Title 255--LOCAL COURT RULES
Local Rules of Court; Administrative Order No. 17 of 1998
[28 Pa.B. 3024]
And Now, this 18th day of June, 1998, local rules of this court are repealed and replaced in their entirety by rules following to this order. This order and following rules shall become effective thirty days after publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The following rules shall continuously be available for inspection in the offices of Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts of this court. Copies may be purchased at the Prothonotary's Office for $10.00. If the Prothonotary mails the copy, the cost will be $13.00. Certified copies in the numbers listed, together with a 3.5 computer disk shall be provided as follows:
1. Seven to the Administrative Office, Pennsylvania Courts. In addition, a 3.5 computer disc with rules therein shall be provided that office.
2. Two to the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
3. One each to Civil Procedural Rules Committee, Domestic Relations Committee and Criminal Rules Committee. Complete sets of rules are provided those committees because of the interplay between civil, criminal and domestic relations rules.
By the Court
OSCAR F. SPICER,
RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE
ADAMS COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
CHAPTER ONE. BUSINESS OF COURTS
Rule 1.1. Applicability.
The rules adopted under this chapter shall apply to all offices in the Adams County Court system unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. Offices in the Court system shall include the offices of the District Justices, the Clerk of Courts, Orphans' Court Division, Criminal and Miscellaneous Sections, and the Prothonotary. In some instances, these rules will also apply to the Sheriff, Register of Wills and Recorder of Deeds.
Local rules are intended to supplement state rules and shall be read in context with those rules.
Local rules may be cited: Adams C. Civ. R. (number); Adams C. Crim. R. (number); Adams C. O.C. R. (number); Adams C. Juv. R. (number).
They also may be cited as Local (Civ., Crim., O.C., Juv.) Rule (number).
Rule 1.2. Court Calendar.
The Court shall promulgate a court calendar annually. The Prothonotary and Clerk shall prepare a list, and provide each judge with a copy thereof, of cases scheduled for hearing, trial, argument or other action at least five days prior to a specified calendar day. Other than summary appeals, the hearing list shall reflect matters listed for hearing at least ten (10) days prior to the hearing date. The list may be supplemented by order or with approval of a judge.
Rule 2. Papers Filed.
For purposes of this rule, papers include pleadings, motions, petitions and orders. Nothing in this rule shall be construed contrary to Pa.R.C.P. 205.2.
(a) Papers filed in the Court system should be eight and one half (8 1/2) inches by eleven (11) inches in size.
(b) Papers should be written in ink, printed, typewritten, photocopied, mimeographed or otherwise mechanically reproduced. The caption should include the name and division of the Court, identifying case number, the names of the parties, and the title of the proceeding.
(c) Papers requiring an order shall have a proposed order attached and be first filed in either the Office of the Clerk of Courts or the Office of the Prothonotary. Normally, papers should then be presented to the Court Administrator for proper routing. They may also be presented to the appropriate judge in chambers, or filed in open court.
Comment: The normal practice, especially when a party seeks to have a hearing scheduled or other relief, such as an order of continuance, or securing the appointment of a board or master, should be to file the paper in the appropriate office, then hand carry it and the proposed order to the Court Administrator
Rule 3. Bulletin Board.
Both the Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts shall maintain in public view a bulletin board for the purpose of posting required notices.
Rule 4. Records.
The Prothonotary, Clerk of Court, Recorder of Deeds and Register of Wills shall be responsible for the safekeeping of records in their respective offices. No person other than an office employee, judge, attorney admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, or persons designated by a judge or attorney may have unsupervised access to records. Attorneys may authorize not more than two employees per law office to have unsupervised access. The designation must be written and filed in the appropriate office. Attorneys and designated employees must sign an acknowledgement that they understand this rule and will do nothing to damage or compromise the integrity of records.
Officers may authorize temporary removal of records for purposes of examination and study. Only persons qualifying for unsupervised access shall be accorded this privilege. Officers shall require receipts and must be informed precisely where the records may be located. Any person temporarily removing the records shall authorize the Officer to seize and regain possession of the records, without process or notice, wherever they may be held. Other than in cases involving masters, auditors or other court appointed persons, records may not be removed longer than fifteen (15) days. Failure to return any paper within fifteen (15) days may immediately result in the cancellation of the privilege of unsupervised access for the entire law office concerned, until such time as the Officer restores the privilege.
Rule 5. Corrections of Public Records.
Neither the Prothonotary, the Register of Wills, the Clerk of Courts, the Recorder of Deeds, nor the Sheriff shall erase any matter erroneously entered in any official or public record, such as an entry book, docket, mortgage or deed, or will book. Any erroneous entry shall be struck therefrom in red ink in such manner as to leave the stricken matter legible, and the correct entry inserted. Upon the making of any such correction the Officer making the same shall note the date of such making. In the event that any such Officer shall inadvertently omit to make an entry and subsequently another entry shall be made, the omitted entry may be placed upon the record but it shall not be inserted between two other entries unless the Officer shall note on the record that it was so made, together with the date thereof.
Rule 6. Photographs and Broadcasting (Pa.R. Crim.P. 27 and 328).
No pictures or photographs shall be taken immediately preceding or during sessions of this Court or recesses between sessions, in any of the courtrooms or at any place in the Courthouse within forty (40) feet of the entrance of such courtroom unless specially allowed by the President Judge.
No Court proceedings shall be broadcast or televised, nor shall any Court proceeding be mechanically or electronically recorded, except by the official court reporter unless specifically allowed by the President Judge.
No pictures or photographs of any party to a civil or criminal action, juror, or witness shall be taken in the law library or in any office or other room of the Courthouse, except with the knowledge and consent of the person or persons photographed.
Rule 7. Guardian Ad Litem.
Any interested party may move, in the cases wherein facts are of record, or may petition, in cases wherein facts are not of record, for the appointment of a guardian ad litem for any party in interest, not sui juris by reason of infancy or otherwise. The fee for the guardian ad litem shall be set by the judge to whom the case is assigned, and shall be paid in the first instance by the moving or petitioning party. Thereafter, the judge may make such order as may be appropriate, including assessing the fees as costs in the case.
Rules 8--9. Reserved.
Rule 10. Termination of Inactive Cases (Pa.R.J.A. 1901).
(a) The Clerk, the Prothonotary, and each District Justice shall annually review cases pending in his/her respective office on or before the first day in July. The Officer shall compile a list of cases in which there has been no docket activity for a period of two (2) years or more. The Officer shall, at least thirty (30) days prior to the argument and civil business court day in September, give notice to the parties and counsel either (a) in person, (b) by regular mail, addressed to the last address of record, or, (c) by publication when notice by mail cannot be given or has been returned undelivered, that at 9:00 a.m. on that date the case will be considered by the Court for dismissal. The notice shall comply with the provisions of Rules of Judicial Administration 1901 and shall contain:
(1) a brief identification of the matter;
(2) that termination is proposed for the September court date;
(3) that the party has a right to request continuation of the case on active status, and/or a hearing. Requests must be filed with the Officer giving the notice prior to the September court day;
(4) that all requests will be considered by the Court for cases in the Clerk's and Prothonotary's office, and by a District Justice for cases in those offices;
(5) that the party has the right to appear at 9:00 a.m. on the September Business Court date and request continuation on active status. If this procedure is followed, there will be no right to a hearing unless a request for same is made prior to the September court date.
(b) If no requests are made, the Court will summarily dismiss the cases at the September Business Court date. If requests are made, the Court may either schedule a hearing or continue the case on active status for period of one year.
(c) District Justices shall have the same powers and duties as the Court. Either party shall have the right to appeal to the Court from any decision as in other cases in which judgment is entered by a District Justice.
(d) Officers involved in this rule shall certify to the Court that proper notice has been given prior to 9:00 a.m. on the September court date. The certification shall list all cases scheduled for dismissal.
(e) Notice by publication shall be occur at least thirty (30) days prior to the September court date. Notice shall be published once in a newspaper of general circulation in the Adams County area and once in the Adams County Legal Journal.
Rule 11. Money Paid Into Court.
(a) Any party wishing to pay money into Court shall request leave to do so.
(b) The Prothonotary and Clerk shall open and maintain accounts for the deposit of funds paid into Court, pursuant to court order. Accounts and depositories shall be approved by the Court. Disbursements or distributions shall be made pursuant to court order. An administrative fee of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) shall be paid from the fund to the Officer for handling the funds.
Comment: Since authorities generally agree that payment into Court, and the effect of such an act, is discretionary with the Court, it is felt that the prior version of this rule is unnecessary.
Rule 12. Appeals to Court of Common Pleas.
(a) When tenants as a condition of supersedeas in appeals from judgments of possession, are required to deposit sums equal to rent installments with the Prothonotary, they shall state whether or not the Prothonotary is authorized to periodically release sums to the landlord without application by the landlord. If authority is granted, the tenant shall state the amount that may be periodically disbursed. Until authority is cancelled by the tenant, those sums may then be periodically released without order of court.
(b) All appeals from agency action suspending or revoking licenses, rights or privileges, shall have attached to it a copy of the suspension or revocation order.
Comment: Most provisions in the former rule have been rendered obsolete or inappropriate by rule and statutory changes that have occurred since adoption of the prior rule. Supersedeas is now available only if the tenant deposits the lesser of three months rent or the amount due, and makes monthly payments equal to rent.
Rule 13. Legal Journal.
The Adams County Legal Journal is designated for the publication of Court or other legal notices as required by the various statutes, laws, rules, orders, or decrees of Court in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Rule 14. Law Library.
The President Judge shall appoint a chairman and committee to operate and maintain the Adams County Law Library. Committee members shall be selected from members of the Adams County Bar Association and shall serve at the pleasure of the President Judge. The committee may deal directly with the Adams County Commissioners in budgetary matters. The Committee shall file annually a report and accounting with the court. Upon approval, the report shall be filed of record in the Prothonotary's office.
The Adams County Law Library shall be a facility open to the general public and used as a research facility by the Court, county officials, and county attorneys, in accordance with law, subject to rules promulgated by the committee and approved by the Court. Until changed, the following shall apply:
(1) The library is open to the public during the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The law library will remain closed during those times when the Courthouse is closed.
(2) The Adams County Law Library is intended primarily for a reference library. No books may be taken out by members of the general public. Limited borrowing privileges are as follows:
(A) All books must be returned within three (3) days from the date that they are signed out, in a register provided and located at the desk in the law library. Violation of this provision shall subject the violator to the following penalties:
(1) Books held beyond thirty (30) days, library privileges to be revoked and the offender to be reported to the Adams County Court.
(2) After thirty (30) days, the offender will be billed for the replacement cost of the volume or volumes held.
(B) The following books are for reference only and may not be taken out of the law library: Purdons Statutes, Pennsylvania Law Encyclopedia, United States Code Annotated, U.S. Code Service, all Slip Opinions, Court Rules, Dictionaries, Directories, Shepard Citations, Pennsylvania Code, Pennsylvania Bulletin, and all other books maintained on shelves that are marked indicating that the contents may not be removed.
(3) For all materials which are in circulation and borrowed from the library, authorized individuals shall sign the register and indicate the volume number and title, the borrower's name (judge, attorney, or county official), address or department and the date that the volume was removed. Every item taken from the library must be signed out. When the item is returned to the library, the register must be signed to indicate the date that the item was returned. The item should be reshelved when it is returned to the library.
(4) In furtherance of a desire to maintain the Adams County Law Library as a complete County Reference Law Library, the following publications are to be provided for the law library:
(A) All published slip Opinions authored by the Adams County Court shall be delivered to the Adams County Law Library which shall hereinafter act as a depository for said Opinions.
(B) All ordinances of municipalities and townships, including Zoning Ordinances, shall be made available to the Adams County Law Library.
(5) These rules shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the Adams County Law Library.
(6) The photocopier in the law library is for the convenience of all persons authorized to use the law library. Use is restricted to making reasonable numbers of copies of library material. The Committee may subject the copier's use to conditions and restrictions by posting same by or on the copier and may, revoke any person's use privileges. The copy machine should be turned off after use.
Rules 15--205. Reserved.
Rule 206. Petitions and Answers.
Petitions and rules shall be governed by Pa.R.C.P. 206.6. Pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 206.5(2), a party may seek any relief for which petition and rule procedure may be appropriate. If disputed facts can be determined by a brief hearing, the party shall request that a hearing, and not depositions, be scheduled to determine facts. The petition shall be accompanied by an order conforming to Pa.R.C.P. 206.6 as modified by this local rule, as follows:
IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF ADAMS COUNTY
And Now, this __ day of ______ , 199 , upon consideration of the within petition, it is hereby ordered that:
(1) a rule is issued upon respondent to show cause why the petitioner is not entitled to the relief requested;
(2) the respondent shall file an answer to the petition within twenty days of service upon the respondent;
(3) The petition shall be decided under Pa.R.C.P. 206.7 and Local Rule 206;
(4) [ ] The parties shall
[ ] appear ______ 19 ______ , at _____ in Courtroom ______ of Adams County Courthouse, to determine appropriate procedure for determining disputed facts;
[ ] consult with the Court within ten days after an answer is filed to determine appropriate procedure for determining disputed facts;
[ ] An evidentiary hearing on disputed facts shall be held ______ 19 __ , at ____ , in Courtroom ______ , of Adams County Courthouse;
[ ] Depositions shall be completed within ____ days of this date;
[ ] Argument shall be held on ______ , 19 ______ at _____ , in Courtroom ______ of the Adams County Courthouse;
(5) notice of the entry of this order shall be provided to all parties by the petitioner.
BY THE COURT,
Comment: This rule is intended to modify and closely mirror procedures in state rules. The rule contemplates that a petitioner will request the appropriate method to determine disputed facts. Since the rule has been expanded to include diverse subjects of relief, many petitions should be determined on Business Court day, with a short hearing followed by argument.
Rules 207--209. Reserved.
Rule 210. Arguments.
(a) All motions and cases requiring arguments may be placed by either party upon the argument list for any regular Argument Court Day unless otherwise specifically ordered by the Court. At the time of placing the case upon the Argument List, counsel shall note thereon the name and address of known counsel for the opposing party and counsel shall that same day send notice to the opposing party or their counsel of record.
(b) An argument list shall be prepared by the Prothonotary previous to each argument court composed of cases arranged in the order of their seniority, which shall have been set down by the parties or their counsel at least forty (40) days before such Argument Court Day.
(c) An argument list containing all cases for argument in the several Courts shall, immediately upon the closing of the argument list, be furnished by the Prothonotary to all members of the Bar having cases listed for argument and to parties who have no counsel.
(d) In all arguments each party shall, before argument, furnish to the Court and opposite counsel or party a typewritten brief, containing a full and succinct statement of all facts conducive to a ready comprehension of the matter to be argued, and a reference to all authorities relied on. Where an authority is cited, the principle to be supported by it shall be stated. A mere reference to the book will not be sufficient. The party having the affirmative in the argument shall furnish such brief twenty-one (21) days before argument and the other party or parties shall furnish such brief seven (7) days before argument. When this rule is violated, the Court may, in its discretion:
(1) refuse to allow oral argument by the offending party: or
(2) consider the issues raised by such party to be waived: or
(3) order oral argument to be continued: or
(4) enter such other order as the interest of justice requires.
(e) The judge hearing argument may set time limits.
(f) Any party may request argument en banc. The judge to whom the case is assigned shall make the decision whether to grant or deny the request.
Rule 211. Preliminary Objections (see also Local Rule 1028).
Unless granted leave to proceed in accordance with Rule 210, any party filing preliminary objections shall file a brief within ten (10) days of such filing. The party against whom objections are filed shall have twenty (20) days thereafter to file a responsive brief. The Prothonotary shall then transmit the file and briefs to the Court and the case will be determined on brief. Requests for formal argument must be made at the time objections are filed, in the case of the filing party, or within ten (10) days after notice of the objections, by the party against whom objections are filed.
Any party failing to file a brief shall face the same sanctions prescribed in Rule 210.
Comment: This rule is intended to speed up procedure involving preliminary objections. Time requirements are intended to prevent parties from requesting oral argument at the last minute to gain a reprieve from filing requirements.
CHAPTER TWO. PRE-TRIAL PROCEDURE
Rule 212. Pre-Trial Procedure.
(a) When an action is at issue and all pre-trial motions, petitions, and objections have been disposed of, any party thereto who desires to proceed to trial shall request, by praecipe, the Prothonotary to list and schedule the action for a pre-trial conference. A schedule shall be kept and maintained in that office. The party requesting the conference shall state the time and date preferred for the conference. Conferences will be scheduled to begin on the hour during Pre-Trial Conference Days listed in the Court Calendar. No conferences will be scheduled prior to 8:00 a.m., at noon, or after 4:00 p.m. except by special order of court. If the requested time is unavailable, the Prothonotary shall schedule at the next available time, or the next available time and date. The Prothonotary shall notify all counsel and pro se parties of the time and date of the conference. The notice shall state that parties are required to submit pre-conference memoranda at least five (5) days prior to the conference. The Prothonotary shall provide the Court Administrator and the judge designated by the President Judge with pre-trial conference schedules, no later than three (3) days prior to the conference(s).
(b) The Court on its own motion or on the motion of any party may order that a pre-trial conference is unnecessary. Any such order shall state what matters, if any, must be completed before trial and the time period for completing such matters and further specify the trial term at which the case shall be tried.
(c) Unless excused by the Court in advance, the attorney or party who intends to try the case shall attend the pre-trial conference. In the absence of an excuse, the Court, may require the attending attorney or party to try the case. If an attorney or party fails to appear for the pre-trial conference, the Court may proceed in his/her absence and enter binding rulings regarding any matter, including admissibility of evidence.
(d) At the pre-trial conference, every attorney or party shall submit a pre-trial memorandum which, where appropriate, will contain the following minimum information:
(1) Brief factual summary
(2) Names and addresses of all witnesses, identifying whether fact, expert or damage.
(3) List of all exhibits.
(4) Statement of issues involved.
(5) Statement of damages claimed
(6) Statement of proposed amendments to pleadings, if any.
(7) Statement of suggested stipulations of law or fact.
(8) Special requests. For example, a request for a view or requests relating to matters of discovery.
(9) Estimated duration of trial and whether it is jury or bench.
(10) The amount of settlement demands or offers.
(e) As soon as practicable after a pre-trial conference, the Court shall enter an order setting forth any admission of fact or documents, amendments or pleadings, agreements of attorneys, and other matters resolved or determined by the Court at the pre-trial conference. If a bench trial is ordered, it shall be scheduled for a specific time, if possible. If a jury trial is ordered, it shall be set for a specific trial term. All orders shall set forth those matters which must be completed before trial and the time period for completing such matters.
(f) Actions ordered by the Court to be tried at a specific trial term shall be placed on a trial schedule by the Court Administrator before the beginning of such specific trial term.
(g) The trial schedule shall be made available by the Court Administrator to all parties or their attorneys of record. A copy shall also be made available to each member of the Bar who requests one.
(h) Priority on a trial schedule shall be determined by the date on which the Court Administrator places the case on a term list, or the date on which a case is continued to that particular term. However, priority will not necessarily govern which cases will be tried during any particular trial term.
Comment: The Court Administrator will normally list cases in the order received by the Prothonotary. If case ''A'' is listed, then case ''B'' is continued until that term and then later case ''C'' is listed, trial priority will be A, B, and C.
(j) Counsel may be required to submit a trial brief to the Court prior to the commencement of the trial for the guidance and information of the Court. Unless a similar trial brief is submitted by opposing counsel, and a copy furnished, such counsel shall not be entitled to a copy of said trial brief as a matter of right.
(k) Trials will be called at the Civil and Orphans' Court Business Day for the month preceding trial. Parties may answer the call formally, by appearance, or informally by telephone or mail shortly before call. Failure to answer the call may result in the case being stricken from the trial list.
Rule 213. Extended Hearings.
An extended hearing is defined as one requiring two or more hours. Parties requesting hearings, whether by order or praecipe, shall certify whether the hearing can reasonably be expected to become an extended hearing. Whether the matter falls within the scope of Prothonotary's or Clerk's duties, extended hearings shall be scheduled for pre-trial conference by the Prothonotary. Thereafter, unless otherwise ordered, the pre-trial procedure established in Rule 212 shall be followed.
Rules 214--235. Reserved.
Rule 236. Notice of Order. Decree or Judgment.
Where the Prothonotary is required by the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure to give notice to any party of any hearing, matter, order, decree, or judgment, it shall be the duty of the moving party to furnish the Prothonotary with the notice required to be mailed, a copy of the notice for the Prothonotary's file, and a postage prepaid envelope with the name and correct current address of the party to be notified set forth thereon. The Prothonotary shall note the date the notice was sent on the file copy. If a file copy is not provided, the Prothonotary shall make a copy of the notice and shall be authorized to charge and collect $1.00 from the moving party for costs in connection therewith.
Rule 237. Reserved.
Rule 238. Delay Damages.
A party seeking an award of delay damages shall request such damages by the filing of a petition, which shall include a rule returnable as provided in Rule 206 directing the respondent to show cause why such damages should not be awarded. Issues shall be determined by the petition and answer. The Court may then determine such damages, if any, or refer the matter to a board of arbitrators.
Rules 239--1011. Reserved.
Rule 1012. Withdrawal of Counsel.
(a) Counsel withdrawing an appearance pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1012(b) shall certify in the praecipe for withdrawal that no stage of the litigation shall be delayed by such withdrawal.
(b) Counsel seeking to withdraw from a case where such withdrawal is not pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1012(b) shall present a written motion seeking leave to withdraw. The motion shall contain: (1) the written consent of the client, or (2) a certification of counsel that no less than ten (10) days notice of the time and place of presentation of the motion has been received by the client, and (3) the reasons why counsel seeks to withdraw, and (4) a statement whether any stage of the matter will be delayed by the withdrawal. If the consent of all parties is not obtained, the Court may order that a minimum of ten days notice shall be given to such parties and that the matter be considered at a Business Court Day at least ten (10) days beyond the filing of the request.
Rules 1013--1018. Reserved.
Rule 1018.1. Notice to Defend.
(a) As provided by Pa.R.C.P. 1018.1, the following officer is designated to be named in the Notice to Defend in order to find out where legal help can be obtained: Court Administrator, Adams County Courthouse, 111 - 117 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325, telephone number (717) 337-9846 or 1-888-337-9846.
(b) The Court Administrator upon receiving oral or written inquiry as a result of the endorsement on any pleading, shall furnish the name and telephone number of an appropriate member of the Legal Aid Committee of the Adams County Bar Association or immediately forward to the inquiring party a prepared list of the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all the resident members of the Bar of Adams County, or both. The Court Administrator shall include on such list Legal Services, Inc., 432 South Washington Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325; telephone number (717) 334-7623.
(c) Copies of a Spanish translation of the Notice to Defend shall be made available by the Court Administrator upon request.
Rules 1019--1027. Reserved.
Rule 1028. Preliminary Objections.
Procedure for preliminary objections shall be governed by Rule 211.
Rules 1029--1034. Reserved.
Rule 1035.3. Summary Judgment.
Procedure for briefs and argument in motions for summary judgment shall be governed by Rule 211.
Rules 1036--1300. Reserved.
Rule 1301(a). Compulsory Arbitration.
All civil cases subject to arbitration by statute or rule of court shall be submitted to compulsory if the amount of money in controversy is within statutory limits.
Rule 1301(b). Arbitration by Agreement.
Cases may also be referred to arbitration if the parties or their counsel agree. If the case is not at issue, or where no pleadings have been filed of record, the agreement to refer shall state the issues to be considered by the board of arbitrators, and shall contain all stipulations of fact reached by the parties. The agreement shall be filed of record and a copy provided to each member of the board of arbitrators.
Rule 1302(a)(1). List of Eligible Arbitrators.
A list of eligible arbitrators shall be prepared and maintained by the Court Administrator pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1302, and directions of the President Judge. The list shall contain all names of attorneys actively engaged in the practice of law primarily in Adams County, as determined by the President Judge, and who have not been excused from serving. Attorneys may request excuse by the President Judge. Attorneys so excused shall be required to serve only in unusual, or emergency situations.
Rule 1302(a)(2). Motion for appointment of Board of Arbitrators.
Any party to a case, after the pleadings are closed, may request the appointment of a board of arbitrators by written motion. Included in the motion shall be the names of all attorneys who, to the movant's knowledge, may have a conflicting interest in the case.
Rule 1302(a)(3). Service of Motion.
The party moving for the appointment of a board of arbitrators shall serve a copy of the motion on all other parties, or their counsel to the action. Proof of service of the motion shall be by acceptance of service noted on the original of the motion, or by a certificate of service by counsel (which need not be verified), or by an affidavit of service.
Rule 1302(a)(4). Notification of Conflicts.
Any party or the parties' counsel shall, upon receipt of a motion for the appointment of a board of arbitrators, immediately notify the Court Administrator of the names of all Adams County attorneys who, to the recipient's knowledge, may have a conflicting interest in the case.
Rule 1302(b). Selection and Appointment of Board.
No less than five (5) days after service of the motion for appointment of a board of arbitrators has been made on all parties, the Court Administrator shall select three (3) names from the list of eligible arbitrators and present an order for appointment to the President Judge or the judge to whom the case is assigned. The Prothonotary shall administer the oath to the board members in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. 1312, promptly after appointment
Rule 1302(c). Distribution of Pleadings.
The parties shall be responsible for providing the Prothonotary with two (2) copies of their respective pleadings. The moving party shall provide copies at the time arbitrators are requested. The nonmoving party shall provide copies within ten (10) days after being notified of the appointment of a board. The chairman shall receive the original file and the Prothonotary shall distribute copies of pleadings to each member of the board.
Fees for services for members of the Board of Arbitrators shall be periodically set by administrative order. Until changed, the chairman shall be paid two hundred dollars ($200.00) and two members one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00), upon the filing of the award.
In the event that a case is settled or withdrawn, or otherwise terminated by or between the parties after the board members have been sworn but before the filing of the Board's report and award, if any, the board shall not be required to file any report or award, but its members shall be entitled to one-half of the arbitration fee, and the Prothonotary shall so certify such settlement, withdrawal, or other termination of the case by the parties to the County Commissioners and to the County Treasurer for that purpose, and arbitrators shall be paid their fee.
Rule 1303(a). Time, Date, and Place of Hearing.
The location and time of the hearing shall be set by the chairman of the board of arbitrators for the next available arbitration day specifically set forth on the Adams County Court Calendar which will allow for timely written notice. Unless otherwise agreed, no less than thirty (30) days written notice of the time, date, and place of the hearing shall be given by the chairman of the board of arbitrators to all parties or their counsel, to members of the board, and to the Court Administrator.
Rule 1303(b). Continuances.
Continuances may be granted by the chairman of the board of arbitrators. A motion for continuance and four (4) copies of the new notice for hearing shall be submitted in writing by the parties seeking the continuance to the chairman of the board and shall include the consent or opposition of opposing counsel. Any continuance granted shall be to a time and date set by the chairman. Notice of the continuance shall be given by the chairman to the other arbitrators and to the counsel of record.
Nothing in this rule shall prevent a party from seeking a continuance from a judge.
Rules 1304--1900. Reserved.
PROTECTION FROM ABUSE
Rule 1901. Commencement and Referral.
The Prothonotary and District Justices shall provide written and oral referrals to any person desiring to file a pro se petition under the Protection From Abuse Act, 23 Pa.C.S. § 6101 et. seq. to Legal Services, Inc. and Survivors, Inc. at their Adams County offices, and the Adams County Bar Association referral service. They shall also maintain sample forms and written instructions, in both Spanish and English, and give clerical assistance in completing forms.
The Prothonotary shall accept petitions without requiring the prepayment of filing fees and transmit copies to the Court Administrator for presentment to a judge for the entry of an order. Upon request by plaintiff, the Court may direct that the petition be served upon defendant by the Sheriff.
Rule 1902. Hearing After Relief By District Justice.
Whenever relief is granted by a District Justice, the District Justice issuing the order shall contact the Court Administrator as soon as possible. The Court will, thereafter, schedule a preliminary hearing and continue the temporary order in effect pending a plenary hearing. Preliminary hearings before the Court will be conducted at 1:00 p.m. on the next Business Court Day following the granting of temporary relief by the District Justice. The District Justice issuing the order shall provide both parties a notice in the form set forth in Local Rule 1906.
The District Justice issuing the temporary order will forward all papers for filing in the Prothonotary's office so that the papers will be available to the Court at the hearing before the Court.
Rule 1903. Petition For Temporary Relief.
Petitions for temporary relief may be presented to the Court without the necessity of scheduling an ex parte hearing if the petition is accompanied by an affidavit verifying the averments in the petition and the relief temporarily sought does not include eviction, or transfer of custody of minor children from defendant to plaintiff. Where eviction or custody transfer is requested, an ex parte hearing shall be scheduled.
Rule 1904. Plenary Hearings.
Unless the parties agree otherwise, plenary hearings shall be scheduled within ten (10) days after the filing of the petition.
Rule 1905. Contempt Hearings.
(a) Arrest: When the Court is available, a defendant arrested for contempt shall be produced without unnecessary delay before a judge for arraignment. If arrest occurs when the Court is unavailable, the defendant shall be arraigned before a District Justice. Upon request, defendant shall be provided with an application form for the appointment of a lawyer. Unless scheduled by a court order for a different time, contempt hearings shall be scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on the first business day of the week, at least seven (7) and no more than ten (10) days after the defendant's arrest. Bail shall be set by the District Justice, and defendant given an opportunity to post bail. The bail may be subject to special conditions such as cessation of abuse. If the defendant is not released on bail, he or she shall be produced before a judge at the first available opportunity following arrest. The District Justice shall also, when applicable, follow the procedure outlined in Rule 1901. At arraignment, the District Justice shall advise the defendant of the following:
(1) A description of the alleged contemptuous acts;
(2) That those acts violate a specific Order of Court;
(3) Defendant is subject because of the alleged contempt to a prison sentence of six (6) months and a fine of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00);
(4) A hearing will be held by a judge on a specified court business day at 1:00 p.m.
(5) Defendant is entitled to be represented by a lawyer in the contempt proceeding and that, if defendant qualifies, a lawyer will be appointed to represent him or her free of charge. The defendant shall be notified that he or she must apply for the appointment of a free counsel, and the District Justice shall provide an application form upon request;
(b) Petition and Rule: Plaintiff will first enter the petition in the Prothonotary's office and then present it to the Court Administrator for the scheduling of a hearing. Except in unusual circumstances, hearings will be scheduled in the same manner as in arrest cases. If a specific time is requested, the Court Administrator will select a time, which will afford speedy relief and afford defendant time to prepare a defense. No answer shall be required by defendant.
(c) Criminal Complaint: Contempt proceedings may be commenced by the filing of a criminal complaint before a District Justice. Service shall be accomplished as in other criminal proceedings, by a constable, or police officer. If neither is available, the complaint shall be served by the Sheriff. Procedures will be the same as are followed in other protection from abuse proceedings begun before a District Justice.
Rule 1906. Form of Notice.
A Petition Under the Protection from Abuse Act has been filed against you as set forth in the attached Complaint. A temporary order has been entered against you. This order will remain in effect until 1:00 p.m. on _____ , 19__ , when it will be considered in a Courtroom that will be designated on that date, in the Adams County Courthouse, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. At that time, the temporary order may be continued, modified, or terminated. If the order against you is continued or modified, a full hearing on the merits will be scheduled. You may appear and either object or consent to an order against you being continued in effect until a full hearing on the merits. You may, but are not required to, appear and consent to the entry of an order for a longer period of time. Any order entered after a full hearing may remain in force for one (1) year. The Court may proceed in your absence to take testimony and enter an order granting relief to the Petitioner. You are entitled to be represented by an attorney at these hearings. If you do not have a lawyer or cannot afford one, go to or telephone the office set forth below to find out where you can get legal help.
Adams County Court Administrator
Adams County Courthouse
111-117 Baltimore Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325
Telephone Number: (717)337-9846 or 1-888-337-9846
Rule 1910.10. Procedure.
All support proceedings shall be conducted in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. 1910.11.
Rule 1910.11. Notice.
The notice required by 23 Pa.C.S.A.§ 4303 shall be as follows:
The law requires the Domestic Relations Office to periodically provide approved consumer reporting agencies with your name and the amount of overdue arrearages that you owe. According to our records, you owe $ ______ , and this amount will be reported unless you contest the accuracy of the information within the next twenty days by filing a written objection with this office. Your objection should specifically state the amount of money that you dispute is owed.
Upon timely receipt of an objection, this office will schedule a conference to resolve the dispute.
Domestic Relations Officer
Rules 1912--1914. Reserved.
Comment: In light of comprehensive state rules, it is felt that local rules are unnecessary and might potentially become confusing. Following conference, procedures in Rule 1910.21-4 shall be followed, but no local rule is needed to indicate this.
Rule 1915.1. Custody.
In all custody cases, a preliminary conference will be held, at a time set by the Court, prior to the actual hearing on the custody matter. All parties and their counsel will be required to attend the preliminary conference. Children will not be required to attend unless either party requests their presence, and the court approves such request.
Counsel should appear at the conference prepared to schedule a hearing. Calendars, or familiarity therewith, will be required.
At the preliminary conference, the parties or their counsel shall provide the Court with a written memorandum, containing at least the following:
(a) names of witnesses;
(b) a statement of the potential issues;
(c) information of the possibility of an amicable settlement without a hearing;
(d) an estimate of the time a hearing would require;
(e) any requests that either party might have; and
(f) any other information which would help the Court and parties resolve the case.
Rule 1916. Home Studies and Investigations.
Adams County Children and Youth Services is designated as the agency authorized to conduct home studies within Adams County. Home studies may be ordered subject to the following:
Fees shall be periodically established by administrative order. Until changed, the fee will be seventy-five ($75.00) dollars.
(a) Requests for home studies, or the right to request a home study in the future, shall be submitted at the preliminary conference. The request may be included in the conference memorandum.
(b) Payment of the home study fee shall be made, and a detailed written description of and directions to the house shall be provided to the agency:
(1) within two weeks of the court order authorizing the study, and
(2) at least 60 days prior to a scheduled hearing.
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