Recent Superior Court Decision Highlights Perils of Post-Trial Practice in Pennsylvania


The Superior Court’s recent decision in Vietri v. Delaware Valley High School, No. 648 EDA 012 (March 22, 2013), brings into sharp focus the intricacies of Pennsylvania post-trial practice and the need to proceed cautiously in preserving appellate rights.

The case features a complicated procedural history, initially stemming from the plaintiff’s incorrect filing of a post-trial motion after the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff also filed a timely notice of appeal. By letter to the plaintiff’s counsel, the Superior Court expressed concern over its jurisdiction, noting that the post-trial motion remained outstanding and that an appeal may not be taken until a valid post-trial motion has been decided. The letter did not address whether the post-trial motion had in fact been properly filed. The appellant’s counsel failed to respond to the Superior Court’s letter, and the Superior Court quashed the appeal.

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