Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure: What is the Purpose of the Docketing Statement?
Published on August 15, 2013 by Michael Cantwell
A common question arising with Superior Court appeals is the purpose of the docketing statement. This is a form document sent by the Superior Court after a notice of appeal is filed, and is required to be completed and returned within 10 days. Under Pa. R.A.P. 3517, the stated purpose is to enable the Court to “more efficiently and expeditiously administer the scheduling of argument and submission of cases on appeal.” Pa. R.A.P. 3517. What does that mean? In short, it is a general information worksheet designed to help the Superior Court answer the following:
– Is jurisdiction proper? Was the notice of appeal taken from a final, appealable order under Pa. R.A.P. 301? Was it taken from a collateral order under Rule 313? Is the appeal interlocutory, either by right under Rule 311 or permission? The answer to this question greatly helps the Court determine whether the appeal should either proceed or be quashed.
– Was the transcript duly-ordered (and paid for)?
– Are there any related cases? This informs the Court if the case is a cross-appeal under Pa. R.A.P. 2136, or if two or more cases could eventually be consolidated.
– A brief description of the issues raised on appeal. This enables the Superior Court to determine
whether the case is ripe for mediation.
– Is the case caption and parties of record, as entered on the docket, proper? This relates to issues that arise often among appellants. In assigning the docket number for a new case on appeal, the Superior Court obtains all information from the notice of appeal (case caption, parties, attorneys of record and the date of the order appealed from). When filing their opening brief and reproduced record, appellants are sometimes forced to serve unnecessary parties (i.e. parties to the lower court action that have nothing to do with the appeal), because they were over-inclusive in listing parties in their notice of appeal. Similarly, the case caption is sometimes not accurately conveyed to the notice of appeal. The docketing statement provides an easy way to remedy such mistakes soon after they are made.
In short, though the docketing statement may seem like redundant paperwork, it serves an important purpose for the Superior Court’s administration of your appeal.
Please contact me with any questions regarding preparing and filing any appeal. Counsel Press provides a full spectrum of appellate services. My colleagues and I at our Philadelphia office specialize in rule-compliant appellate filings in the United States Court of Appeals for the First, Third and Fifth Circuits, Superior Court of Pennsylvania, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, the Massachusetts Appeals Court and the United States Supreme Court.