at Temple University's hospital. The suit was heard before the Court of Common Pleas on August 29, 1995. The Chancellor issued a verdict/finding in favor of the City on November 16, 1995, which was entered on the docket on December 6, 1995.

Before addressing the substantive issue on appeal, we must first discuss the motion that the City has filed in this Court to quash the appeal as untimely under Pa. R.A.P. 903(a). *fn2 The City's motion and Temple's response have detailed the following unique procedural history of this case.

The record reveals that, in issuing its verdict/finding, the Common Pleas Court did not comply with Pa. R.C.P. No. 1517(a), which governs adjudications in equity actions. Rule 1517(a) states the following:

(a) The court shall make an adjudication and may do so before the testimony has been transcribed. The adjudication shall consist of (1) a statement of the issues; (2) a closely condensed chronological statement, in narrative form or in separate findings, of all the facts which are necessary to be known in order to determine the issues; (3) a Discussion of the questions of law involved and the court's Conclusions of law and (4) a decree nisi.

Pa. R.C.P. No. 1517(a). The court completely disregarded this rule and, instead, issued only a verdict sheet indicating "VERD/FIND FOR DEFENDANTS" and that the case had been "TRIED TO VERDICT."

The Chancellor's verdict was then entered on the docket on December 6, 1995. Temple did not file post-trial motions within ten days, as required by Pa. R.C.P. No. 227.1(c)(2), which states the following, in pertinent part:

(c) Post-trial motions shall be filed within ten days after

(2) notice of nonsuit or the filing of the decision or adjudication in the case of a trial ...


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