A Reasonable Break

/ 01.Oct, 2012
In March 2011, we posted on the plight of counsel in Newman Development Group v. Genuardi’s, 744 EDA 2010 (Pa. Super. 2010).  The Superior Court quashed an appeal of an $18,489,221.60 verdict because defendants did not file any post-trial or reconsideration motions after the trial court’s final verdict following a remand from the Superior Court.  Although the defendants had filed a motion for reconsideration of a January 15, 2010 opinion, they did not file any motion with respect to a subsequent February 25, 2010 decision.   Plaintiff argued that the failure to file a post-trial motion with respect to the February 25, 2010 decision resulted in a waiver of the issues on appeal pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. 227.1, and the Superior Court agreed.  The Superior Court rejected defendants’ argument that no post-trial motion could be filed because there was no trial following the remand. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Castille, has reversed, largely on the basis that Rule 227.1 speaks to “trials,” and the matter at hand “involves a gray area, where there are to be further proceedings below, but the proceedings do not amount to a new trial.” The court further notes:
Our holding interprets this Court’s Rule as it is written.  This case has revealed, however, that there are circumstances and nuances, involving appellate remands, that the current Rule does not account for.  Accordingly, we will refer this issue to the Civil Procedural Rules Committee for an examination and recommendation of whether, in the Committee’s view, revisions should be made to the Civil Rules.
This is a sensible ruling, but does not detract from the warning that malpractice avoidance requires careful consideration of appropriate post-trial filings. -Josh J.T. Byrne, Esquire