The Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure are both precise, and unforgiving.
If you wish to appeal a decision of a lower court (such as the County Court of Common Pleas), the general rule is that you have 30 days from the entry of the lower court’s order to do so.
But wait – what if you ask the lower court to reconsider its order – what happens then? Do you get more time to appeal to a higher court while you await the outcome of your reconsideration request?
If the lower court grants a motion for reconsideration of its original order within 30 days of entry of its original order, you are fine – you are still in the lower court and your reconsideration motion will be heard. You can appeal to the higher court from the outcome of that motion.
But – and it is an important “but” – if the lower court denies your motion for reconsideration, or if it fails to rule on your motion for reconsideration within 30 days, you still are subject to the rule that an appeal to the higher court must be filed within 30 days of entry of the lower court’s original order. So if you file a motion for reconsideration with the lower court, you should still appeal to the higher court within 30 days of entry of the challenged order in the event the lower court fails to rule on your motion for reconsideration, or rules against you, within 30 days. Stated differently, the filing of a motion for reconsideration with the lower court does not extend the time for filing an appeal to a higher court unless the lower court actually grants reconsideration within 30 days of entry of the original order.
– Kevin Palmer