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PA R.A.P. Rule 1925 Extension

PA R.A.P. Rule 1925 Extension

After a final order and/or a verdict that is appealed, the trial judge may order the appellant to provide a summary of the reasons why the order and/or verdict is being appealed. This evolves from Pa R.A.P. Rule 1925. The relevant portion of the Rule reads:

(a)  Opinion in support of order.

(1)  General Rule. -- Except as otherwise prescribed by this rule, upon receipt of the notice of appeal, the judge who entered the order giving rise to the notice of appeal, if the reasons for the order do not already appear of record, shall within the period set forth in Pa.R.A.P. 1931(a) (1) file of record at least a brief opinion of the reasons for the order, or for the rulings or other errors complained of, or shall specify in writing the place in the record where such reasons may be found. 

If the case appealed involves a ruling issued by a judge who was not the judge entering the order giving rise to the notice of appeal, the judge entering the order giving rise to the notice of appeal may request that the judge who made the earlier ruling provide an opinion to be filed in accordance with the standards above to explain the reasons for that ruling.

(2)  Children's fast track appeals -- In a children's fast track appeal: 

(i)  The concise statement of errors complained of on appeal shall be filed and served with the notice of appeal.

(ii)  Upon receipt of the notice of appeal and the concise statement of errors complained of on appeal required by Pa.R.A.P. 905(a) (2), the judge who entered the order giving rise to the notice of appeal, if the reasons for the order do not already appear of record, shall within 30 days file of record at least a brief opinion of the reasons for the order, or for the rulings or other errors complained of, which may, but need not, refer to the transcript of the proceedings.

(3)  Appeals arising under the Pennsylvania Code of Military Justice. -- In an appeal arising under the Pennsylvania Code of Military Justice, the concise statement of errors complained of on appeal shall be filed and served with the notice of appeal. See Pa.R.A.P. 4004(b).

(b)  Direction to file statement of errors complained of on appeal; instructions to the appellant and the trial court.-- If the judge entering the order giving rise to the notice of appeal ("judge") desires clarification of the errors complained of on appeal, the judge may enter an order directing the appellant to file of record in the trial court and serve on the judge a concise statement of the errors complained of on appeal ("Statement").

(1)  Filing and service -- The appellant shall file of record the Statement and concurrently shall serve the judge. Filing of record shall be as provided in Pa.R.A.P. 121(a) and, if mail is used, shall be complete on mailing if the appellant obtains a United States Postal Service Form 3817, Certificate of Mailing, or other similar United States Postal Service form from which the date of deposit can be verified in compliance with the requirements set forth in Pa.R.A.P. 1112(c). Service on the judge shall be at the location specified in the order, and shall be either in person, by mail, or by any other means specified in the order. Service on the parties shall be concurrent with filing and shall be by any means of service specified under Pa.R.A.P. 121(c). 

(2)  Time for filing and service.

(i)  The judge shall allow the appellant at least 21 days from the date of the order's entry on the docket for the filing and service of the Statement. Upon application of the appellant and for good cause shown, the judge may enlarge the time period initially specified or permit an amended or supplemental Statement to be filed. Good cause includes, but is not limited to, delay in the production of a transcript necessary to develop the Statement so long as the delay is not attributable to a lack of diligence in ordering or paying for such transcript by the party or counsel on appeal. In extraordinary circumstances, the judge may allow for the filing of a Statement or amended or supplemental Statement nunc pro tunc.

(ii)  If a party has ordered but not received a transcript necessary to develop the Statement, that party may request an extension of the deadline to file the Statement until 21 days following the date of entry on the docket of the transcript in accordance with Pa.R.A.P. 1922(b). The party must attach the transcript purchase order to the motion for the extension. If the motion is filed at least five days before the Statement is due but the trial court does not rule on the motion prior to the original due date, the motion will be deemed to have been granted.

(3)  Contents of order -- The judge's order directing the filing and service of a Statement shall specify:

(i)  the number of days after the date of entry of the judge's order within which the appellant must file and serve the Statement;

(ii)  that the Statement shall be filed of record;

(iii)  that the Statement shall be served on the judge pursuant to paragraph (b) (1) and both the place the appellant can serve the Statement in person and the address to which the appellant can mail the Statement. In addition, the judge may provide an email, facsimile, or other alternative means for the appellant to serve the Statement on the judge; and

(iv)  that any issue not properly included in the Statement timely filed and served pursuant to subdivision (b) shall be deemed waived.

(4)  Requirements; waiver. 

(i)  The Statement shall set forth only those errors that the appellant intends to assert.

(ii)  The Statement shall concisely identify each error that the appellant intends to assert with sufficient detail to identify the issue to be raised for the judge. The judge shall not require the citation to authorities or the record; however, appellant may choose to include pertinent authorities and record citations in the Statement.

(iii)  The judge shall not require any party to file a brief, memorandum of law, or response as part of or in conjunction with the Statement.

(iv)  The Statement should not be redundant or provide lengthy explanations as to any error. Where non-redundant, non-frivolous issues are set forth in an appropriately concise manner, the number of errors raised will not alone be grounds for finding waiver.

(v)  Each error identified in the Statement will be deemed to include every subsidiary issue that was raised in the trial court; this provision does not in any way limit the obligation of a criminal appellant to delineate clearly the scope of claimed constitutional errors on appeal.

(vi)  If the appellant in a civil case cannot readily discern the basis for the judge's decision, the appellant shall preface the Statement with an explanation as to why the Statement has identified the errors in only general terms. In such a case, the generality of the Statement will not be grounds for finding waiver.

(vii)  Issues not included in the Statement and/or not raised in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph (b)(4) are waived.

(c)  Remand.

(1)  An appellate court may remand in either a civil or criminal case for a determination as to whether a Statement had been filed and/or served or timely filed and/or served.

(2)  Upon application of the appellant and for good cause shown, an appellate court may remand in a civil case for the filing nunc pro tunc of a Statement or for amendment or supplementation of a timely filed and served Statement and for a concurrent supplemental opinion. If an appellant has a statutory or rule-based right to counsel, good cause shown includes a failure by counsel to file a Statement timely or at all. …

(d)  Opinions in matters on petition for allowance of appeal -- Upon receipt of notice of the filing of a petition for allowance of appeal under Pa.R.A.P. 1112(c) (appeals by allowance), the appellate court that entered the order sought to be reviewed, if the reasons for the order do not already appear of record, shall forthwith file of record at least a brief statement, in the form of an opinion, of the reasons for the order.

Under Pa R.A.P. 1925, the Motion for Extension of time for the Rule 1925 Statement should be granted for good cause and where there are extraordinary circumstances exist, including the following: 1)  the impact and restrictions placed on Plaintiff’s counsel by the pandemic caused a delay in Plaintiff’s counsel learning of the; and 2) the delay in the transcript being provided to Plaintiff’s counsel; and 3) the lack of prejudice to the Defendants. 

Under Pa R.A.P. 1925, if a party has ordered but not received a transcript, the party may request an extension of the deadline to file the Statement until 21 days following the date of entry on the docket of the transcript in accordance with Pa.R.A.P. 1922(b).

Under Pa R.A.P. 1925, “for good cause shown, the judge may enlarge the time period initially specified or permit an amended or supplemental Statement to be filed. Good cause includes, but is not limited to, delay in the production of a transcript necessary to develop the Statement, so long as the delay is not attributable to a lack of diligence in ordering or paying for such transcript by the party or counsel on appeal.” Plaintiff may be able to submit good cause exists for the Coronavirus, and the Governor and Supreme Court’s Orders, and the impact of all three factors.

Under Pa R.A.P. 1925, “In extraordinary circumstances, the judge may allow for the filing of a Statement or amended or supplemental Statement nunc pro tunc.” A Plaintiff should be able to easily submit one could not conceive of any more “extraordinary circumstances” then the worldwide pandemic, causing death and disease worldwide to the extent it led to worldwide stay at home orders and restrictions, which that led to the Governor and Supreme Court’s Orders, which all led to delay.

Finally, the Official Note of Rule 1925 provides further insight as to when extensions of time should be allowed. It reads in part:

Subparagraph (b)(2): “This subparagraph extends the time period for drafting the Statement from 14 days to at least 21 days, with the trial court permitted to enlarge the time period or to allow the filing of an amended or supplemental Statement upon good cause shown. In Commonwealth v. Mitchell, 588 Pa. 19, 41, 902 A.2d 430, 444 (Pa. 2006), the Court expressly observed that a Statement filed ‘after several extensions of time’ was timely. An enlargement of time upon timely application might be warranted if, for example, there was a serious delay in the transcription of the notes of testimony or in the delivery of the order to appellate counsel. The 2019 Amendments to the rule provided the opportunity to obtain an extension of time to file the Statement until 21 days after the transcript is filed pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1922(b). The appellant may file a motion for an extension of time, which, if filed in accordance with the rule, will be deemed granted if not expressly denied before the Statement is due.”

Clearly, there is a basis for an extension of the Rule 1925 deadline if there is a delay in the production of the transcript and/or in the delivery of the Rule 1925 concise statement as a result of the Coronavirus.

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