PHILADELPHIA — A lower court will be asked to decide whether an appeal filed in a mortgage foreclosure case was filed within a court-ordered deadline, according to a Pennsylvania Superior Court decision handed down April 24.
The original case before the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas, which ended in a summary judgment in favor of the Bank of New York Mellon, was filed April 1, 2016.
But attorneys representing Richard H. Brooks Jr. claimed mistakes were made in the decision and were given 21 days to appeal the decision.
“Failure to comply with such direction may be considered by the appellate court as a waiver of all objections to the order, ruling, or other matter complained,” the court said, referencing Rule 1925, which stipulates the deadline.
The court further explained that, under the state’s Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, “The Rule 1925 statement asserts that Appellee is barred from seeking judgment in its foreclosure action because it failed to follow the loss mitigation requirements.”
The confusion arose when, although Brooks’ attorneys filed their appeal documents prior to the 21-day deadline, the court clerk did not approve and stamp the documents until after the deadline.
“The certificate of service indicates that counsel for Appellant mailed the Rule 1925 statement one day before the 21-day deadline,” the Superior Court judge affirmed.
The Superior Court took into account the fact that Brooks’ attorneys filed within the necessary time frame and that the court’s delay was in fact what led to the missed 21-day window. It asked the Northampton County court to review the process for proof that the appeal filing was valid within that time frame—and declined to allow the foreclosure proceeding to conclude until that issue was resolved.
“We remand this case under Rule 1925(c)(1) and direct the trial court, within the next 45 days, to enter an order determining whether Appellant timely filed his Rule 1925 statement,” the Superior Court wrote in its opinion. “If necessary, the court shall order discovery, convene an evidentiary hearing, and/or enter findings of fact and conclusions of law. We will then take all other necessary steps to resolve this appeal.”