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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 07-2399


Title 246--MINOR


[246 PA. CODE CH. 500]

Amendment of the Note to Rule 506 of the Rules of Conduct, Office Standards and Civil Procedure for Magisterial District Judges

[37 Pa.B. 6905]
[Saturday, December 29, 2007]

   The Minor Court Rules Committee is planning to recommend that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania amend the Note to Rule 506 of the Rules of Conduct, Office Standards and Civil Procedure for Magisterial District Judges to create a reference to wage garnishment. The Committee has not yet submitted this proposal for review by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

   The following explanatory Report highlights the Committee's considerations in formulating this proposal. The Committee's Report should not be confused with the Committee's Official Notes to the rules. The Supreme Court does not adopt the Committee's Official Notes or the contents of the explanatory reports.

   The text of the proposed changes precedes the Report. Additions are shown in bold.

   We request that interested persons submit written suggestions, comments, or objections concerning this proposal to the Committee through counsel,

Paula Knudsen Burke, Counsel
Minor Court Rules Committee
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
5035 Ritter Road, Suite 700
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Fax 717-795-2175
or e-mail to:

no later than March 1, 2008.

By the Minor Court Rules Committee:


Annex A




Rule 506.  Service of Complaint.

*      *      *      *      *

   B.  The copy shall be served at least five days before the hearing.

   Official Note: Under subdivision A of this rule, service must be made both by first class mail and delivery for service in the manner prescribed. In actions where wage garnishment may be sought under Pa.R.C.P. 3311, the plaintiff may authorize the sheriff or constable to make personal service upon a tenant/defendant. If a tenant/defendant is not present at the property the sheriff or constable is authorized to post the complaint so that the underlying landlord-tenant action may proceed. The plaintiff may authorize the sheriff or constable to make additional attempts to effectuate personal service upon the tenant/defendant so the plaintiff can later prove such service if attempting to garnish wages under Pa.R.C.P. 3311. Additional service attempts by the sheriff or constable may result in additional fees.


Proposed Amendment to the Note to Rule 506 of the Rules of Conduct, Office Standards and Civil Procedure for Magisterial District Judges

Change to the Note:
Reference to Wage Garnishment

I.  Introduction

   The Committee began reviewing Pa.R.C.P.M.D.J. No. 506 in March 2007 following an inquiry from a magisterial district judge. The judge was concerned that Pa.R.C.P. No. 3311 requires personal service upon a defendant in the original action if wage attachment is to be sought at a later time. However, Pa.R.C.P.M.D.J. No. 506 does not make any reference to this restriction in the Rules of Civil Procedure.

II.  Proposed Change to the Note to Rule 506

   The Committee seeks to amend the Note to M.D.J. Rule 506 to specify that if wage attachment is to be sought at a later time, personal service must be effectuated. The additional language of the Note would provide concrete examples of how this personal service would play out in a landlord-tenant case. For instance, the new language would specify that if a defendant is not present at the rental unit to be personally served, the property may be posted for the underlying landlord-tenant action to proceed, but the sheriff/constable would need to return to personally serve the defendant prior to the hearing in order to satisfy Pa.R.C.P. No. 3311.

   The new Note language references Pa.R.C.P No. 3311 twice, to underscore that section's relevance and direct litigants to review the section. Pa.R.C.P. No. 3311 requires a plaintiff judgment creditor/landlord to certify, inter alia, ''. . . that the defendant appeared or filed papers in the action or that the complaint was served by handing a copy to the defendant.'' See Pa.R.C.P. No. 3311, Certification by Judgment Creditor--Landlord Form, No. 8(b).

   Finally, the Note highlights that more than one service attempt by the sheriff/constable could result in additional fees.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 07-2399. Filed for public inspection December 28, 2007, 9:00 a.m.]

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