Submitted: December 8, 2017
H. DeSantis, Esquire, Vincent J. Poppiti, Esquire Attorney
Kenneth Lambie Plaintiff-Below/Appellee
MEMORANDUM OPINION ON APPELLEE'S MOTION TO
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff-Below/Appellee
Kenneth Lambie's ("Mr. Lambie" or
"Appellee") Motion to Dismiss the Notice of Appeal
of Defendant-Below/Appellant Ann Elise Bouchard ("Ms.
Bouchard" or "Appellant"). Mr. Lambie alleges
that Appellant's Notice of Appeal violates Court of
Common Pleas Civil Rule 72.3(f), the Mirror Image Rule.
December 8, 2017, the Court held a hearing on the motion and
reserved its decision. This is the Final Decision of the
Court on Appellee's Motion to Dismiss.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
6, 2017, Mr. Lambie and Nicholas Cocco ("Mr.
Cocco") filed a Complaint in Justice of the Peace Court
13 (the "JP Court") against Appellant for trespass
and property damage. In the Complaint below, Mr. Lambie and
Mr. Cocco alleged that Appellant's dog attacked their dog
and caused injuries that required surgery. Appellant alleged
that Mr. Lambie's dog provoked Appellant's dog, which
led Appellant's dog to attack Mr. Lambie's.
September 29, 2017, the JP Court held trial. On October 11,
2017, the court issued an Order that dismissed Mr. Cocco from
the action with prejudice because he was not the owner of the
dog and therefore is not entitled to damages. The court found
for Mr. Lambie and awarded judgment in the amount of $786.45,
plus costs and interests.
October 12, 2017, Appellant filed a Notice of Appeal in this
Court, naming only Mr. Lambie as the Appellee. On November
11, 2017, Appellee filed the instant Motion to Dismiss,
alleging Appellant's Notice of Appeal violates the mirror
image rule. On November 22, 2017, Appellant filed an
Opposition to Appellee's Motion to Dismiss.
contends that Appellant's Notice of Appeal violates the
mirror image rule because it does not name all parties that
were before the court below and, thus, should be dismissed on
asserts that the action should not be dismissed. First,
Appellant argues that the mirror image has been satisfied
because Mr. Cocco is not a proper party to the action since
he has no ownership interest in Appellee's dog. Because
Mr. Cocco was not a proper party in the JP Court, he cannot
become one in an appeal before this Court. Thus, Appellant
argues that the mirror image rule has been satisfied by
naming Ms. Bouchard as appellant, and Mr. Lambie as appellee.
Second, Appellant argues that even if the Court were to
determine that the mirror image rule was not met, under the
facts of the case the flaw is not fatal. Mr. Cocco's
omission as a party in the case caption presents no prejudice
to Appellee because Mr. Cocco has no legal interest in
Appellee's dog. Further, Appellant argues that if the
Court would require Mr. Cocco to be a named party in the
appeal, all that would be required is for Appellee to serve
Mr. Cocco with a copy of Appellant's Notice of Appeal.
of Common Pleas Civil Rule 72.3(f) codifies the common
law "mirror image rule" and provides that
"[a]n appeal to this court that fails to join the
identical parties and raise the same issues that were before
the court below shall result in a dismissal on jurisdictional
grounds." The mirror image rule protects the
parties' right to a fair hearing of all matters heard
below and "to assure the de novo reviewing
court that all relevant issues that could be presented can be
heard." If a party fails to comply with the mirror
image rule, this Court is precluded from exercising subject