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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 97-181


Title 255--LOCAL


Revision of Rules of Civil Procedure; No. 90502-1997

[27 Pa.B. 723]


   And Now, this 10th day of January, 1997, the following revisions and additions to the Rules designated as the Rules of Civil Procedure for the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Pennsylvania, are hereby approved, adopted and promulgated as the Rules of Court. These Rule changes, revisions and deletions shall become effective thirty days after the publication of the same in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, and they shall apply to all actions pending at the time.

President Judge

Rule 207.  Petitions to be in Paragraph Form.


Rule 209.  Duty of Petitioner to Proceed After Answer Filed.


Rule 302.  Trial Division Judicial Assignment and Arguments-Civil.

   (a)  Judicial assignment to a case will be made 60 days after the filing of the complaint. Counsel and unrepresented parties will receive notice of the assignment on the returned copy of the civil cover sheet. If no cover sheet is filed, notice will be given based upon information available to the Prothonotary. All judicial assignments will be noted in the Prothonotary computer file.

   (b)  If judicial attention is required prior to 60 days after the filing of the complaint, counsel shall submit a request for judicial assignment with the Trial Court Administrator on a form substantially as contained herein.

   (c)  To obtain judicial attention in a case wherein a complaint was filed before April 1, 1996, counsel shall submit a request for judicial assignment with the Trial Court Administrator on a form substantially as contained herein.

   (d)  If a complaint has not been filed, any matter requiring judicial attention shall be taken to motion court. The motion court judge will resolve that particular matter. Permanent assignment of the case will not take place until the complaint has been filed.

   (e)  All motions and petitions requiring decisions and other matters not within the scope of Erie L. R. 212.1 shall be filed with the Prothonotary and, as set forth in Erie L. R. 302(f)--(g), a copy shall be delivered to the assigned judge for the scheduling of the matter for argument.

   (f)  Preliminary objections not raising an issue of fact, a motion for judgment on the pleadings, motions for summary judgment, discovery motions and any motion not within the scope of subsection (g) and (h) below shall be filed with the Prothonotary. Within 20 days of the filing of said motion, the moving party shall file a brief with the Prothonotary and deliver a copy of the motion and brief to the assigned judge. The motion shall state whether oral argument is requested. Within 20 days of receipt of the moving party's brief, the non moving party shall file a response and brief with the Prothonotary and shall deliver a copy to the assigned judge. The brief shall state whether oral argument is requested. Any depositions, answers to interrogatories or affidavits in support of or in opposition to the motion shall be filed with the Prothonotary not later than the due date of the respective party's brief. If the briefs of either the moving party or responding party are not timely filed within the period above stated, unless the time shall be extended by the Court or by stipulation, the Court may then, or any time subsequent thereto:

   (1)  Dismiss the motion, exceptions or other matter where the moving party has failed to comply, or

   (2)  Grant the requested relief where the responding party has failed to comply and where the requested relief is supported by law, or

   (3)  Prohibit the noncomplying party from participating in oral argument although all parties will be given notice of oral argument and shall be permitted to be present at oral argument and/or impose such other legally appropriate sanction upon a noncomplying party as the Court shall deem proper including the award of reasonable costs and attorney's fees incurred as a result of the noncompliance.

   (g)  All motions or petitions requiring transcription of a trial record or the production and transmittal of the record from a determination which is subject to judicial review by this Court shall be filed with the Prothonotary by the moving party within the applicable time frame. A copy of said motion and supporting brief shall be delivered to the assigned judge within twenty (20) days of the filing of the transcript or record with the Prothonotary. Any response to said motion shall be filed within 20 days of receipt of the moving party's brief and a copy shall be delivered to the assigned judge.

   (h)  All other motions or petitions including petitions to open a judgment shall be disposed of pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 206 et seq., as appropriate.

   (i)  There shall be oral argument on any motion or petition unless all parties waive argument by failing to request such, as provided in subsection (f) above.

   Notice of each argument for which a timely demand is made shall be given to each attorney of record or unrepresented party by United States mail, facsimile transmission, or personal delivery to a business address or courthouse box.

   As Amended 1/10/97


NO _____ YES _____ 
If yes, name of Judge _________________
NO _____ YES _____ 
If yes, name of Judge _________________ Docket Number ______


_________________ has been assigned to this case. This matter, and all future matters, should be taken directly to assigned judge per local rules of court.

DATE: ______ ASSIGNED BY:_________________

Rule 303.  Trial Division Motion Court and Other Motions and Petitions-Civil.

   (a)  Civil Motion Court shall be held four (4) times per week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) at 9:00 a.m. The only motions presented shall pertain to cases where a complaint has not yet been filed. (See Erie L. R. 302 for procedure in matters where complaint has been filed.)

   (b)  Except in those cases where an appropriate initial order may otherwise be required, motions and/or petitions shall be accepted for filing without the necessity of a rule to show cause.

   (c)  All motions presented at civil motion court shall include a completed motion court cover sheet, in the form required by the court.

   (d)(1)  Motions and petitions that can be summarily heard by the Court and determined by brief orders shall be heard immediately following Motion Court on Thursday of each week.

   (2)  The moving counsel desiring to have such summary determination of a motion or petition must notify opposing counsel and any opposing unrepresented party of his intention to argue the motion or petitions before the Court at such time. The Court may refuse to hear argument on such motions or petitions unless counsel for each side is present.

   (3)  The moving party shall attach to the motion or petition the proposed order.

   (e)  No Motion for a preliminary injunction shall be filed unless a complaint in equity has already been docketed in the Prothonotary's Office. Upon the filing of said complaint, the moving party shall attach to the motion a copy of the complaint and an affidavit that a preliminary injunction is an appropriate relief. This motion shall then be presented to the duty Judge who shall sign same, but not insert any date or place where it will be held. The matter will then be referred by the duty Judge to the Court Administrator for assignment and date certain.

   For any motion to be considered, a brief must be filed simultaneously with the motion. The brief shall address, with particularity, why irreparable harm will result if an injunction is not granted and why an adequate remedy at law is not available.

   (f)  If counsel and/or an unrepresented party notifies opposing counsel and/or parties that he is to present a motion or petition at Motion Court and then fails to appear, the Court, upon motion, will consider an appropriate sanction including, but not limited to, attorney's fees.

   (g)  After presenting any motion or petition to the court, the moving party shall file with the Prothonotary the motion or petition with attached order granting or denying the relief requested.

   Cross reference:  See Erie L. R. 440 re:  notice to opposing counsel and unrepresented parties.

   As Amended 1/10/97

Rule 305.  Duties of the Prothonotary.

   (a)  The Prothonotary shall immediately endorse all papers filed with the date and time of such filings and shall enter all rules, pleadings and other papers filed in the proper docket.

   (b)  The Prothonotary shall, when directed by the Court, endorse the order of the Court upon all motions presented and shall transcribe the same in the record.

   (c)  The Prothonotary shall be responsible for the safekeeping of all records and papers belonging to that office. The Prothonotary shall permit no papers to be taken from the office, without written order of Court except for temporary removal by an attorney for the purpose of conducting an arbitration hearing or for copying within the Courthouse.

   (d)  All attorneys who take a paper from the files of the Court shall give their receipt in a book to be kept for that purpose and shall be responsible for the same and for damages arising from any loss.

   (e)  Only the Prothonotary, office clerks and attorneys shall be permitted access to the files. No entries shall be made in the dockets except at the direction of the Prothonotary.

   (f)  The Prothonotary shall not accept for filing any paper filed by person which shall not have endorsed thereon the address and telephone number of the person filing the paper.

   (g)  The Prothonotary shall keep a separate docket or dockets for the law and equity sides of the Court and shall consecutively number the cases each year.

   (h)  In litigation involving the validity of a municipal lien, upon motion of either party, the matter shall be transferred, from the municipal liens docket to the appearance docket and given a term and number by the Prothonotary.

   (i)  In all appeals to the Court from a municipal zoning board or municipalities, when said appeal has been returned to said board or municipality by the Court, should the matter than be returned to Court, it will retain the same docket number as the original appeal.

   As Amended 1/10/97

Rule 306.  Terms of Court.

   (a)  Regular terms of Court for the trial of civil jury cases will be held in February, April, June, August and October.

   (b)  The Court may schedule special sessions and/or special civil jury terms of Court at other times and dates than those set forth in sub-paragraph (a) above.

   (c)  Requests for trial outside the regular civil trial terms are discouraged. However, if there are compelling reasons to make such a request, the proper procedure to be followed is to file a motion with the assigned judge, giving due notice of the date and time of presentation to opposing counsel, in accordance with established motion practice.

   As Amended 1/10/97

Rule 311.  Procedure in Statutory Appeals.

   (a)  Unless a contrary procedure is provided for otherwise in Statute or general Rule of Court, this Rule shall apply to all statutory appeals where this Court has jurisdiction to review adjudications of School Districts, municipalities or State Administrative Agencies or offices. This Rule shall have no applicabilities on state Administrative Agencies or officers. This Rule shall have no applicability to proceedings under the Uniform Arbitration Act.

   (b)  In cases where the Court does not have the prerogative of receiving evidence in lieu of or in supplement to the record made in the administrative proceedings, or in cases where no motion for additional evidence was filed or granted pursuant to paragraph (d) herein, the disposition of appeals shall be by requesting a judge assignment after twenty days of the docketing of the record from the administrative proceeding or after the denial of the motion for additional evidence, whichever is later. In such cases, all procedures otherwise applicable to the listing of cases for argument, assignment to a Judge, briefs, etc., shall apply to appeals governed by this Rule.

   (c)  In cases where a party is entitled, as a matter of right, to have either a de novo evidentiary hearing in this Court, or to supplement the record made in the administrative proceedings, any party so entitled shall submit an appropriate motion at regular Motion Court requesting that the appeal be assigned to a Judge for hearing. Such a motion shall set forth with particularity the basis on which the movant claims a right to submit further evidence and shall contain a certificate that the motion has been served on all other parties no later than thirty (30) days prior to its presentation.

   (d)  In cases where the Court may receive evidence for cause shown, or at the discretion of the Court, any party wishing to request that the Court receive evidence shall do so by motion presented at regular Motion Court within twenty days after the docketing of the record of the administrative proceeding being reviewed. The motion shall state with particularity the authority upon which movant relies and the particular factors which he believes indicate that the receipt of further evidence is justified. Where indicated by the circumstances, the following factors may be considered by the Court in acting upon such motions in addition to any otherwise applicable standard governing the exercise of the Court's discretion:

   (1)  Whether movant was represented by counsel before the administrative tribunal.

   (2)  Whether previously undisclosed or newly discovered evidence exists which was not made available to the administrative tribunal prior to its decision.

   (3)  The overall adequacy for the purpose of appellate review of the record made before the administrative tribunal.

   (4)  The apparent regularity and fundamental fairness of the administrative proceedings, as disclosed by the record.

   (5)  Such other factors as may be considered in the interest of justice.

   No motion contemplated by this section shall be acted upon until all interested parties have been given an opportunity to respond to the motion through argument. If, after argument, the Court denies, in whole, a motion under this section, the case shall proceed as provided in section (a) above.

   In granting the relief requested in motions contemplated by this section, the Court may, unless otherwise indicated by applicable statutes, limit the evidence it will receive to matters which are not cumulative of material already included in the record made before the administrative tribunal, or impose other reasonable restrictions upon the scope or nature of the evidence to be received. The Court may, in its discretion, at the request of any party or on its own motion, require that any party intending to offer evidence pursuant to this Rule file a pre-hearing narrative statement fairly setting forth the nature of the evidence to be offered such that all parties may have adequate notice of the facts at issue prior to hearing and the scope and nature of the evidentiary proceeding.

   (e)  In cases in which evidence is received by the Court pursuant to this Rule, after the close of the evidentiary proceedings, all parties shall submit proposed findings of fact to the Court along with their respective briefs on the merits of the appeal in accordance with a schedule fixed by the hearing Judge. The hearing Judge shall retain the case and make the final disposition of the appeal, including the adoption of findings of fact, where appropriate.

   (f)  No case shall be listed for argument and no motion shall be filed requesting that a hearing be set until the record of the administrative tribunal is docketed with the Prothonotary. It shall be the duty of the administrative agency involved to promptly notify all parties of the filing of the record.

   (g)  Unless otherwise required by statute, the order of a single Judge of this Court which is dispositive of the merits of the appeal shall constitute a final order of this Court in all matters subject to this Rule. Neither the filing of exceptions nor en banc proceedings shall be required or permitted.

   (h)  Unless a different time is specified by statute, it shall be the duty of the administrative agency involved to docket the record of the proceedings before it with the Prothonotary no later than thirty (30) days from service of the notice of appeal upon the tribunal or agency. The record shall, in all cases, contain at least a brief adjudication setting forth the findings and conclusions of the administrative tribunal.

   (i)  In the event that any administrative tribunal fails to comply with the provisions of this Rule, or of any statute, relating to the time within which to transmit its record to this Court, any party may, by motion, apply for an order compelling the transmittal of a complete record.

   As Amended 1/10/97

Rule 313.  Motions to Impose Sanctions--Summary Proceedings.


Rule 2951.  Methods of Proceeding.

   (a)  Where a judgment is confessed in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. 2951(a), the party confessing the judgment shall file the following documents with the Prothonotary:

   (1)  One copy of the original Note for each defendant against whom judgment is to be confessed;

   (2)  A Notification of the Entry of Judgment form, with the caption completed and a stamped envelope which is addressed to each defendant against whom judgment is to be confessed. The Prothonotary's office will complete the Notification form and send out the Notification to each defendant after the entry of judgment;

   (3)  A certified or other acceptable check in the amount required for the entry of judgment in accordance with the fee schedule for the Prothonotary's office; and

   (4)  A self-addressed stamped envelope addressed to the party confessing judgment for the return of the original Note, receipt and transcript.

   As Amended 1/10/97

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 97-181. Filed for public inspection February 7, 1997, 9:00 a.m.]

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