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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 20-1071




In the Matter of the Modification of Local Civil Rules of Procedure; No. AD 2008-1807

[50 Pa.B. 4031]
[Saturday, August 8, 2020]


And Now, July 23, 2020, the Court Orders as follows:

 1. Crawford County Local Rules of Civil Procedure 1301 and 1302, governing compulsory arbitration, are hereby Amended as follows this Order, effective thirty days after publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin;

 2. The Crawford County District Court Administrator is Ordered and Directed to do the following:

 a. File one copy of the amended local rules with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts via email to;

 b. File two paper copies and one electronic copy in Microsoft Word format of the amended local rules with the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin;

 c. Publish the amended local rules on the Crawford County Court website at;

 d. Incorporate the amended local rules in the complete set of local rules no later than 30 days following publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin;

 e. Forward one copy of the amended local rule for publication in the Crawford County Law Journal;

 f. Forward one copy of the amended local rules to the Crawford County Law Library; and

 g. Keep this Order and copies of the amended local rules continuously available for public inspection and copying in the Office of the Prothonotary.

By the Court

President Judge

Deleted text is bold and bracketed. New text is bold and underlined.

Rule 1301. Arbitration.

(1) Cases Subject to Arbitration.

 All cases which are at issue where the amount in controversy [shall be twenty-five ($25,000) thousand dollars or less], exclusive of interest and costs, does not exceed the maximum limitation prescribed by 42 Pa.C.S. § 7361(b)(2) shall be submitted and heard by a Board of Arbitrators consisting of three (3) members [or one (1) member] of the Bar in active practice in this County.

 In all cases where a party has obtained a judgment by default, said party may elect to have unliquidated damages assessed at a trial by arbitration with the issues limited to the amount of damages which shall not exceed [twenty-five ($25,000) thousand dollars] the maximum limitation prescribed by 42 Pa.C.S. § 7361(b)(2). The election to assess damages by arbitration shall constitute a waiver by the party making such election of any damages in excess of [$25,000] the maximum limitation prescribed by 42 Pa.C.S. § 7361(b)(2).

(2) Arbitration by Stipulation.

 By agreement signed by the parties or their counsel, the parties may agree to submit a case to arbitration. Such agreement shall define the issues and contain such stipulation as to facts, admissions, or waivers of defenses or proofs as are agreed upon.

(3) Exceptions.

 These rules shall not apply to the following actions:

 (a) Ejectment

 (b) Quiet Title

 (c) Replevin—except by Order of Court

 (d) Mandamus

 (e) Quo Warranto

 (f) Mortgage Foreclosure

 (g) Actions requiring Equitable or Declaratory Relief

(4) Compensation of Board.

 (a) Each member of a Board of Arbitration shall receive as compensation a fee in an amount as set by the Court from time to time by special order. Where hearings exceed 1/2 day, the arbitrators may petition the Court for additional compensation, which may be granted for cause shown.

 (b) In the event that a case shall be settled or withdrawn or otherwise terminated by or between the parties before the board members have attended any hearing, the attorney for plaintiff(s) in such case shall file a praecipe with the Prothonotary, requesting that the board so appointed be vacated. A copy of the praecipe shall be given to the Court Administrator.

(5) Procedure for Payment.

 Where the arbitrators are entitled to a fee, the Prothonotary shall certify to the County Commissioner and to the County Treasurer the names of the members of the Board and an Order for payment. The County Commissioners and Treasurer shall pay the applicable fee to each member of the Board. Such fees shall not be taxed as costs.

Rule 1302. List of Arbitrators. Appointment to Board. Oath.

(1) Eligibility to Serve as Arbitrators.

 Only persons actively engaged in the practice of law in Crawford County shall be eligible to serve as arbitrators. For purposes of this rule, persons ''actively engaged in the practice of law'' are persons who regularly maintain a law office in Crawford County for the practice of law. That shall include part-time assistant public defenders and part-time assistant district attorneys. Excluded are the chief public defender, the district attorney, and full time assistant public defenders and full-time assistant district attorneys. Only persons admitted to the practice of law for at least five (5) years are eligible to serve as chair of the Board[, or as sole arbitrator].

(2) List of Arbitrators.

 The Court Administrator shall, on or before January 1 of each year, compile a list of persons eligible to serve as arbitrators and a list of persons eligible to serve as chair of Boards of Arbitrator[, or as sole arbitrator].

(3) Selection of Board.

 A party wishing to have an arbitration hearing shall file a Praecipe for Arbitration with the Prothonotary and simultaneously serve a copy on the Court Administrator. A Praecipe for Arbitration shall contain a certificate of service indicating service upon all other parties and the date of service.

[(a) Selection Method.]

 The Court Administrator shall select the first three (3) available attorneys in alphabetical order from the list maintained by the Court Administrator. The first member named who is eligible to be chair shall be chair of the board[; or

(b) Sole Arbitrator.

A sole arbitrator may be selected to adjudicate the case by agreement of all parties. The award shall have the same effect as that of a three (3) person panel. The Court Administrator shall select the sole arbitrator.]

(4) Notification of Appointment and Objections.

 The Prothonotary shall file the appointment of the Board of Arbitrators and shall deliver a copy thereof to the chair and to each party or their counsel of record. Attorneys must sign their qualifications within five (5) business days after their appointment. The Prothonotary shall approach the President Judge if attorneys have not signed their qualification within said period of time. Any party may object to the composition of the Board of Arbitration at this point only for good cause shown. The filing of such objections shall operate as a stay of proceedings. The party filing such objections shall serve a copy thereof upon all other parties or their counsel and shall give notice of intention to present the objections to Motions Court. Failure to file such objections within five (5) days of delivery of notice of the appointment shall operate as a waiver thereof.

(5) Companion Cases.

 The Court Administrator shall appoint the same Board to serve as arbitrator sin any companion case.

(6) Vacancies on Board—Prior to Hearing.

 An attorney appointed to the Board of Arbitrators who desires to be excused must file a motion with the Prothonotary, with a copy to the Court Administrator, at least ten (10) days prior to the date of the arbitration hearing and must set forth adequate reasons in support of said motion. Upon approval of the motion by the Court, the Court Administrator shall make an appointment to fill that vacancy. Should a member of the Board fall to attend the hearing, a member of the Board shall notify the Court Administrator who shall immediately vacate that appointment and make an appointment to fill that vacancy.

(7) Post-Hearing Vacancies.

 Should a vacancy on the Board of Arbitration occur after hearing but before an award is signed by all arbitrators, or should a member of the board fall or refuse to perform his/her duties, the award shall be signed and filed by the remaining members of the Board. If they are unable to agree, they shall notify the Court Administrator who shall appoint a third member. Thereafter, the arbitrators may in their discretion schedule a rehearing for the new Board, which shall thereafter file an award.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 20-1071. Filed for public inspection August 7, 2020, 9:00 a.m.]

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