Wednesday, August 10, 2005

appeals - nunc pro tunc - mistake in Purdon's about appeal time

Appeal of Tenet HealthSystems - Commonwealth Court - Augut 10, 2005

Held, nunc pro tunc appeal not allowed where appeal time incorrectly printed in Purdon's Statutes, because:

-- Purdon's is not an official publication, it a private publication of West Publishing Company. Therefore, there was no breakdown in government actions that would excuse a late appeal. The late appeal was not attributable to the admin. board that issued the decision

-- The relevant Purdon's statute contained information which should have alerted counsel to check further.

-- West's error was not an "extraordinary event" that would justify a nunc pro tunc appeal under Bass v. Commonwealth, 401 A2d 1133 9Pa. 1979) or Cook v. UCBR, 671 A.2d 1130 (Pa. 1996), which deal with non-negligent conduct of a litigant's counsel or the litigant him/herself.

-- Appellant's suggestions to include "legislative breakdown" as a justification for a late appeal is not persuasive. West Publishing Co., a private body, was responsible for the mistake, not the relevant government body, the Legislative Reference Bureau.

-- Appellant's counsel did not read the relevant law in its entirety. Had he done so, he would have found the proper appeal time or, at the very least, would have found information which should have prompted further inquiry.