Today, I received a faxed Order from the Commonwealth Court simply stating, “AND NOW, this 5th day of December, 2013, argument in the above-captioned matter, currently scheduled for December 11, 2013, on the En Banc Argument list at Harrisburg, is cancelled and this appeal shall be decided based on the briefs previously filed.”
The reason for the Court cancelling oral argument is unknown. One theory is that although the Court previously denied our Motion to Clarify the Issues on Appeal due to the City’s failure to address the issues raised in our brief, as well as denying the City’s Motion to Amend its Brief, the Court found that the City had waived any argument contrary to those raised in our brief and therefore, there was no reason for oral argument.
While some may argue that such is supported by the language in the Order – “this appeal shall be decided based on the briefs previously filed” – I believe that language to be the form language used by the Court in such orders. Therefore, I would not read too much into it.
Nevertheless, the twist and turns of this case during the appeal is intriguing. Originally, the case was scheduled for a hearing before a three judge panel in Pittsburgh. The Court, sua sponte, cancelled that hearing and directed that the case was to be heard en banc in Harrisburg on December 11th. Now, after believing that en banc oral argument was necessary, the Court has cancelled all oral argument.
We have no idea as to when a decision will be issued by the Court and will continue to keep everyone advised as this matter progresses.