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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 96-4




Day Forward Program:  Procedure for Disposition of Major Jury Cases Filed On and After January 2, 1996; Gen. Court Reg. No. 95-2

[26 Pa.B. 15]

   Activity directed at reducing the number of pending civil cases in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to a manageable level has been ongoing since 1993. Utilizing a three-tiered settlement process and a team-calendaring system, the Court has dramatically reduced the pending major case inventory and shortened the time to disposition; however, success with Day Backward cases will be brief unless a comprehensive system of handling civil litigation is developed which prevents new cases from becoming old cases.

   Accordingly, upon due consideration of Rules of Court concerning the establishment of trial lists, the scheduling of pretrial conferences and the imposition of discovery deadlines (see Pa.R.C.P. 212, 4001, et seq., and Phila. Civ.R. *215 and *4003.4, et seq.) the Court of Common Pleas hereby establishes trial lists, trial management conferences, pretrial conferences and case management deadlines to properly and expeditiously resolve Major Jury cases, and designates this process as ''Day Forward Case Management.''

   1.  Cases Subject to Day Forward Case Management:  All Major Jury cases commenced on or after January 2, 1996 shall be subject to Day Forward Case Management. A Major Jury case is a ''Civil Action--Action at Law'' wherein the damages claimed exceed the applicable Arbitration limits, and a jury demand has been timely made and perfected by the payment of the applicable jury listing fee.

   This General Court Regulation shall not apply to cases assigned to the following trial lists:  ''Non-Jury,'' ''Mass Tort,'' ''Arbitration,'' ''Arbitration Appeals,'' ''Municipal Court Appeals'' or ''Agency Appeals.'' This Regulation shall not apply to cases designated as Class Actions, unless Class certification is denied.

   2.  Commencement of Action:  All subject actions shall be commenced as provided in Pa.R.C.P. 1007. Philadelphia Civil Rule *205.2 shall be followed.

   All jury trial demands shall be perfected in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. 1007.1 and Phila. Civ.R. *1007.1

   3.  Case Management Conference:  Pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 212, a Case Management Conference shall be scheduled in every Major Jury case not earlier than ninety (90) days after commencement of the action.

   Plaintiff shall serve a copy of the Order scheduling the Case Management Conference on all attorneys of record, and any unrepresented party. When necessary, the Court may require Plaintiff to file an Affidavit of Service with the Prothonotary; but no such filing shall be routinely required.

   a.  Presiding Officer:  The Case Management Conference shall be conducted by a Civil Case Manager designated by the Court, acting on behalf of the Day Forward Judicial Team Leader.

   b.  Issues to be Addressed:  Pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 212(b), counsel shall address all relevant issues concerning service of process, venue, pleadings, discovery, possible joinder of additional parties, theories of liability, damages claimed and applicable defenses.

   c.  Failure to Proceed:  If it appears, from the information obtained at the Case Management Conference, that any party has shown a lack of due diligence by failing to proceed with reasonable promptitude, the Civil Case Manager may schedule the matter for a conference or hearing before the Day Forward Judicial Team Leader. The Civil Case Manager may, by Rule to Show Cause, direct any party to proceed with pleadings in accordance with applicable Rules of Civil Procedure, including requiring Plaintiff to serve the initial pleading, to file a Complaint and serve same, or to file a Petition for Alternative Service. Any such Rule to Show Cause shall be returnable before the Day Forward Team Leader.

   d.  Transfer to Arbitration:  If it appears, from the information provided to the Civil Case Manager at the Case Management Conference, that the amount at issue does not exceed the applicable arbitration limits, the Civil Case Manager shall refer the case to the Day Forward Judicial Team Leader for determination of whether the case should be transferred to Arbitration pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. No. 1021(d).

   4.  Case Management Order:  At the conclusion of the Case Management Conference, a Case Management Order shall issue. The Case Management Order will be based upon the assignment of each case to a specific Case Management Track.

   The following Case Management Tracks are hereby established:  Expedited Case Management Track, Standard Case Management Track, Complex Case Management Track and Extraordinary Case Management Track. Each case shall be assigned to a Case Management Track in accordance with the presumptive track assignment, established hereby and attached hereto as ''Exhibit A.'' For cause shown, the Case Manager may reassign the case to any appropriate Case Management Track.

   The Case Management Order shall establish the applicable deadlines for each particular case in accordance with the Presumptive Time Standards, established hereby and attached hereto as ''Exhibit B.'' All cases assigned to the Extraordinary Case Management Track shall be scheduled for a conference before the Day Forward Judicial Team Leader; and deadlines shall be imposed upon consideration of the particular facts of each case.

   5.  Relief from Deadlines Set Forth in Case Management Order:  Relief from the time requirements of any Case Management Order may be granted only by the Day Forward Judicial Team Leader. Any aggrieved party may file a Petition for Extraordinary Relief with the Prothonotary and Motion Court prior to the deadline that is sought to be changed. The Petition shall be in the form attached hereto as ''Exhibit C.''

   Any adverse party shall have ten (10) days after the filing of the Petition for Extraordinary Relief to file a Response with Motion Court. The Response shall be in the form attached hereto as ''Exhibit D.'' The parties may not extend any Case Management deadline by agreement, without Court approval, obtained by Petition for Extraordinary Relief.

   6.  Settlement/Mediation Conference:  The Court shall schedule a Settlement/Mediation Conference in all cases as follows:  Expedited Track cases after nine (9) months; Standard Track cases after fourteen (14) months; and Complex Track cases after twenty-one (21) months. Unless already scheduled, a Settlement/Mediation Conference will be expeditiously scheduled by the Court on any case in which counsel concur that such a conference may be productive. Such requests shall be made in writing to the Civil Case Manager.

   7.  Pretrial Memorandum:  All counsel and unrepresented parties shall file a Pretrial memorandum as required by the Case Management Order. The Pretrial Memorandum shall contain:  A concise summary of the nature of the case, or defense; a list of witnesses, by name and address, of all witnesses the party anticipates calling at trial; a pre-numbered list of all exhibits which the party intends to offer into evidence at trial; the Plaintiff shall list an itemization of the injuries or damages sustained, and all special damages claimed, by category and amount; and Defendant shall identify the applicable insurance carrier, together with applicable limits of liability.

   The Pretrial Memorandum shall be served upon all counsel and unrepresented parties contemporaneously with filing. Counsel should expect witnesses and exhibits not listed in the Pretrial Memorandum to be precluded at trial.

   8.  Pretrial Conference:  In every case, a Pretrial Conference shall be scheduled by the Court. At the conclusion of the Pretrial Conference, a Pretrial Order controlling the conduct of trial may be entered.

   9.  Trial Date:  At the conclusion of the pretrial conference, a date shall be established by which the case shall be deemed by the Court to be ready for trial. A date certain trial date, with reasonable notice to the parties, consistent with the ''Presumptive Time Standards,'' will be assigned at or after the Pretrial Conference.

   No Continuance requests shall be entertained, except in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. 216, and subject to Pa.R.C.P. 217.

   10.  Motions:  The Motion procedure set forth in Phila. Civ.R. *206.1 and *206.2 remains unchanged. The exclusive procedure for relief from Day Forward Case Management deadlines is as provided by Petition for Extraordinary Relief filed of record as set forth above and ruled upon by the Day Forward Judicial Team Leader.

   11.  Failure to Appear for Scheduled Conferences:  Attendance at all conferences scheduled by the Court is mandatory. If Plaintiff fails to appear, the case may be nonprossed without further notice. In the event any other party fails to appear, the conference shall be held in their absence; and sanctions may be imposed. All requests to reschedule conferences shall be made in writing to the appropriate Team Leader with copies to all parties.

   12.  Day Forward Judicial Team Leader:  The Administrative Judge of the Trial Division may, from time to time, designate a Day Forward Judicial Team Leader who shall be responsible for Day Forward Case Management.

   This General Court Regulation is promulgated in accordance with the April 11, 1986 Order of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, Eastern District, No. 55, Judicial Administration, Docket No. 1, Phila. Civ.R. *51 and Pa.R.C.P. 239, and shall become effective immediately. As required by Pa.R.C.P. 239, the original regulation shall be filed with the Prothonotary in a docket maintained for General Court Regulations issued by the Administrative Judge of the Trial Division; and copies shall be submitted to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, the Legislative Reference Bureau and the Civil Procedural Rules Committee. Copies of the regulation shall also be submitted to Legal Communications, Ltd., The Legal Intelligencer, Jenkins Memorial Law Library and the Law Library for the First Judicial District.

Administrative Judge

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 96-4. Filed for public inspection January 5, 1996, 9:00 a.m.]

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