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[U] T.R. v. J.L.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 4, 2014

T.R.
v.
J.L., R.C.R. AND S.A.R. APPEAL OF: R.C.R. AND S.A.R.

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Order April 16, 2013 in the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County Civil Division at No.: 2010-20550

BEFORE: DONOHUE, J., OTT, J., and PLATT, J. [*]

MEMORANDUM

PLATT, J.

R.C.R. and S.A.R. (Maternal Grandparents)[1], appeal, pro se, from the final custody order entered April 16, 2013, which awarded T.R. (Mother) "primary physical and legal custody"[2] of her daughter, L.R. (Child), who was born in July of 2010, and J.L. (Father) partial physical custody. The trial court denied Maternal Grandparents' counterclaim for primary physical custody but awarded them a schedule of partial physical custody. Mother has filed a motion to quash or dismiss the appeal for Maternal Grandparents' failure to designate the contents of the reproduced record and their failure to serve her with a "brief statement of the issues which [they] intend[] to present for review." Pa.R.A.P. 2154(c)(1). We deny that motion, and we affirm the trial court's order.

The record supports the trial court's brief summary of the facts and procedure of this case in its opinion entered July 18, 2013:

On April 23, 2012, Mother filed a Complaint for Custody seeking custody of her daughter (hereinafter "the child"). A custody conciliation conference was held on May 31, 2012. The custody conciliator recommended that the matter be referred to the [trial court]. Further, the conciliator recommended that Mother, Father, and the Maternal Grandparents share legal custody of the child, while the Maternal Grandparents have primary physical custody of the child with Mother and Father having rights to partial custody as the parties may agree.
On June 6, 2012, the Maternal Grandparents filed a counterclaim seeking custody of the child. Mother filed preliminary objections arguing that the Maternal Grandparents did not have standing to seek custody of the child. A hearing was ultimately held on August 24, 2012 on the issue. At the conclusion, the [trial court] overruled the preliminary objections.
A custody hearing was held on November 26, 2012. Testimony was taken, but the hearing was subsequently continued on the motion of the Maternal Grandparents to obtain legal counsel. In the interim, Mother and Father were to share joint legal custody of the child, and Mother was to have primary physical custody of the child with Father to have periods of partial custody as the parties may agree. Further, the Maternal Grandparents were afforded periods of partial visitation.
Another hearing was held on January 31, 2013[, ] but was continued because there appeared to be a misunderstanding among the parties. The custody hearing continued on March 11, 2013. During this hearing, the Maternal Grandparents indicated that they wanted to obtain certain witnesses. A final custody hearing was held on April 4, 2013. At the conclusion of the hearing, Mother was awarded primary legal and physical custody of the child. Father was awarded periods of partial custody/visitation. The [trial court] also denied the Maternal Grandparents['] counterclaim for custody, but they were awarded periods of visitation.
On April 26, 2013, the Maternal Grandparents filed a notice of appeal of the April 4, 2013 Order; however, they did not contemporaneously file a concise statement with the notice of appeal as required by Pa.R.A.P. 905(a)(2). Accordingly, upon a review of case law, this [c]ourt found that the Maternal Grandparents perfected a defective notice of appeal, and we awaited further instruction from the Superior Court of Pennsylvania as disposition of the defective notice of appeal is determined by the Superior Court. On April 30, 2013, this [c]ourt directed this case's file to be sent to the Superior Court for review.
Thereafter[, ] on May 2, 2013, the Maternal Grandparents filed their Concise Statement; however, they did not serve it upon [the court]. The Maternal Grandparents raised 7 alleged errors in the Concise Statement.
On May 29, 2013, Mother filed an Application to Quash in the Superior Court. On July 1, 2013, the Superior Court filed an Order denying the motion to dismiss or quash the appeal without prejudice. The record was remanded to this [c]ourt for preparation of a Supplemental Opinion pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a) in light of the Concise Statement filed on May 2, 2013. The certified record was also required to be returned to the Superior Court within 21 days. . . .

(Trial Court Opinion, 7/18/13, at 1-3) (footnote omitted).

The trial court entered the order complained of on April 16, 2013. Maternal Grandparents filed their notice of appeal on April 26, 2013, and their statement of errors complained of on appeal on May 2, 2013.[3]

We address Mother's motion to dismiss or quash first. Mother filed a motion to quash this appeal for Maternal Grandparents' failure "to timely file and serve a designation of the contents of the reproduced record and the requisite brief statement of issues to be presented."[4] (Motion to Dismiss or Quash Appeal, 5/29/13, at 2 ¶ 5). Mother asks that we quash or dismiss the appeal and award such other relief as we deem appropriate. We deny Mother's motion.

Pa.R.A.P. 2154 requires:
the appellant shall not later than 30 days before the date fixed by or pursuant to Rule 2185 (service and filing of briefs) for the filing of his or her brief, serve and file a designation of the parts of the record which he or she intends to reproduce and a brief ...

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