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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 24-715




Approval and Adoption of Amendments to Local Rules of Civil Procedure; No. 2024-1

[54 Pa.B. 2758]
[Saturday, May 18, 2024]

Administrative Order

And Now, this 3rd day of May, 2024, having received approval from the appropriate statewide rules committeein accordance with Pennsylvania Rule of Judicial Administration 103(d)(4), it is hereby Ordered, Adjudged, and Decreed that the amendments to the following Local Rules of Civil Procedure:

 1. Rule L-205.2(a);

 2. Rule L-205.2(b);

 3. Rule L-208;

 4. Rule L-210;

 5. Rule L-212.7;

 6. Rule L-212.8;

 7. Rule L-227.1;

 8. Rule L-240;

 9. Rule L-440;

 10. Rule L-1028(c);

 11. Rule L-1034;

 12. Rule L-1035.2(a),

 13. Rule L-1041.1;

 14. Rule L-1303.1;

 15. Rule L-1308; and

 16. Rule L-5000.1,

as set forth following this Order, are Approved and Adopted.

 The amendments of the above-identified local rule of civil procedure shall be effective June 20, 2024, and following publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin pursuant to Pa.R.J.A. 103(c)(5). The District Court Administrator is directed to:

 1. File copies of this Administrative Order and the adopted local rules with the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin;

 2. File one (1) electronic copy of this Administrative Order and the adopted local rules with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts;

 3. Arrange for the publication of the local rules on the website for the Twenty-seventh Judicial District,, within thirty (30) days of the effective date; and

 4. Cause a copy hereof to be published in the Washington County Reports once a week for two (2) successive weeks at the expense of the County of Washington.

By the Court

President Judge

Rule L-205.2(a). Pleadings and Legal Papers. Physical Characteristics. Proposed Order.

 (1) All pleadings and legal papers filed with the Prothonotary shall be on white, letter-sized (8.5 inch by 11 inch) paper of good quality, and otherwise conform to the requirements of Pa.R.C.P. 204.1.

 (a) Footnotes shall be single-spaced and in 10-point font.

 (b) Every paper filed shall be fastened only at the top left corner of the pages with one staple, or, if the document is too thick, a metal fastener. Cloth tape and ''bluebacks'' shall not be used.

 (2) All attachments, supporting documents, and exhibits shall be on letter-sized (8.5 inch by 11 inch) paper at the time of filing with the Prothonotary. Documents that are sized differently in original form shall be re-sized and reproduced to comply with this rule.

 (3) Proposed Order. Every motion, petition, or preliminary objection shall include a proposed order of court which shall be attached before the certificate of service. If a legal paper is filed electronically, there shall be a separately filed proposed order of court in a Microsoft Word format in accordance with Wash.L.R.C.P. 205.4(b)(2).

Rule L-205.2(b). Caption Sheet.

 (1) The first page of any pleading, petition, motion or other legal paper shall be a cover sheet setting forth the items of information specified below, according to the format presented in Form of Caption Sheet below. If needed, a second page may be attached and numbered ''Caption Sheet 2'' at the bottom of the page.

 (a) The lettering shall be in a font of no smaller than twelve-point size or an equivalent and shall substantially follow the format in Form of Caption Sheet below.

 (b) The Caption Sheet on the document commencing the action (e.g., praecipe or complaint), shall have a margin at the top of three (3) inches for the stamp of the Prothonotary.

 (2) The information required includes:

 (a) (In capital letters from the left to right margins)


 (b) (In capital letters on left side of center) The complete names of all parties; if the party filing the attached pleading has made a previous filing, an appropriate and obvious shortened caption may be used.

 (c) (In appropriate upper and lower case, except where otherwise indicated, on the right side of center on separate lines):

 i. the specific DIVISION, e.g., CIVIL or DOMESTIC RELATIONS;

 ii. the docket number;

 iii. the name of the assigned judge, if applicable;

 iv. the name of the pleading, in bold face and all capital letters;

 v. if the action is filed as a class action, then ''CLASS ACTION'' shall be set forth following the title of the document;

 vi. if the action involves real estate, then the address, municipality, ward if applicable, and a tax identification number shall be set forth;

 vii. the completed statement: ''Filed on behalf of (party's name, party's relationship to case)'';

 viii. the completed statement: ''Counsel of Record: (attorney's name and Pennsylvania Identification Number, firm name, firm number, address, and telephone number)'';

 ix. the electronic mail address for service of the filing party; and

 x. every motion, petition, or pleading must include a ''Certificate of Service'' which sets forth the manner of service upon each party including the name of an attorney of record for each party that is represented and the address at which service was made. The ''Certificate of Service'' shall be substantially in the following form:


 The undersigned hereby certifies that a true and correct copy of the foregoing [Title of Document] has been served upon all other parties at the address(es) listed below via [manner of service], this ____ day of ______ , 20__ .

[Name and address of counsel]

 (3) Form of Caption Sheet.

 The Caption Sheet shall be formatted substantially in the following form:


vsDocket No. ______
JUDGE ______
CLASS ACTION (if applicable)
Real Estate Involved (if applicable):
(Address, municipality, ward if applicable; a
tax identification number is required in all
cases involving real estate.)
Filed on behalf of Plaintiff, JOHN DOE
Counsel of Record for this Party:
Henry Smith, Esquire
Pennsylvania I.D. #12345
Eeny, Meeny, Miny & Mo
Firm I.D #6789
123 South Main Street, Suite 100
Washington, PA 15301-0000
724-987-6543 (fax)

Rule L-208.4. Court Order.

 In all cases in which the Court enters an order after initial consideration of a petition or motion, the Court may:

 (1) file and docket the order directly into the case management system and require the Prothonotary to perform service; or

 (2) require counsel, or the moving party if unrepresented, to retrieve and file the order immediately with the Prothonotary. Upon receipt of the order, the moving party shall serve a copy on all other parties within three (3) business days.

Rule L-210. Briefs.

 (1) Absent a court order for cause shown, the body of a brief shall not exceed 3,000 words. Non-conforming or illegible briefs may not be considered in the discretion of the Court. All briefs shall use a proportionally spaced typeface in fourteen (14) point font; the proportionally spaced typeface must include serifs, but sans-serif type may be used in headings and captions. All other physical characteristics of a brief shall comply with Wash.L.R.C.P. 204.1.

 (2) Every brief shall contain the following:

 (a) a brief history of the case;

 (b) a statement of the issue(s) involved;

 (c) a copy of, or reference to, the pertinent parts of any relevant document, report, recommendation, order, and/or transcript;

 (d) an argument with citations of the authority relied upon;

 (e) a citation or copy to any opinion of the Court or an agency involved in the case; and

 (f) a conclusion.

 (3) No supplemental brief(s) shall be filed, absent an order of court.

 (4) Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the brief of a moving party shall be filed contemporaneously with the motion. The brief of the responsive party shall be filed at least ten (10) days prior to the argument.

 (5) This rule shall not apply to any brief filed in support of, or in opposition to, a motion for post-trial relief pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 227.1.

Rule L-212.7. Washington County Civil Litigation Mediation Program.

 (1) In the discretion of the assigned Judge, a case may be ordered to the Washington County Civil Litigation Mediation Program. This rule shall not apply to asbestos cases, cases ordered to private mediation under this rule, or professional liability cases. The selection of a case for mediation shall not delay any scheduled trial of the matter.

 (2) The mediators shall be practicing attorneys that are members of the Washington County Bar Association, with an emphasis in their practice on civil litigation. An approved list of mediators shall be maintained by the District Court Administrator. The parties may agree to a particular mediator from the list if permitted by the Court.

 (3) Upon appointment, the mediator shall schedule the mediation within sixty (60) days of the order of court. The attendance, in person, of trial counsel, the parties, and the representative of the defendant's insurance carrier, with authority to enter into a full and complete compromise and settlement, is mandatory. If trial counsel, the parties, or a representative fail to appear, absent good cause, the mediation will not be held and sanctions, upon request of the mediator, shall be entered against the non-appearing individual(s) by the Court. Sanctions may include an award of reasonable mediator and attorney's fees and other costs associated with the failure to appear.

 (4) At least seven (7) days prior to the mediation, each party shall file, with the mediator, a mediation statement which must include the following: (1) a succinct explanation of liability and damages; (2) significant legal issues that remain unresolved; (3) a summary of medical and expert reports (if applicable); (4) an itemized list of damages; and (5) settlement posture and rationale.

 (a) This requirement shall be deemed satisfied if a party has previously filed a pre-trial statement pursuant to rule of court, in which case the mediation statement shall only provide updated or additional information.

 (b) Failure to file a mediation statement may result in sanctions, if requested by the mediator.

 (5) Each party to a case selected for mediation shall pay a mediation fee to be made payable to the County of Washington and submitted to the Office of the Court Administrator. The mediation fee shall be set by administrative order, and information regarding the fee shall be available in the Office of the Court Administrator.

 (6) If the case has not been resolved, within ten (10) days from the date of the mediation, the mediator shall send the Court a report setting forth the following information:

 (a) the mediator's assessment of liability;

 (b) the mediator's assessment of damages;

 (c) the mediator's opinion regarding the potential range of a verdict and the settlement value of the case;

 (d) the Plaintiff's final settlement demand;

 (e) the Defendant's final settlement offer; and

 (f) the mediator's recommendation regarding settlement of the case. A copy of the report shall be provided to and maintained by the Court Administrator until the case is closed.

 (7) If the case is resolved and a settlement agreed upon, the mediator shall send a letter to the Judge, with copies to counsel and the Court Administrator.

 (8) The mediator shall not be subpoenaed or requested to testify or produce documents by any party in any pending or subsequent litigation arising out of the same or similar matter. Any party, person, or entity that attempts to compel such testimony or production shall be liable to and indemnify the mediator and other protected participants for all reasonable costs, fees and expenses. The mediator shall have the same limited immunity as judges pursuant to the applicable law as it relates to common pleas judges.

Comment: Confidentiality of mediation communications and mediation documents are subject to the protections and exceptions prescribed in 42 Pa.Con.Stat. § 5949.

 (9) Notwithstanding the preceding subsections and Wash.L.R.C.P. 1042.1—1042.20, the Court may in its discretion submit a civil case for an alternative dispute resolution (''ADR'') before a private mediator/arbitrator. The method of selection of the private mediator shall be in the discretion of the Court. All parties shall bear equally the costs of any Court-ordered ADR, unless otherwise agreed upon; provided, however, that the Court will take appropriate steps to assure that no referral to ADR results in an unfair or unreasonable economic burden on any party.

 (a) The method of ADR shall be in the discretion of the private mediator/arbitrator.

 (b) The fact that a case is selected for ADR shall not delay the scheduled trial of a case.

 (c) Nothing in this rule shall prevent the parties from voluntarily engaging in ADR before a private mediator/arbitrator on their own initiative.

Note: When selecting a case for ADR before a private mediator, the Court shall consider various criteria, including the nature of the claims involved and their complexity, whether any of the litigants is pro se, the potential for a successful resolution, and the interests of justice.

Rule L-212.8. Mini-Jury Trials.

 (1) Purposes. The purpose of mini-jury trials is to establish a less formal procedure for the resolution of civil actions for money damages while preserving the right to a jury trial de novo. As a part of the Court's pre-trial procedure, the Court may refer cases for a mini-jury trial upon motion of a party or sua sponte.

 (2) Preliminary considerations. The following shall be considered, but shall not be controlling, in determining if civil cases are amenable for a mini-jury trial.

 (a) Time necessary for regular trial. The Court will determine if the regular trial time would be three (3) days or more.

 (b) Consent of attorneys. While the Court will attempt to obtain the consent of the attorneys to a mini-jury trial, the Court shall have the authority to direct a mini-jury trial as an extension of the settlement conference.

 (c) Existing offer and demand. The Court will attempt to obtain the agreement of counsel to keep any current offer or demand open for forty-eight hours after the mini-jury trial verdict.

 (d) Credibility. The Court will determine if the major issues will be resolved on the basis of credibility.

 (e) Appeals from arbitration. Cases appealed from arbitration will be presumptive candidates for mini-jury trials.

 (3) The following procedures shall apply to all mini-jury trials:

 (a) Attendance of parties. Individual parties shall attend the mini-jury trial in person. An officer or other responsible lay representative of a corporate party or a claims adjuster for an insurance carrier shall attend the mini-jury trial.

 (b) Non-binding effect. Mini-jury trials are for settlement purposes only and are non-binding. Nothing done by counsel with reference to the mini-jury trial shall be binding on counsel, the parties, nor shall anything constitute a waiver, unless specifically stipulated to or agreed upon by the parties.

 (c) Special verdict questions. Cases will be submitted to the jurors by way of special verdict questions. Counsel shall submit to the Special Master, forty-eight (48) hours prior to the selection of the jury, a joint statement or proposed special verdict questions, for use at trial. If counsel cannot agree on a joint statement, the Special Master will select the special verdict questions to be used. Special verdict questions for the mini-jury trial need not be the same as those for a regular jury trial. The jury will determine the amount of damages in all cases, regardless of whether a defendant is found to be liable or not liable. The Special Master will determine the format to be used and make rulings on disputed questions.

 (d) Size of Jury. The number of jurors shall be six (6) and the agreement of five-sixths of the jury shall be necessary to reach a verdict. There shall be no preemptory challenges to jurors, but jurors may be excused for cause.

 (e) Presentation of the case by counsel. Each side shall be entitled to one hour for presentation of its case unless counsel presents a compelling reason at a pre-trial conference why more time for each side should be allocated. Presentation of the case by counsel may involve a combination of argument, summarization of evidence to be presented at the regular trial, and a statement of the applicable law but only to the extent it is needed to be known by the jury in answering the special verdict questions. Counsel may call witnesses, but cross-examination shall only be done as part of a party's presentation of its case. Counsel may quote from depositions and/or reports to the extent that such evidence can reasonably be anticipated to be admissible at the time of trial. Counsel should not refer to evidence which would not be admissible at trial. The Plaintiff shall proceed first and shall have a five (5) minute rebuttal following the presentation of the defendant's case.

 (f) Applicable law. The Special Master will charge the jury on the applicable law to the extent it is appropriate and needed to be known by the jury in answering the special verdict questions. The points for charge shall be submitted jointly by the parties to the Special Master forty-eight (48) hours prior to the selection of the mini-jury. The Special Master shall decide on any disputes on a point for charge.

 (g) Jury verdict. The jury will be asked to return a verdict if five-sixth of them agree to it. (The same five-sixth majority need not answer each special verdict question.)

 (h) Length of Deliberations. If the jury does not reach a five-sixth majority verdict within a reasonable time, the Special Master will consider polling the jurors individually.

 (i) Oral Questions to Mini-Jury. After the verdict, counsel may address questions in open court to the foreperson of the jury. Only questions that can be answered ''yes'' or ''no'' or by a dollar figure may be asked. The attorneys shall be limited to ten questions each unless a greater number is allowed by the Special Master. No questions shall be asked such that the answers will disclose the personal view of any particular member of the jury.

 (j) Scheduling Regular Trial. Should the mini-jury trial not result in a settlement, the regular trial shall not be held the same calendar week unless the jury is dismissed and will not come into contact with the balance of the venire.

 (k) Release of verdict. The mini-jury trial is an extension of the settlement conference, and the verdict shall not be filed or otherwise made public.

 (4) Selection of Special Masters. The Court Administrator shall maintain a roster of approved Special Masters, who shall be attorneys admitted to practice for not less than ten (10) years. The parties may agree upon a Special Master who is not on the roster maintained by the Court Administrator, provided that the name of such person is submitted to, and approved by, the President Judge or the judge to whom the case is assigned.

 (5) Each party to a case selected for mini-jury trial shall pay a fee made payable to the County of Washington and submitted to the Office of the Court Administrator for processing. The mini-jury trial fee shall be set by administrative order, and information regarding the fee shall be available in the Office of the Court Administrator. The special master shall be compensated at a commensurable rate to their service, as established by the Court Administrator and approved by the Court.

 (a) Application Process. Any lawyer possessing the qualifications may submit a written request to serve as a Special Master to the Court Administrator. The President Judge shall certify as many Special Masters as determined to be necessary for the program.

 (b) Withdrawal by Special Master. Any person whose name appears on the roster maintained by the Court Administrator may ask to have his/her name removed or, if selected to serve, decline to serve but remain on the roster.

 (c) Disqualification. Persons selected to be Special Masters shall be disqualified for bias or prejudice and shall disqualify themselves in any action in which they would be required to disqualify themselves if they were a judge.

 (6) Sanctions. If a party, or their counsel, fails to comply with this rule, the Special Master may continue the mini-jury trial to another date as selected by the Court Administrator. If the mini-jury trial is continued, the Court may enter sanctions against the offending party or counsel, including the imposition of counsel fees, juror costs, and any other appropriate relief.

Rule L-227.1. Motion for Post-Trial Relief.

 (1) Any post-trial motions shall be filed with the Prothonotary in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. 227.1, together with a transcript request form designating that portion of the record to be transcribed.

 (2) All post-trial motions must specify the grounds relied upon as provided by Pa.R.C.P. 227.1(b)(2).

 (3) Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, a brief in support of post-trial motions shall be filed within thirty (30) days following receipt of the transcript or, if no request for transcript has been made by either party, within thirty (30) days of the date of the filing of the post-trial motion.

 (4) Unless otherwise provided by the Court, briefs in opposition to post-trial motions shall be filed within twenty (20) days from the date of the filing of the brief of the moving party.

 (5) A certificate of service shall accompany all briefs filed hereunder.

Rule L-240. In Forma Pauperis.

 (1) A party seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis shall apply to the Court for such status. The application shall include as an attachment the affidavit of the party demonstrating an inability to pay the costs of litigation.

Note: The affidavit form is set forth in Pa.R.C.P. 240; application forms are available in the County Law Library. Presentation of the application to the Court must comply with the requirements of Local Rule 208.3(a).

 (2) Legal counsel employed by or affiliated with Summit Legal Aid are authorized to file a praecipe for in forma pauperis status on behalf of their client.

 (3) The Prothonotary shall accept for filing by a party a praecipe as provided by Pa.R.C.P. 240(d), or an application under this rule, without charge to the party.

 (a) Except as provided in Wash.L.R.C.P. 1915.37, upon withdrawal of an attorney who has filed a praecipe on behalf of a client pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 240(d), the party must file a petition to for leave to proceed in forma pauperis to continue to have the costs of litigation waived as set forth in Pa.R.C.P. 240(f).

 (4) If there is an improvement in the financial circumstances of a party which will enable the party to pay costs, the party must immediately file a praecipe to decertify in forma pauperis status. The Prothonotary shall not be permitted to retroactively charge previously waived costs to a party because of a change in economic status or if a party is no longer receiving free legal service from an attorney.

Rule L-440. Service of Copies of Legal Papers.

 (1) Copies of all legal papers other than original process that are filed in an action may be served upon an attorney for a party by:

 (a) the procedures for electronic service set forth in Pa.R.C.P. 205.4 and Wash.L.R.C.P. 205.4; or

 (b) facsimile transmission if the requirements of Pa.R.C.P. 440(d)(1)—(3) are satisfied.

 (2) It is the responsibility of the attorney, or a party if unrepresented, to maintain valid physical and electronic mail addresses with the Prothonotary and the C-Track E-Filing portal.

Rule L-1028(c). Procedures for Disposition of Preliminary Objections.

 (1) All preliminary objections shall be filed with the Prothonotary.

 (2) The issues raised in all preliminary objections shall be disposed of at regular sessions of Argument Court, which shall be scheduled as part of the annual court calendar, and shall follow the procedures set forth below.

Comment: See Wash.L.R.C.P. 302, entitled ''Argument Court. Argument List.''

 (3) The Court Administrator shall maintain the Argument Court list.

 (4) The schedule for briefs shall be in accordance with these local rules, unless otherwise ordered by the Court.

 (5) The argument list shall be closed thirty (30) days prior to the date for argument. The list shall then be prepared by the Court Administrator and the cases shall be set out in order of their listing. Upon the closing of the argument list, the Prothonotary shall furnish notification to all attorneys and unrepresented parties who have cases listed for argument of the listing by regular mail.

 (6) Briefs shall be filed of record and conform to the requirements of Wash.L.R.C.P. 210.

 (7) Issues raised, but not briefed, shall be deemed abandoned.

 (8) References in any brief to parts of the record appearing in a reproduced record shall be to the pages and the lines in the reproduced record where said parts appear; e.g., ''(R. pg. 30 L. 15).'' If references are made in the briefs to parts of the original record not reproduced, the references shall be to the parts of the record involved, e.g., (''Answer p. 7),'' ''(Motion for Summary Judgment p. 2).''

 (9) Counsel or any party presenting oral argument shall be limited to fifteen (15) minutes total, unless prior permission is granted to extend argument for cause shown.

 (10) The Court may decide a case on briefs only sua sponte, or upon motion of a party.

 (11) All agreements for continuances and/or withdrawals shall be communicated to the Court Administrator no less than seven (7) days prior to Argument Court. The Court shall continue an argument only upon good cause shown.

Rule L-1034(a). Procedures for Disposition of a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.

 All motions for judgment on the pleadings shall be filed with the Prothonotary. The procedures for the disposition of a motion for judgment on the pleadings shall be identical to those described in Wash.L.R.C.P. 1028(c).

Rule L-1035.2(a). Procedures for Disposition of a Motion for Summary Judgment.

 All motions for summary judgment shall be filed with the Prothonotary. The procedures for the disposition of a motion for summary judgment shall be identical to those described in Wash.L.R.C.P. 1028(c).

Rule L-1041.1. Asbestos Litigation.

 (1) Upon filing of a case in asbestos the case shall be assigned to a judge, who shall preside over all proceedings relating to the case.

 (2) All pleadings and proposed orders shall include a caption substantively as follows:


John Doe,
   No. ______
Big Corporation, Inc.

 (3) In all asbestos cases, the course of litigation shall be governed by the terms set forth in a case management order (''CMO'').

 a. Any party may present a CMO to the Court for approval within sixty (60) days of the filing of the complaint. The proposed CMO shall set forth the actual dates in which each stage of the litigation must be completed.

 (4) In the absence of a CMO approved by the Court within sixty (60) days from the filing of the complaint, the Court shall enter the following CMO:


John Doe,
   No. ______
Big Corporation, Inc.


 AND NOW, this ____ day of ______ , 20 __ , it is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED that:

 1. This Case Management Order (''CMO'') shall govern the litigation in the above-captioned matter.

 2. Within sixty (60) days of the commencement of the action, defendants shall select an attorney from one of their number to act as lead defense counsel. Lead defense counsel shall promptly file a notice of his or her selection with the Prothonotary. In the event that lead defense counsel ceases to act in that capacity, the defendants shall select a replacement within thirty (30) days. Replacement lead counsel shall promptly file a notice of his or her selection with the Prothonotary.

 3. Plaintiff's Answers to Standard Short Form Interrogatories shall be served on all defense counsel within six (6) months of the date of the filing of the complaint.

 4. The parties shall disclose all known fact witnesses within eight (8) months of the date of the filing of the complaint.

 5. Discovery shall be completed within fourteen (14) months of the date of the filing of the complaint.

 6. All Motions for Summary Judgment shall be filed within sixteen (16) months of the filing of the complaint.

 7. Responses to the Motions for Summary Judgment shall be filed within seventeen (17) months of the filing of the complaint.

 8. After the responses to the Motions for Summary Judgment have been filed, any party may present a motion for argument date. Arguments for all Motions for Summary Judgment shall be heard on the same day.

 9. Plaintiff shall file a pre-trial statement within twenty-one (21) months of the date of the filing of the complaint.

 10. Defendant(s) shall file a pre-trial statement within thirty (30) days of the filing of Plaintiff's pre-trial statement.

 11. The pre-trial statements shall contain a narrative statement, a list of any expert witnesses intended to be called at trial, all expert reports, and an assessment of damages. The pre-trial statement shall also include any presently known motions in limine and any legal research, memorandum, or brief in support thereof. Failure to file a motion in limine shall bar a future filing, unless said motion could not be anticipated prior to the filing of the pre-trial statement.

 12. Upon the filing of pre-trial statements by all active parties, the Court Administrator shall place the case on the trial list of the assigned judge.

 13. This CMO may be modified by agreement of all parties, subject to Court approval, or upon motion of any party for good cause shown.

______ , J.

 (5) It is the responsibility of the moving party to file all original Orders with the Prothonotary. Further, the moving party shall serve copies of all Orders upon all counsel of record and any pro se litigant. If the Court serves copies of any Order, such service shall be made to counsel for the plaintiff and lead counsel for the defendants, who shall be responsible for providing service upon all counsel of record and any pro se litigant.

Rule L-1303.1. Scheduling of Arbitration Hearing. Discovery Time Limits.

 (1) A matter subject to compulsory arbitration shall be scheduled for a hearing as set forth below.

 (a) An appeal of a decision of a magisterial district judge pursuant to Pa.R.M.D.J. 1002 shall be scheduled for arbitration within one hundred twenty (120) days of the filing of the appeal in the Court of Common Pleas.

 (b) All other matters subject to compulsory arbitration shall be scheduled at the direction of the Court Administrator.

 (c) The parties may seek to schedule an arbitration hearing earlier than the limits listed above in subsection (b) upon the filing of a joint praecipe with the Prothonotary.

 i. There shall be no discovery permitted after the filing of a joint praecipe.

 (2) Discovery in all matters subject to compulsory arbitration other than appeals pursuant to Pa.M.D.J. 1002 shall be limited to one hundred fifty (150) days from the commencement of the action, unless otherwise ordered by the Court for good cause shown. In no case shall discovery be permitted to exceed two hundred forty (240) days.

 (3) If a party fails to appear for a scheduled arbitration hearing, the Court may act as follows:

 (a) immediately hear the matter as an ex parte, non-jury trial and enter a verdict; or

 (b) order the matter to proceed to arbitration for a hearing and the entry of an award by the arbitration panel.

 (4) A non-jury verdict entered by the Court shall not exceed $50,000.00 to any party, exclusive of costs and interest.

Comment: When the Court ''hears the matter,'' it accelerates the time for conducting a de novo trial. However, the proceeding is still a ''trial'' and the rules otherwise applicable to a trial in the Court of Common Pleas are not suspended. Therefore, counsel, or a party if unrepresented, should be prepared to present testimony and introduce evidence at the trial, and the Court should make findings of fact and conclusions of law. See Hayes v. Donohue Designer Kitchen, Inc., 818 A.2d 1287 (Pa.Super.Ct. 2003).

Rule L-1308. Appeals from Arbitration.

 All appeals from arbitration must be timely filed with the Prothonotary accompanied by payment in the amount of $500.00 or 50% of the amount in controversy, whichever is less.

Rule L-5000.1. Real Estate Tax Assessment Appeal.

 (1) Real Estate Tax Assessment Appeal from a decision of the Board as to the amount of the assessment for real estate tax purposes, or as to exemption of real estate from payment of real estate taxes, shall be captioned ''Petition for Real Estate Tax Assessment Appeal'' or ''Petition for Real Estate Tax Exemption Appeal'' and filed with the Prothonotary within the time prescribed by statute.

 (2) The appeal shall contain the following:

 (a) Caption designating the named party taking the appeal as Appellant, the Board as Appellee, and if Appellant is a taxing authority it shall join the owner of the real estate involved as a matter of course as a party in the assessment appeal by designating such named owner in the caption as an Appellee. All taxing authorities shall be named as parties in the appeal. The tax parcel identification number for the real estate in question shall appear in the caption.

 (b) Identification of the subject real estate, including the street address and tax parcel identification number, and a designation of the municipality and school district wherein the real estate is located. A copy of the property card from the tax records shall be attached as an exhibit to the petition.

 (c) Name and address of the taxpayer(s), and any other party to the appeal.

 (d) Nature of and reasons for the appeal.

 (e) Reference to the decision of Washington County Board of Assessment Appeals (Board) from which the appeal is taken. The date of notification shall be provided. A copy of the Board's notice of decision shall be attached as an exhibit to the petition.

 (f) Reason(s) for the appeal. The petition shall identify whether the challenge is based on fair market value, base year value, or a constitutional challenge based on uniformity.

 (g) A verification in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. 206.3, if the petition contains an allegation of fact which does not appear of record.

 (3) Within ten (10) days after filing the appeal, appellant shall serve a copy of the appeal on the Board, on all affected taxing authorities at their business addresses, and any other party, in the manner prescribed by Pa.R.C.P. 440. The property owner shall be served notice at the registered address designated on the tax records of Washington County.

 (4) Within twenty (20) days of service of the appeal, the appellant shall file a verified proof of service of the petition.

 (5) There shall be no requirement that the appellee, or any other party, file an answer or responsive pleading to the petition.

 (6) All appeals shall be subject to Pa.R.C.P. 1012, 1023.1, and 1025.

 (7) Cross-appeals shall not be permitted, and, if a cross-appeal is filed, the Court shall dismiss the cross-appeal, and proceed at the earlier filed appeal.

 (8) No appeal may be withdrawn without the consent of all other parties, or leave of court.

Note: The Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure do not apply to real estate tax assessment appeals, unless specifically adopted by local rule or order of court. In re Mackey, 687 A.2d 1186 (Pa.Commw.Ct. 1997).

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 24-715. Filed for public inspection May 17, 2024, 9:00 a.m.]

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