Revision and Restatement of the Local Civil Rules; No. 2004-2375
[34 Pa.B. 4127]
And Now, this 19th day of July, 2004, the court hereby Approves, Adopts and Promulgates the Revision and Restatement of the Local Civil Rules of the Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County, effective thirty (30) days after the date of publication of these Rules in the Pennsylvania Bulletin; provided, however, the portion of the Local Rules governing motion practice will be considered published and effective when they appear on the AOPC web site pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. 239 and 239.8, said date of publication believed to be July 26, 2004. In any event, they shall be effective no later than thirty (30) days following the date of publication thereof in the Pennsylvania Bulletin pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. 239(d).
When effective, these Local Rules of Civil Procedure supercede all prior Local Rules of Civil Procedure, which are hereby repealed.
It is also Ordered and Directed the Court Administrator of Mercer County, in accordance with Pa. Rule of Civil Procedure 239, shall file seven (7) certified copies of these Rules with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, furnish two (2) certified copies to the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, file one certified copy with the Civil Procedural Rules Committee and file one copy with the Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee.
It is further Ordered and Directed that Local Rules shall be kept continuously available for public inspection and copying in the Office of the Prothonotary of Mercer County. Upon request and payment of reasonable costs of reproduction and mailing, the Prothonotary shall furnish to any person a copy of the Local Rules.
A copy of these Revised and Restated Rules shall be published in the Mercer County Law Journal.
By the Court
FRANCIS J. FORNELLI,
Local Rules of the Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County, 35th Judicial District Supplementing the Rules of Civil Procedure Promulgated by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Local Rules Committee:
Peter C. Acker, Esq., Chairman
Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County, 35th Judicial District
Honorable Francis J. Fornelli, President Judge
Honorable Thomas R. Dobson, Judge
Honorable John C. Reed, Judge
Honorable Christopher J. St. John
The Rules of the Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County, 35th Judicial District, are intended to supplement the Rules of Civil Procedure promulgated by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The latter's system of numbering has been preserved. Each local rule dealing with the same subject matter as one of the Rules of Civil Procedure has been given the same number. All local rules are preceded by the letter ''L'' to indicate their local character. All local rules must be read in connection with the Rules of Civil Procedure bearing the same numbers.
RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE
BUSINESS OF COURTS
Rule L200 Attorneys
(a) During the month of January of each year, the secretary of the Bar Association shall certify to the Prothonotary, the recorder of deeds, the register of wills, and the clerk of the Orphans' Court Division, any change in the members of the Mercer County Bar. Each of these officers shall retain a register of such list in his offices.
(b) One-tenth of all arbitrators' and auditors' fees and $27.50 of each master's fee shall be deducted there from by the Prothonotary, clerk of courts or other officer and paid over to the treasurer of the Mercer County Bar Association. The funds from this source shall be used by said treasurer to pay the dues of the members of the Mercer County Bar Association in the Pennsylvania Bar Association. The surplus, if any, remaining after the payment of said dues to the Pennsylvania Bar Association shall be used for the general purposes of the Mercer County Bar Association.
(c) No attorney shall be admitted as surety in any action pending in court and the Prothonotary shall not accept any bond or surety unless by leave of court for special cause shown.
Rule L205.2(a) Filing Legal Papers with the Prothonotary
All pleadings and other legal papers filed with the Prothonotary shall be prepared for flat filing on paper 8 1/2" × 11" in size and be bound by staples or similar binding.
Rule L205.2(b) Cover Sheet
All pleadings and other legal papers filed with the Prothonotary shall contain on the face sheet the following information: designation of the Court, date of filing, file number, caption, title of pleading, notice to plead or other form of notice, certification where applicable, and name, address, Supreme Court number, and telephone number of the attorney or law firm filing the pleading upon whom papers may be served.
Rule L206.1(a) Petition. Definition. Content. Form.
''Petition,'' as used in this chapter, shall mean an application for relief other than a motion including:
(1) an application to open a default judgment or a judgment of non pros;
(2) a request for special relief, unless the request seeks an expedited hearing date, a stay, or interim pre-hearing relief;
(3) a petition for civil contempt, except in a support or custody action;
(4) a motion for delay damages; and
(5) a petition for relief from a judgment by confession;
Rule L206.4(c) Rule to Show Cause. Alternative Procedures
(1) A petition seeking only the issuance of a rule to show cause shall be presented to the Court Administrator. No advance notice of the presentation need be given to any party. The Court Administrator shall transmit the petition to a Judge for disposition. It shall then be transmitted promptly to the Prothonotary for filing.
(2) A rule to show cause shall be issued by the Court as of course upon petition, pursuant to Pa.R.C.P 206.6. The rule shall direct that an answer be filed to the petition within (20) days after service of the petition on the respondent. The Court may, in appropriate circumstances, direct that an answer be filed within a shorter period of time, or dispense with the necessity of filing an answer altogether. Every petition shall have attached to it a proposed order, providing for an evidentiary hearing. The Court on its own motion or upon request of a party may require a case to be submitted on the basis of the pleadings, depositions and/or oral argument instead of an evidentiary hearing.
(3) The petitioner shall attach to the petition a proposed order substantially in the following form:
IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF MERCER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
Plaintiff(s) : : vs. : : NO. _____--2004 Defendant(s) :
AND NOW, this ____ day of ______ , 20 ____ , upon consideration of the foregoing petition, it is hereby ordered and decreed that
(1) a rule is issued upon the 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 (20) days of service upon the respondent;
(3) the petition shall be decided under Pa.R.C.P. 206.7;
(4) depositions shall be completed within _____ days of this date;
(5) a hearing shall be held on ______ , ______ , 20 _____ in Courtroom _____ of the Mercer County Courthouse at _____ a.m./p.m.;
(6) notice of the entry of this order shall be provided to all parties by the petitioner.
BY THE COURT:
Rule L208.2(c) Motion. Statement of Applicable Authority.
A motion shall include a brief statement of the applicable authority for the relief requested.
Rule L208.2(d) Uncontested Motions
If the moving party intends to present the motion as uncontested, the motion shall include a written consent by opposing counsel and unrepresented parties; or the motion shall include a certification that the moving party has contacted opposing counsel and unrepresented parties and that opposing counsel and unrepresented parties do not contest the motion.
Rule L208.2(e) Motions Relating to Discovery
Any motion relating to discovery shall include a certification by the moving party that the moving party has conferred or attempted to confer with opposing counsel and unrepresented parties having an interest in the motion in order to resolve the matter without court action.
Rule L208.3(a) Motion Procedures
(1) Motions will be scheduled, argued, and decided at Motions Court or Argument Court as set forth herein:
(a) By the filing of a scheduling praecipe in accordance with the procedure set forth in this Rule.
(b) At Motions Court, in accordance with the procedure specified in subparagraph (2) of this Rule, if the motion is of the type permitted to be presented at Motions Court; or at Argument Court or otherwise by praecipe as set forth in paragraph (4) of this Rule.
(c) In the case of a motion for preliminary injunction or similar motions which require immediate date certain scheduling, by presentation to the Office of the Court Administrator for referral to a Judge.
(d) In the case of motions which are permitted to be presented ex parte, without prior notice of presentation and opportunity to be heard, pursuant to provisions of subparagraph (3) of this rule, by presentation to the Office of the Court Administrator for referral to a Judge.
(2) Motions Court
(a) Motions Court will be held every Monday from 9:00 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. as reflected in the court calendar.
(b) Matters to be placed on Motions Court must be filed no later than 4:30 p.m. of the preceding Thursday with the Court Administrator.
(c) All matters submitted for Motions Court must have a scheduling order attached; and a certification that notice of the hearing has been given to opposing counsel or the opposing party and set forth the manner of the notice given.
(d) Motions Court will usually deal only with those matters which can be disposed of within 15 minutes.
(e) The Court Administrator shall have the right to place any matter submitted on any available Motions Court.
(3) Ex parte orders in adversary proceedings
(a) Ex Parte Motions to the court in an adversary proceeding will not be considered without prior notice of presentation to all parties with the opportunity to be heard, except in the following cases:
(1) Motions for relief which are routinely granted as of course, on a presumption of assent, such as motions for appointment of legal counsel and guardians ad litem, and the like.
(2) Motions affecting the issuance of service of initial papers upon another who is not yet subject to the jurisdiction of the court, such as applications for substituted service, extensions of time, and the like.
(3) Motions for preliminary orders granting or scheduling a hearing thereon, or directing process or notice to bring the opponent before the court to answer.
(4) Motions for stay orders in license suspension appeals.
(5) Cases in which the adverse party has waived the opportunity to be heard or has consented to the requested action.
(6) Cases in which there are special or compelling circumstances which the court finds justifies ex parte action.
(b) Prior notice of presentation of a motion to the court shall state the date, time and place of intended presentation and shall be accompanied by a copy of the motion and the proposed order.
(c) In cases where an ex parte order is made, a copy of the motion and order shall be served promptly on the opponent and on all other parties, who may file a prompt application for reconsideration of the order.
(d) In all cases where prior notice of presentation is required under statute or rule of court, the motion shall state that the requisite prior notice was given; the date, time and manner of giving notice. If the right to ex parte relief is based on the existence of special or compelling circumstances, the motion shall state such circumstances.
(4) Scheduling of Matters
(a) Argument Court
(1) Matters for Argument Court and all other matters to be scheduled by praecipe shall be scheduled by praecipe as set forth in subsection (b) below.
(2) Courts for hearing arguments shall be held on the first Monday of each month unless otherwise ordered by the court.
(3) The Prothonotary shall keep an argument docket wherein shall be set down all cases or matters requiring argument, special examination by the court, and the taking of testimony, except trials by jury and other matters specifically regulated by Act of Assembly.
(4) All cases for argument shall be placed on the argument docket at least thirty (30) days prior to the argument day by a praecipe as set forth in subsection (b) below.
(5) The praecipe to the Prothonotary shall include the name of opposing counsel, the precise nature of the matter requiring argument, and whether the matter listed requires the taking of testimony.
(6) The Court Administrator shall give notice to all counsel that the case has been placed on the argument list. Said notice shall contain the date upon which argument will be held, and the nature of the matter requiring argument. The argument list shall be published in the Mercer County Law Journal prior to Argument Court.
(b) Scheduling by Praecipe.
(1) Matters for Argument Court and all other matters to be scheduled by praecipe shall be scheduled by praecipe filed with the Prothonotary and shall be signed by counsel of record or an unrepresented party.
(2) The praecipe shall be served promptly on all other counsel and unrepresented parties in the case.
(3) Upon receipt of a scheduling praecipe any party may object as follows:
(a) If the objection is to an assertion in the praecipe of readiness of the case for disposition by the court, the objection shall be made promptly to the court in accordance with Motions Court practice with notice to other parties.
(b) If an objection relates to any other assertion in the praecipe, the objecting party shall promptly file a counter praecipe stating only the matter challenged.
(4) If a party files a scheduling praecipe, knowing that the matter is not ready for disposition by the court, or knowing that the matters certified to in the scheduling praecipe are not true, the court may impose sanctions on the offending party. Sanctions may include assessment of reasonable counsel fees incurred by other parties as the result of such conduct, prohibition of additional discovery, or other appropriate order.
(5) Form of Scheduling Praecipe: The praecipe shall identify the nature of the matter to be scheduled, all opposing counsel, and designate any Judge who has previously entered a ruling in the case.
(5) Preparation and Form of Orders and Decrees. Copies for Distribution.
(a) Unless otherwise directed by the court, decrees and orders requested by a party shall be drafted by the attorney at whose instance they are to be made, and shall be submitted to the court for approval.
(b) All proposed orders presented to the court shall list the names of all counsel of record and shall indicate the party represented by each.
(c) The proposed order and any accompanying documents shall be transmitted by the parties to the Court Administrator for scheduling. The order and documents shall then be filed in the proper office.
Rule L208.3(b) Motions Practice. Filing of Argument Court Briefs
(1) When a moving party files a scheduling praecipe for Argument Court, the moving party's brief shall be filed with the Court Administrator at the time the scheduling praecipe is presented, and the moving party shall serve copies of the brief on opposing counsel and unrepresented parties. All other parties shall file with the Court Administrator a brief within fifteen (15) days after service.
(2) When a non-moving party files a scheduling praecipe, the moving party shall file with the Court Administrator and with all other parties a brief within fifteen (15) days after filing of the praecipe. All other parties shall file with the Court Administrator and all other parties a brief within ten (10) days of receipt of the moving party's brief.
(3) If a party's brief is not timely filed, the court may, in its discretion:
(a) Disregard any untimely brief;
(b) Refuse oral argument by the offending party;
(c) Consider the issues raised by the offending party to be waived;
(d) Order argument continued;
(e) Enter such other order as the interests of justice may require.
Rule L210 Form of Briefs
Briefs shall be in the form prescribed by Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 210, and shall consist of concise and summary statements, separately and distinctly titled, of the following items in the order listed:
(1) Matter before the Court: State the particular pleading (motion, petition, objection, exception, application, etc.) before the court for disposition, and the particular relief requested therein.
(2) Statement of the question(s) involved: State the issue(s) in question form containing factual context sufficient to present the precise matter to be decided by the Court; each susceptible of a yes or no answer; each followed by the answer advocated.
(3) Facts: State the material facts.
(4) Argument: State the reason(s) why the court should answer the questions involved as proposed, including proper citation of authorities.
Rule L212 Pre-Trial Conference
(a) All civil actions at law and in equity, both jury and non-jury, excluding those within the jurisdictional limits of compulsory arbitration and not appealed, and actions of divorce or annulment shall be pretried unless dispensed with by special order as unnecessary. No other civil action need be pretried unless required by special order of this court.
(b) Any and all admissions of fact or documents, amendments to pleadings, agreements of counsel and any other matters resolved or determined by the court at the pre-trial conference shall be made into an order by the court and made a part of the record.
(c) At the pre-trial conference, each counsel of record representing a party to the action shall present to the court, and serve a copy on all other counsel, a narrative statement of the facts that will be offered by oral or documentary evidence at trial, and a statement of any unusual questions of law that may arise.
(d) Each person or corporation having an actual interest in the case--whether as a party, as the insurance carrier of a party, or otherwise--shall either be personally present at the pre-trial conference or shall there be represented by someone authorized to speak for him or it with respect to the trial of the case and its settlement.
(e) All unusual questions of law shall be presented to the pre-trial judge with a statement of the authority supporting the position of that party. If a party desires, he may present such questions in the absence of the opposing party and his counsel.
(f) Exhibits may be marked prior to trial by the court stenographer. It is recommended, although it is not required, that a list of exhibits, including a description of each, be given to the court and to the stenographer at the commencement of the trial.
(g) At the pre-trial conference, each party shall submit to the court and to opposing counsel the following:
(1) A list of the names and addresses of all witnesses that party proposes to call, classifying them as witnesses to liability or to damages. The listing of a witness by a party shall impose no obligation on the party to call the witness or to procure attendance at the trial.
(2) A copy of any plan or plot that party proposes to introduce into evidence.
(h) If a party, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, first becomes aware of the necessity or the desirability of using a witness or a plan or plot subsequent to the pre-trial conference, that party shall forthwith file the name, address and classification of the witness or a copy of the plan or plot with the court and serve a copy upon opposing counsel. Filing and service less than forty-eight hours before the opening of the trial shall not be deemed compliance with this subsection.
(i) A party may not call a witness nor offer a plan or plot without complying with sub-section (g) or (h) hereof unless that party shall first secure the permission of the court upon cause shown.
Rule L225 Addresses and Summing Up
(a) Opening addresses may be made by all parties or groups of parties at the commencement of the trial in the order of their appearing in the pleadings. Any party may reserve opening address until immediately before presenting evidence.
(b) After the close of the testimony each party or group of parties shall have the right of final address or argument. The party or parties having the burden of proof shall have the right of final address or argument to the jury. However, a party who has presented no evidence and who does not appear on the record in another capacity shall have the right of final argument.
Rule L227.1 Post-Trial Relief.
Unless the court shall deem it unnecessary in a particular case, a post-trial conference shall be held, at a time fixed by the court, in every case in which a post-trial motion has been filed. The purpose of such conference will be to limit the issue which must be considered by the court in ruling upon the post-trial motion and to determine how much of the stenographic record of the trial should be transcribed.
Rule L301.1 Copies of Writings
Whenever a copy of a writing is attached to a pleading, brief or other paper submitted to the court, whether such copy is mechanically produced or otherwise, it shall be clearly legible and faithfully represent the original in every respect, and unless the original itself is not legible the court may require a substitute copy to be made and filed before the pleadings shall be considered valid or the brief or other paper considered.
Rule L306 Prothonotary
(a) The Prothonotary shall immediately endorse all papers filed with the date of such filing. Such endorsement upon a bond shall not constitute approval thereof. The Prothonotary shall enter all rules, pleadings and other papers filed in every case in the Prothonotary docket.
(b) The Prothonotary shall be responsible for the safe keeping of all records and papers belonging to his/her office.
(c) Any attorney who takes a paper from the files of Prothonotary shall give his/her receipt for it. He/She shall be responsible for the same and for damages arising from any loss of same.
(d) Only the Prothonotary, clerks, and attorneys registered in the office of the Prothonotary shall be permitted access to the files.
(e) No entries shall be made in the docket except at the direction of the Prothonotary or by order of the courts, except an entry of appearance of counsel.
(f) All papers filed with the Prothonotary shall be designated numerically starting with the number one for each calendar year.
Civil Actions 2004-1
Rule L309 Trial and Trial List
(a) There shall be a session for the trial of jury cases each month to be held at the time fixed by the court calendar.
(b) A ''watch book'' shall be maintained by the Prothonotary in which all cases ready for trial shall be listed. A case may be placed upon the trial list after it is at issue, all motions have been disposed of and all discovery completed by the praecipe of any party so certifying. The party placing a case on the trial list shall serve a copy of the praecipe upon all opposing parties forthwith.
(c) Unless an extension of time is agreed to in writing by all parties or allowed by the court upon cause shown, all discovery shall be completed within sixty (60) days after any party has given notice to do so. Such notice may be given at any time after a case is at issue, shall specifically refer to the time limitation provided herein, and shall be filed in the office of the Prothonotary with copies served upon all other parties.
(d) If a praecipe for the trial list is signed by or on behalf of all parties, all discovery shall be deemed completed, without compliance with paragraph (c) hereof.
(e) Each month the court administrator shall schedule for trial an appropriate number of cases and shall select them in the order of their commencement, except as otherwise directed by the court. Written notice of the scheduling of the trial shall forthwith be given to all counsel.
Rule L310 Court Calendar
At the beginning of each calendar year, the court shall publish in the Mercer County Law Journal, a court calendar for the current year which shall have the effect of a rule of court for the matters and dates set forth therein.
Rule L312 Security for Costs
(a) The defendant or any interested party may require the plaintiff who resides out of state, or who is in bankruptcy, or has insolvency proceedings pending against him, to file security for costs.
(b) The court, by special order upon cause shown, may require a plaintiff or a defendant who seeks affirmative relief to enter security for costs.
(c) The claimant in a sheriff's interpleader issue shall be construed to be a plaintiff within the meaning of this rule.
(d) In default of security entered at the time fixed by the court, judgment of default or other appropriate court order may be made in favor of the party obtaining the order.
Rule L315 Bills of Costs
(a) Bills of costs must contain the names of the witnesses, the dates of their attendance, the number of miles actually traveled by them, and the place from which mileage is claimed. The bill shall be verified by the affidavit of the party filing it or by his/her agent or attorney that the witnesses named were actually present in court, and that, in his opinion, they were material witnesses. A copy of the bill of costs shall be served on opposing counsel.
(b) The party upon whom a bill of costs has been served may, within ten (10) days after such service, file exception thereto, and the issue shall be determined by the court. Failure to file exception within ten (10) days shall be deemed a waiver of all objections.
Rule 316.1 Judgment by Agreement
Except in actions to which a minor or an incapacitated person is a party and in actions for wrongful death in which a minor or incapacitated person has an interest, verdicts and non-suits, and judgments by agreement may be entered at any time but only upon written stipulation signed by the parties or by their counsel of record and filed in the case.
Rule L316.3 Striking or Opening Judgments
(a) Petition to open or strike a judgment shall be made to the court and, upon cause shown, a rule may be granted to show cause why the judgment should not be opened or stricken and the petitioner let in to a defense, with any further order proper in the discretion of the court. If a rule is granted by the court, a copy of the petition and order made thereto, shall be served upon the plaintiff or his attorney of record within five (5) days from the date of the order. It shall be the duty of the plaintiff, if he desires to make answer to the petition, to file said answer within twenty (20) days after service of the petition and order upon him or his attorney of record, unless the period for filing of an answer is otherwise ordered by the court, and also to serve a copy of said answer upon petitioner or his attorney of record at the time of filing the same.
(b) The prayer of the petition shall set forth whether a supersedeas is requested or not.
(c) In instances of petitions after execution has been issued, the court may, in its discretion, order a bond be filed for costs. Unless the order of the court provides otherwise, in cases where there is a levy made, the lien of any levy shall remain and continue until the matter is finally disposed of.
Rule L316.4 Judgments: Re-Indexing
Judgments entered on confession may be subsequently re-indexed against any defendant under any alias name upon the plaintiff's attorney filing a praecipe therefore supported by an affidavit that such alias defendant is the same person against whom the judgment was originally entered and indexed. The subsequent re-indexing shall be noted on the docket at the original number and term and shall be re-indexed on a separate line in the judgment index, clearly showing the date of such re-indexing.
Rule L320 Termination of Inactive Cases
During the month of July of each year, the Prothonotary shall determine in which matters not concluded there has been no activity during the previous two years. The Prothonotary shall then give notice in each such matter as provided by Pa. R.J.A. 1901(c). If no action is taken, or no written objection stating good cause is filed in such matter within 30 days, the Prothonotary shall enter an order terminating the matter. If written objection is filed in such matter within 30 days, the Prothonotary shall list the matter for the next available Argument List without further praecipe and give notice to all parties. Failure of the objector to appear and to show good cause may result in the dismissal of the action. Where publication is required, such publication shall be twice printed in the Mercer County Law Journal.
Rule L321 Auditors and Auditors' Reports
(a) Auditors shall be appointed by the Court sua sponte or upon petition.
(b) Auditors' hearings shall be held at the Courthouse except with leave of court and testimony shall be taken by a court stenographer or by a stenographer agreed upon by the parties.
(c) Auditors shall give all parties notice of the time and place of hearings before them and give public notice by advertisement once per week for two successive weeks in the Mercer County Law Journal and in one daily newspaper of general circulation of this county, stating that all persons must prove their claims or they will be disallowed. Auditors shall obtain from the assignors or debtors, a list of their creditors, and if the proceeds of the sale of real estate are to be distributed, identify all liens and encumbrances thereon and award distribution after determining any objections thereto.
(d) Argument before the court shall be confined to the exceptions filed with the auditor. The court may take additional testimony on exceptions if justice requires.
(e) When facts are controverted before the auditor, he/she shall report the proven facts in a concise form and shall state concisely the questions of law raised before rendering decisions thereon, with the reasons therefore. When distribution is made a schedule of the liens on the funds, paid and unpaid, shall be made and presented with the report showing the disposition made. All testimony shall be returned separately and filed with the report.
(f) Upon a claim of misconduct or unreasonable delay on the part of any auditor, the court may either vacate the appointment or issue a rule to show cause why the auditor should not proceed forthwith in the duties of appointment.
Rule L323 Assignees For Creditors
(a) Assignees for the benefit of creditors and receivers shall, after they have entered security, give notice of their appointment, to every creditor and party in interest of whom they have knowledge, and shall also publish notice thereof once a week for two successive weeks in the Mercer County Law Journal and in one newspaper of general circulation published within the county.
(b) The assignee shall file with the account a petition for distribution in form similar to that of petitions for distribution required by the Orphans' Court Division of this Court and all such accounts and petitions for distribution shall be filed in the office of the Prothonotary.
(c) The assignee shall give written notice of the filing of the account, the petition for distribution and of the call for the audit or confirmation thereof to all interested parties. Such notice shall be given by mailing to the last known address of such parties, at least three weeks before the presentation of the account to the court, and shall also be published by the Prothonotary for two successive weeks in one newspaper of general circulation published in Mercer County and in the Mercer County Law Journal.
(d) Any account filed for audit and confirmation shall be audited preliminarily by the Prothonotary and then presented to the court, together with the proofs of publication and proof of the giving of the required notice to interested parties at the time fixed for the audit or confirmation thereof. If no exceptions have been filed, the account may be confirmed absolutely.
Rule L324 Sheriff
It shall be the duty of the sheriff, or his/her deputy, to be always present in the Courthouse during the sitting of a court and promptly to execute all orders of the court and process issued.
Rule L325 Surveyors
(a) All cases affecting real estate wherein questions of boundary or of conflicting surveys may arise, the court, on application of any party, or a judge at chambers, on proof of ten days' notice to all the other parties or their attorneys of such intended applications, may appoint a registered civil engineer or professional land surveyor who, upon reasonable notice to both parties, shall survey and ascertain such boundaries and conflicts and furnish a diagram thereof describing the same, and any other circumstances material to a proper investigation of the subject, and if, on trial, or otherwise, such survey appears to have been necessary or proper, the reasonable expenses of the same shall be taxed and paid as other costs.
(b) The person so appointed, before entering upon his/her duties, shall take or subscribe an oath of affirmation that he/she will impartially, to the best of his/her skill and judgment, do and perform all things enjoined and required of him/her under said appointment, which oath or affirmation shall be filed in the cause.
Rule L326 Money Paid Into Court
(a) A party to an action may, upon motion and such notice to the adverse party as the court may direct, pay into court the amount admitted to be due, together with costs, if any. The party entitled to the money may accept the money and settle and discontinue the action or may refuse the money and proceed with the action. If the adverse party shall not recover more than the amount paid into court, all additional costs shall be deducted from the money. This tender into court shall in no way alter the rights of the parties as to legal tender made before suit.
(b) Parties wishing to extinguish liens upon real estate in which they have an interest may, on motion and such notice to the creditor as the court may direct, pay into court the amount due and have satisfaction entered upon the lien.
(c) Upon payment of money into court, it shall be deposited by the Prothonotary in an account in the name of the Prothonotary kept for such purposes, and shall be payable only by a check signed by the Prothonotary pursuant to order of court. A book shall be kept in the office of the Prothonotary, in which shall be entered all moneys paid into court, with the name of the case in which it shall have been paid.
(d) In matters of bulk transfer, the petition of the transferee shall, inter alia, provide the name, address and amount of claims of creditors of the transferor insofar as known to the transferee and may request the appointment of an auditor. If the petition be approved by the court, an auditor may be appointed to determine which creditors of the transferor are entitled to recommend distribution to the court. The auditor shall give notice of appointment. Notice of the time of filing claims shall be given to the transferors and transferees, or their attorneys, by registered or certified mail to each known creditor whose name and address is set forth in the petition.
Rule L327 Law Library
(a) The Mercer County Law Library shall be managed by a law librarian. A Law Library committee shall be appointed by the President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County and shall consist of three (3) members of the Mercer County Bar Association.
(b) The committee shall recommend to the President Judge such rules and regulations for the management of the library as may be expedient and necessary for its proper care and preservation.
(c) The Mercer County Law Library shall provide research facilities for the Court of Common Pleas, Mercer County Bar Association, county offices and the general public. As mandated by Title 42 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute, Section 3724, the County Law Library shall receive from the county such necessary funds, accommodations, goods and services, as shall be specified by general rules or recommendations of the State Law Library. The law library shall also be operated in conformity with the Rules of the Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County and shall be available to the general public.
Rule L328 Official Legal Publication
The Mercer County Law Journal is designated as the place of legal publication for the publication of legal notices.
Rule L329 Pre-Trial Order
(a) Upon receipt of a praecipe for the trial list, the court shall issue an order in the form set forth below providing for the parties to object to the certification of the case as being ready for trial, limiting the taking of depositions for use at trial, and providing for the scheduling of the trial and the pre-trial conference.
(b) All depositions for use at trial shall be completed not later than five (5) days after the date of the pre-trial conference as scheduled by the court administrator, and the order shall so provide.
(c) Any party who does not agree with the praecipe's certification of the readiness of the case for trial shall file a written objection to the certification within ten (10) days of the entry of the order. The written objection shall include a proposed court order setting the date and time for a hearing on this objection. For good cause shown at the hearing, the case will be stricken from the trial list. If no written objections to the certification are filed, continuances from the trial list will not be granted except for compelling circumstances not known to counsel for the parties at the time the order is entered.
(d) Appropriate sanctions may be imposed for failure to comply with the order, including the striking of the case from the trial list and the assessment of attorney's fees and costs resulting from the delay. The court's contempt powers and the availability of damages for delay under Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 238 are not limited by this rule.
AND NOW, this ____ day of ______ , 20 ____ , this case having been praeciped onto the trial list and the party filing the praecipe having thereby certified pursuant to Local Rule of Court L309 that all motions have been disposed of, that all discovery has been completed, and that this case is ready for trial, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED AND DECREED that any party who does not agree with that certification shall file a written objection to the certification within ten (10) days of the entry of this Order. If any objection is filed, a hearing will be scheduled on the objection to determine whether the case should be stricken from the trial list. The written objection shall include a proposed Order setting the date and time for this hearing. Whether or not written objections are filed, the Court Administrator will place this case on the trial list for ______ and schedule the pre-trial conference for the _____ day of ______ , 20 ____ . No continuances from the trial list will be granted hereafter by reason of the need to take or complete depositions for use at trial or on the basis that the case is not otherwise ready for trial, unless a timely, written objection to the certification of readiness for trial is filed.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND DECREED that, if this case is not stricken from the trial list, all depositions to perpetuate testimony for use at trial shall be completed not later than five days after the pre-trial conference date scheduled by the Court Administrator. In their pre-trial statements required by Local Rule of Court L212, the parties shall list all depositions taken or to be taken to perpetuate testimony for use at trial. For those depositions yet to be taken, the parties shall list the dates and times within the five days after the pre-trial conference when they will be taken.
Failure to comply with this Order shall result in appropriate sanctions, including the striking of the case from the trial list and the assessment of attorney's fees and costs resulting from the delay. This Court's contempt powers and the availability of damages for delay under Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 238 are not limited by this Order.
The purpose of this Order is to insure that this case, which has been certified as ready for trial, is in fact in that posture. It is the intention of this Court that meaningful stipulations and settlement discussions occur at the pre-trial conference and that the integrity of the trial list be preserved. There shall be no variations from this procedure.
BY THE COURT:
Francis J. Fornelli,
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