from the Order Dated December 14, 2017 In the Court of Common
Pleas of Bucks County Civil Division at No(s): 2016-03560
BEFORE: PANELLA, P.J., BENDER, P.J.E., GANTMAN, P.J.E.,
LAZARUS, J., DUBOW, J., KUNSELMAN, J., NICHOLS, J., MURRAY,
J., and McLAUGHLIN, J.
Mohn appeals from the order granting summary judgment in
favor of the Bucks County Republican Committee ("the
BCRC"), and denying his cross-motion for summary
judgment on his claims for declaratory and injunctive relief
based on alleged violations of the Pennsylvania Election
Code. Mr. Mohn directed his appeal to the Commonwealth Court,
which has jurisdiction over Election Code violations pursuant
to 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 762(a)(4)(i)(c). However, the
Commonwealth Court sua sponte transferred the appeal
to this Court based on Gordon v. Philadelphia County
Democratic Exec. Committee, 80 A.3d 464 (Pa. Super.
2013), wherein a three-Judge panel of this Court determined
that it had jurisdiction over an appeal involving an alleged
Election Code violation. We granted en banc review
to determine whether the Commonwealth Court has exclusive
jurisdiction over appeals involving alleged Election Code
violations such that Gordon should be overruled.
After careful consideration, we conclude that Gordon
was incorrectly decided, and should be overruled. We
additionally conclude that the issues raised by Mr.
Mohn's appeal fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of
the Commonwealth Court. Accordingly, we transfer the instant
appeal back to the Commonwealth Court to decide its merits.
briefly summarize the relevant factual and procedural history
underlying the appeal as follows. Mr. Mohn was elected as a
Republican committeeperson in Yardley Borough, Bucks County,
in 2014 and again in 2016. After the 2016 election, the Bucks
County Republican Party filed ethics complaints with the BCRC
regarding Mr. Mohn's actions during the election,
including campaigning against Republican-endorsed candidates
and failing to fulfill his responsibility to cover the polls
on the day of the primary election. Following a hearing, the
BCRC Executive Committee disqualified Mr. Mohn from his
position based on his violations of the Rules of the
Republican Party of Bucks County ("the Local Party
Mr. Mohn, along with two co-plaintiffs who have since
discontinued their claims, filed a complaint against the BCRC
in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, seeking
declaratory and injunctive relief. Mr. Mohn alleged that the
BCRC improperly removed him from his position as elected
committeeperson for his voting precinct. Specifically, he
claimed that the actions of the BCRC violated the
Pennsylvania Election Code, namely 25 P.S. § 2837,
disqualifying him as a committeeperson for reasons that did
not constitute grounds for disqualification under the Local
Party Rules. The parties filed cross-motions for summary
December 18, 2017,  the trial court denied Mr. Mohn's
motion for summary judgment, and granted the BCRC's
motion for summary judgment on the basis that the court
lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the internal
operations of a political party pursuant to section 2842 of
the Election Code.See Trial Court Opinion, 3/13/18,
at 5 ("This is a purely intra-party disciplinary matter
that the [United States] Constitution has reserved to the
[BCRC] to address free from government intervention.").
indicated above, Mr. Mohn appealed the trial court's
rulings to the Commonwealth Court. However, the Commonwealth
Court, relying on Gordon, supra, sua
sponte transferred the appeal to this Court. Mr. Mohn
now seeks appellate review to determine (1) whether the trial
court had jurisdiction to determine if the BCRC violated the
Election Code by disqualifying him as a committeeperson under
the Local Party Rules; and (2) whether the BCRC was
authorized by the Election Code to disqualify him for alleged
violations of the Ethics Code of the Local Party Rules, and
misconduct on the day of the primary election.
certified this appeal for en banc consideration to
decide the following two questions:
1. Whether exclusive jurisdiction over this appeal lies in
the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania pursuant to 42
Pa.C.S.A. § 762?
2. Whether this Court's prior, three-Judge Panel decision
on the issue in Gordon . . . should be overruled?
See En Banc Certification Order, 2/5/19. As we
explain below, the answer to both questions is yes.
issues for our review concern the scope of this Court's
appellate jurisdiction. Chapter Seven of the Judicial Code
sets forth the "legislatively ordained division of
labor" between appellate courts in Pennsylvania.
Valley Forge Indus., Inc. v. Armand Constr., Inc.,
374 A.2d 1312, 1316 (Pa. Super. 1977); see also 42
Pa.C.S.A. § 701 et seq. Pursuant to section 742
of the Judicial Code, this Court's jurisdiction is
limited, and does not extend to appeals which fall within the
exclusive jurisdiction of our Supreme Court or the
The Superior Court shall have exclusive appellate
jurisdiction of all appeals from final orders of the courts
of common pleas, regardless of the nature of the controversy
or the amount involved, except such classes of appeals as
are by any provision of this chapter within the exclusive
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court or the Commonwealth
Id. (emphasis added).
the General Assembly consciously removed a group of cases
from this Court's appellate jurisdiction and committed
them to a court of specialized appellate jurisdiction.
See Newman v. Thorn, 518 A.2d 1231, 1235 (Pa. Super.
1986). In this regard, section 762(a) of the Judicial Code
enumerates seven specific categories of appeal from the
courts of common pleas over which the Commonwealth Court has
exclusive jurisdiction. In this case, we are concerned with
only one of those categories. Pursuant to section 762(a) of
the Judicial Code,
(a) General rule.-Except as provided in
[which is inapplicable herein] the Commonwealth Court
shall have exclusive jurisdiction of appeals from final
orders of the courts of common ...