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A Checklist for Appellant Briefs in Pennsylvania

I recently created this checklist of items to include in Pennsylvania appellant briefs.  It is merely a checklist and not intended to be comprehensive.  Always consult the official procedural rules for complete information before filing.

_____ A.  Cover (Pa. R.A.P. 2172)

On the front cover of the brief there shall appear the following:

(1)  the name of the appellate court in which the matter is to be heard;

(2)  the docket number of the case in the appellate court;

(3)  the caption of the case in the appellate court, as prescribed by these rules;

(4)  title of the filing, such as ‘‘Brief for Appellant’’ or ‘‘Brief for Respondent.’’ If the reproduced record is bound with the brief, the title shall so indicate, for example, ‘‘Brief for Appellant and Reproduced Record,’’ or ‘‘Brief for Appellee and Supplemental Reproduced Record,’’ such as the case may be;

(5)  designation of the order appealed from such as ‘‘Appeal from the Order of’’ the court from which the appeal is taken, with the docket number therein. On appeals from the Superior Court or the Commonwealth Court its docket number shall be given, followed by a statement as to whether it affirmed, reversed or modified the order of the court or tribunal of first instance, giving also the name of the latter and the docket number, if any, of the case therein;

(6)  the names of counsel, giving the office address and telephone number of the one upon whom it is desired notices shall be served.

_____ B.  Table of Contents (Pa. R.A.P. 2174)

The briefs and the reproduced record shall each contain a full and complete table of contents, set forth either on the inside of the front cover or on the first and immediately succeeding pages. The table of contents of the reproduced record, in addition to the material otherwise specified in this chapter, shall include a reference to all reproduced exhibits, indicating what each is, and the names of witnesses, indicating where the examination, cross-examination and re-examination of each begin. Where the reproduced record is bound in more than one volume, there shall be but one table of contents which shall indicate in which volume each particular part of the record will be found. The combined table of contents ordinarily shall be set forth in full at the front of each volume, but where the combined table of contents is itself voluminous, a cross reference at the front of the second and subsequent volumes to the combined table of contents at the front of the first volume may be substituted for the text of the combined table of contents.

_____ C.  Table of Citations (Pa. R.A.P. 2174)

All briefs shall contain a table of citations therein, arranged alphabetically, which shall be set forth immediately following the table of contents.

_____ 1.  Statement of Jurisdiction (Pa. R.A.P. 2114)

The statement of jurisdiction shall contain a precise citation to the statutory provision, general rule or other authority believed to confer on the appellate court jurisdiction to review the order or other determination in question.

_____ 2.  Order or other determination in question (Pa. R.A.P. 2115)

The text of the order or other determination from which an appeal has been taken or which is otherwise sought to be reviewed shall be set forth verbatim immediately following the statement of jurisdiction.

_____ 3.  Statement of the Scope and Standard of Review (Pa. R.A.P. 2111)

_____ 4.  Statement of the Questions Involved (Pa. R.A.P. 2116)

The statement of the questions involved must state concisely the issues to be resolved, expressed in the terms and circumstances of the case but without unnecessary detail. The statement shall be no more than two pages and will be deemed to include every subsidiary question fairly comprised therein. No question will be considered unless it is stated in the statement of questions involved or is fairly suggested thereby. Each question shall be followed by an answer stating simply whether the court or government unit agreed, disagreed, did not answer, or did not address the question. If a qualified answer was given to the question, appellant shall indicate the nature of the qualification, or if the question was not answered or addressed and the record shows the reason for such failure, the reason shall be stated briefly in each instance without quoting the court or government unit below.

_____ 5.  Statement of the Case (Pa. R.A.P. 2117)

The statement of the case shall contain, in the following order:

(1)  A statement of the form of action, followed by a brief procedural history of the case.

(2)  A brief statement of any prior determination of any court or other government unit in the same case or estate, and a reference to the place where it is reported, if any.

(3)  The names of the judges or other officials whose determinations are to be reviewed.

(4)  A closely condensed chronological statement, in narrative form, of all the facts which are necessary to be known in order to determine the points in controversy, with an appropriate reference in each instance to the place in the record where the evidence substantiating the fact relied on may be found. See Rule 2132 (references in briefs to the record).

(5)  A brief statement of the order or other determination under review.

The statement of the case shall not contain any argument. It is the responsibility of appellant to present in the statement of the case a balanced presentation of the history of the proceedings and the respective contentions of the parties.

_____ 6.  Summary of Argument (Pa. R.A.P. 2118)

The summary of argument shall be a concise summary of the argument of the party in the case, suitably paragraphed. The summary of argument should not exceed one page and should never exceed two pages. The summary of argument should not be a mere repetition of the statement of questions presented. The summary should be a succinct, although accurate and clear picture of the argument actually made in the brief concerning the questions.

_____ 7.  Argument (Pa. R.A.P. 2119)

The argument shall be divided into as many parts as there are questions to be argued; and shall have at the head of each part—in distinctive type or in type distinctively displayed—the particular point treated therein, followed by such discussion and citation of authorities as are deemed pertinent.

_____ 8.  A short conclusion stating the precise relief sought (Pa. R.A.P. 2111)

_____ 9. Opinions and pleadings (Pa. R.A.P. 2111)

There shall be appended to the brief a copy of any opinions delivered by any court or other government unit below relating to the order or other determination under review, if pertinent to the questions involved. If an opinion has been reported, that fact and the appropriate citation shall also be set forth.

When pursuant to Rule 2151(c) (original hearing cases) the parties are not required to reproduce the record, and the questions presented involve an issue raised by the pleadings, a copy of the relevant pleadings in the case shall be appended to the brief.