HARRISBURG – The Superior Court of Pennsylvania has ruled that it couldn't accept an appeal in a case centering on whether a contract was valid, because the appeal was filed one day after the deadline.

The ruling was made in the case of Benedict F. Diaz Jr., v. Patricia Aiken, Robert Aiken, and Weichert Realtors.

The defendants in the case filed an appeal on July 6, which went past the deadline of July 5, the final day in a 30-day appeal period set in place by Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 903(a). Thirty days would have run out on July 3, a Sunday; the next day was the July 4 holiday; so July 5 became the final opportunity to file.

According to the Superior Court's decision, which it filed Feb. 21, the court had no jurisdiction because of the failure of the appellants to file their appeal on time. The court reasoned that because of a prior Superior Court of Pennsylvania case, Valley Forge Center Associates v. Rib-It/K.P., Inc., it could not take an appeal that came in past its 30-day period.

In its decision, the court explained that Aikens and Weichert Realtors appealed because the Court of Common Pleas of Susquehanna County issued an order that overruled the their initial objections. According to the decision, they initially objected by saying that the Court of Common Pleas of Susquehanna County had to drop Diaz's complaint because the two sides had a contract that included a binding arbitration clause, among other things.

The Court of Common Pleas explained that the defendants attached a six-page document to the objection, a document which they said was a copy of the contract. The court ruled that it wouldn't accept the document as a contract.

The Court of Common Pleas reasoned that even though Diaz had signed the contract, it hadn't been executed by a Weichert Realtors Across America Associates authorized agent or principal.

The Court of Common Pleas also did not accept the document as a contract because it said the document had a lot of blank spaces that included fees the broker would pay the sales associates for their sales, rentals or purchases of real property.

According to the Superior Court's decision, the appellants appealed to ask the Superior Court to take a look at whether the Court of Common Pleas made a mistake and failed to make its decision in a sound, legal, and reasonable way when it did not dismiss Diaz's complaint based on the appellants' arbitration assertion.

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Superior Court of Pennsylvania
601 Commonwealth Ave
Harrisburg, PA 17120

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