Local Civil Court Rules; MSD 04-40239
[34 Pa.B. 4107]
Administrative Order of Court
And now, this 23rd day of July, 2004, in order to comply with the Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure, 239.8, it is hereby ordered and decreed that the following Butler County Local Rules of Procedure are herewith adopted. It is further ordered that all prior Local Rules of Procedure that have been adopted and/or revised by this Court at various times and docketed to several different docket numbers are herewith rescinded.
This Order of Court shall be effective thirty days after publication of the Rules in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
The Butler County District Court Administrator is ordered and directed to:
1. File seven certified copies of this Administrative Order, including the newly adopted rules, with the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts.
2. File two certified copies and one diskette with the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
3. File one certified copy with the Pennsylvania Civil Procedural Rules Committee.
4. Electronically submit to the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts a copy of the following local rules for publication on the AOPC website.
5. Forward one copy for publication in the Butler County Legal Journal.
6. Forward one copy to the Butler County Law Library.
7. Keep continuously available for public inspection copies of the Order of Court and Local Rules in the office of the Prothonotary of Butler County.
By the Court
THOMAS J. DOERR,
Butler County Local Civil Court Rules Promulgated pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. 239
The principles of interpretation and rules of construction embodied to Pa.R.C.P. 102 to 153 inclusive shall apply to these rules, with the substitution of the words ''Court of Common Pleas of Butler County'' for the words ''Supreme Court.'' These rules shall be cited as ''Butler County Local Rule _____ .''
Local Rule L206.1(a)--Petitions
''Petition'' in Butler County means an application to open a default judgment or a judgment of non-pros.
Local Rule L206.4(c)--Rule to Show Cause--Issuance as of Course
A Rule to Show Cause on a Petition shall be issued as of course upon the filing of the Petition. See Pa.R.C.P. 206.6.
All Petitions must be filed with the Prothonotary of Butler County.
Local Rule L208.2(d)--Uncontested Motions--Certification
Any Motion, as defined in Pa.R.C.P. 208.1 bearing the written consent of the opposing party, or, if represented, the opposing party's attorney of record, may be submitted to the judge assigned to the case at any time without formal notice of presentation. If no judge assignment has been made, any uncontested Motion must be presented to the unassigned Motion Court judge. The party presenting any uncontested Motion shall certify how the party believes the Motion to be uncontested.
Local Rule L208.2(e)--Discovery Motions--Certification
All Motions relating to discovery shall include a certification signed by counsel for the moving party that counsel has conferred or attempted to confer with all interested parties in order to resolve the matter without court action.
Local Rule L208.3(a)--Motions Practice
All Motions, as defined in Pa.R.C.P. 208.1 requesting a judge's signature are subject to these Rules.
Civil cases are assigned to individual judges. All Motions are to be heard by the judge assigned to the case. Contact the court administrator's office if you do not know the assigned judge. In the interest of Family Court or Support Court cases, contact the Docketing Section of the Butler County Domestic Relations Section.
If no judicial assignment has been made, the Motion shall be presented to the judge designated by the Court Administrator or the Domestic Relations Section as appropriate.
All Motions shall be accompanied by a certification, in writing, substantially in the form set forth below, signed by the moving party or the moving party's attorney, that a true copy of the Motion was deposited in the mail at least seven (7) calendar days preceding its presentation.
Form of Certification
I hereby certify that I caused a true and complete copy of the within (name of Motion) to be served on (name of persons entitled to notice) by first class, regular mail or (date of mailing), along with notice of my intention to present the same to judge (name of assigned judge) on (date of presentation).
Failure to Provide Certification
Motions presented without the required Certification of Notice of Presentation will not be acted upon by the Court.
A Motion mailed on a Monday may be presented the following Monday or thereafter. The parties are permitted to consensually shorten the time for Notice of Presentation, but are obligated to note any such agreement on the Notice of Presentation. It is the responsibility of the moving parties to append the appropriate Certification. Absent Certification, the Court will not act.
Presentation of Motions
Except in an emergency fully described in the Motion, all Motions shall be presented to the judge assigned to the case in Motions Court. Contact the Court Administrator's office for civil court assignments and assigned Motion's Courts Dates. In the interest of Family Court or Support Court motions, contact the docketing section of the Butler County Domestic Relations Section. Requests for this information shall be responded to by the Court Administrator's office or the Domestic Relations Section within one business day.
Motions shall not be acted upon by the court unless the Notice of Presentation required above and one or more proposed Order(s) of Court are attached, along with a verification if required.
Local Rule L212.1--Civil Actions to be Tried
A civil action in which the damages sought exceed the jurisdictional limit for compulsory arbitration and which is ready for trial, shall be praeciped for trial by filing the same with the Prothonotary. The Praecipe shall certify that all discovery is complete. Depositions for use at trial need not have been taken prior to Praecipe. Objections to the Praecipe shall be filed within ten (10) days.
After Praecipe, the court administrator will schedule the case for a Pre-trial Conference. Pre-trial statements shall conform to Pa.R.C.P. 212.2 and shall be filed and served at least one week prior to the Pre-trial Conference.
After a Pre-trial Conference, the case may be listed for trial.
Local Rule L239(f)--Inactive Case
(f) Pursuant to Rule of Judicial Administration 1901, on the First Tuesday of December of each year, the Prothonotary of Butler County shall list for general call all civil matters, except those that are related to support, that are Inactive. A case is ''Inactive'' if no pleadings have been filed or actions taken for a period of two (2) years or more from the date the last pleading was filed or action was taken in that case. The Prothonotary shall give written notice of the intent to include the case on the general call list for termination of inactive cases to each of the parties of record by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested and each attorney of record by Regular Mail at their last known addresses. Said notice shall be in the form of a Rule to Show Cause why the case should not be terminated for inactivity, and shall include, inter alia, a statement identifying the name of the case, the docket number, the date and type of the last pleading or action taken in the case, and the date, time and location that the Rule is Returnable. In addition, the Prothonotary shall cause to be published a notice listing, inter alia, all of the cases to be presented at the general call of the list, as well as the date, time and location of the general call of the list hearing. Said notice shall be published in the Butler Eagle and the Butler County Legal Journal for two (2) consecutive weeks prior to the date set for the general call of the list hearing. In the event the court is unable to conduct a hearing on the First Tuesday of December of each year for the purposes of terminating all inactive cases, the hearing shall be scheduled sua sponte for the first available date.
Local Rule L1018.1(c)--Notice To Defend Form
The name, address and telephone number of the office that a person may contact to find out where the person can obtain legal help is as follows:
Office of the Prothonotary of Butler County
1st Floor, Courthouse
124 West Diamond Street
PO Box 1208
Butler, Pennsylvania 16001
Local Rule L1028(c)--Preliminary Objections
(a) Preliminary objections shall be filed with the Prothonotary. The Preliminary Objections shall have attached an Order of Court scheduling the matter for oral argument. A brief in support of the Preliminary Objections shall be filed with the Preliminary Objections. Briefs for the non-moving parties shall be filed and served one week prior to the scheduled argument.
(b) If an Amended Complaint is filed in response to the Preliminary Objection, the Plaintiff shall contemporaneously file a Motion to cancel oral argument on the Preliminary Objections.
Local Rule L1034(a)--Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings
(a) A Motion for Judgment on the Pleading shall be filed with the Prothonotary. The Motion shall have attached an Order of Court scheduling the matter for oral argument. A brief in support of the Motion shall be filed with the Motion. Briefs for the non-moving parties shall be filed and served one week prior to the scheduled argument.
Local Rule L1035.2(a)--Motion for Summary Judgment
(a) A Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed with the Prothonotary. The Motion shall have attached an Order of Court scheduling the matter for oral argument. A brief in support of the Motion shall be filed with the Motion. Briefs for the non-moving parties shall be filed and served one week prior to the scheduled argument.
Local Rule L1301--Arbitration (Scope)
(a) These Rules apply to all Civil Actions or issues that shall be submitted to compulsory arbitration pursuant to Section 7361 of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 7361, and Pa.R.C.P. No. 1301, et seq.
(b) A Board of Arbitrators, consisting of three (3) members of the bar actively engaged in the practice of law primarily in Butler County and selected as hereinafter provided, shall decide the following matters:
(1) All Civil Actions, as defined in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1001(b)(1), for money damages where the amount at issue is within the statutory arbitration limits, as provided by law and/or Order of Court. (See 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 7361.) The amount at issue shall be determined from the pleadings, by agreement of the parties, or the Court;
(2) All Civil Actions where no appearance has been entered and the plaintiff desires to have the damages assessed in an amount not to exceed the arbitration limits;
(3) All appeals from a civil judgment of a District Justice, except judgments for possession of real property; and
(4) By agreement of reference signed by the parties or their counsel. Such agreement shall define the issues and contain such stipulation as to facts, admissions or waivers of defenses or proofs as are agreed upon.
(c) These Rules shall not apply to the following actions:
(1) Actions in Ejectment;
(2) Action in Quiet Title;
(3) Action in Replevin--except by Order of Court;
(4) Action in Mandamus;
(5) Action in Quo Warranto;
(6) Action or Mortgage Foreclosure;
(7) Actions upon Ground Rent;
(8) Foreign Attachment; or
(9) Fraudulent Debtors Attachment
Local Rule L1302--List of Arbitrators. Appointment to Board
(a) The Prothonotary of Butler County shall compile and maintain a list of persons eligible and willing to serve as arbitrators and a list of persons eligible and willing to serve as chairpersons of the Board of Arbitrators. This list shall be comprised of members of the bar actively engaged in the practice of law primarily in Butler County. ''Actively engaged in the practice of law primarily in Butler County'' is defined as: Persons who regularly maintain an office in Butler County for the practice of law; public defenders; assistant and deputy district attorneys; and judicial law clerks of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County. Persons who have been determined to be eligible shall file a written consent to serve as an arbitrator or chairperson with the Prothonotary. Arbitrators and chairpersons shall be selected by the Prothonotary from those persons who have filed a consent to serve.
(b) Should a vacancy on the Board of Arbitrators occur prior to the hearing for any reason, or should a member of the Board fail to attend the hearing, a member of the Board shall notify the Prothonotary who shall immediately vacate that appointment and make an appointment to fill that vacancy. Should a vacancy on the Board of Arbitrators occur after the hearing takes place but before an award is signed by all arbitrators, or should a member of the Board fail to or refuse to perform his duties, the award shall be signed and filed by the remaining members of the Board. If the remaining members of the Board are unable to agree, they shall notify the Prothonotary who shall appoint a third member. Thereafter, the Prothonotary shall schedule a rehearing for the new Board, which shall thereafter file an award.
(c) The Board shall be chaired by a member of the Bar admitted to the practice of law for at least ten (10) years.
(d) Each member of the Board of Arbitrators, who has been duly sworn in to hear a case, shall receive as compensation a fee in the amount set by the court from time to time by a Special Order. In cases requiring hearings that exceed one-half day, the arbitrators may petition the court for additional compensation, which the court may grant for cause shown. The arbitrators shall not be entitled to receive their compensation fees until after filing a report and award with the Prothonotary. Compensation fees paid to the arbitrators shall not be taxed as costs or follow the award as other costs.
(e) Upon the filing of the arbitrators' report and award, or a discontinuance by the parties after the swearing of the arbitrators or an award by the court in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. No. 1303(b), the Prothonotary shall certify such filing to the County Commissioners and to the County Controller together with the names of the sworn members of the Board of Arbitrators and submit an Order for payment. The County Commissioners and County Controller shall thereupon pay the applicable fee to each member of the Board of Arbitrators.
(f) If an arbitrator fails in his duties or the Board of Arbitrators fails to file an award promptly, as required by Pa.R.C.P. No. 1306, the result will be the forfeiture of the arbitrator's fee.
Local Rule L1303. Hearing Notice
(a)(1) The chairperson shall fix the date and time of the arbitration hearing at the Butler County Courthouse. The hearing shall be within sixty (60) days after the appointment of the Board. Not less than thirty (30) days Notice in writing of the date and time shall be given to the arbitrators and parties or their attorneys of record.
(2) All written Notices shall include the following statement:
This matter will be heard by a Board of Arbitrators at the time, date and place specified, but if one or more of the parties is not present at the hearing, the matter may be heard at the same time and date before a judge of the court without the absent party or parties. There is no right to a trial de novo on appeal from a decision entered by a judge.
(b) The chairperson of the Board of Arbitrators shall have the powers conferred upon him by law, including but not limited to the following:
(1) To grant continuances for good and sufficient reason before the hearing convenes. Parties shall make requests for a continuance as soon as the need arises. In the event a party requests and secures a continuance of the hearing prior to the commencement thereof, it shall be the chairperson's duty to ascertain an appropriate date and time for a new hearing and to see that all parties and arbitrators are notified both of the continuance and the new hearing schedule. If there is a dispute as to a continuance, the issue shall be submitted to the Motion Court judge.
(2) To permit the amendment of any pleading except for good cause shown, such an amendment must be filed in writing. If the court grants a continuance of the hearing, the court may, in its discretion, impose a reasonable fee upon the party so requesting the continuance if the court finds the request for the continuance was not obtained in a timely fashion. The party upon whom such fees have been imposed may not, so long as such fees remain unpaid, take any further step in such arbitration without prior leave of court. The party upon whom such fees have been imposed may not recover such fees if that party is ultimately successful in the arbitration.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 04-1432. Filed for public inspection August 6, 2004, 9:00 a.m.]
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