Wednesday, June 22, 2016

appeals - per curiam affirmances - how to interpret

Brentwood Borough School District v. Held – Pa. Supreme Court – June 20, 2016

There are two kinds of per curiam affirmances (PCAs):

            - PCAs adopting the opinion below --  thereby signaling the Court’s approval of the mandate and adoption of the reasoning of the court below, see, e.g., Commonwealth v. Greene, 81 A.3d 829 (Pa. 2013), and

            - PCAs affirming only the order below.  In these cases, the Court offers neither approval nor disapproval of the reasoning below; the Court either agrees with the mandate, or at a minimum, is unconvinced the appellant has made a sufficient showing to disturb that result. See Commonwealth v. Tilghman, 673 A.2d 898, 904 (Pa. 1996) (when Court issues per curiam affirmance, “[u]nless we indicate that the opinion of the lower tribunal is affirmed per curiam, our order is not to be interpreted as adopting the rationale employed by the lower tribunal in reaching its final disposition”) (emphasis in original).