Preliminary Objections In An Appeal Involving the Right to Know Act

In Knopsnider v. Derry Township Board of Supervisors and Eugene Matteo, 725 A.2d 245 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1999), our Court found that the trial court erred in granting preliminary objections in a statutory appeal involving the Right to Know Act (Act). The Court found in pertinent part as follows: The rules of civil procedure only apply to actions brought by a praecipe for a writ of summons or a complaint. See Pa.R.C.P. Nos. 101; 1007. Because a Right-to-Know Act cause of action is begun by the filing of a notice of appeal, the Court have previously held that the rules of civil procedure do not apply to matters under the Right-to-Know Act. See Morning Call, Inc. v. Lower Saucon Township, 156 Pa. Cmwlth. 397, 627 A.2d 297, n.8 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1993); Shultz v. Board of Supervisors of Jackson Township, 95 Pa. Cmwlth. 550, 505 A.2d 1127 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1986). Because the rules of civil procedure do not apply, the Board cannot challenge the filing of Knopsnider's appeal by filing preliminary objections pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. No. 1017.... However, because an action challenging a local agency decision is captioned a "notice of appeal," fact pleading is not required; but at the very most, all that an appellant must plead is that an appeal is being taken and the reasons for the appeal in order to put the governmental entity on notice of why the appeal is being taken. Id. 725 A.2d at 247.