Adopted Civil Rule of Procedure No. 1001 and Amended Rule of Civil Procedure No. 1018.1; No. S-2976-2008
[38 Pa.B. 5951]
[Saturday, November 1, 2008]
Order of Court
And Now, this 14th day of October, 2008, at 12:30 p.m., the Court hereby adopts Schuylkill County Rule of Procedure No. 1001 and amends Civil Rule of Procedure No. 1018.1. These rules are adopted and amended for use in the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania (21st Judicial District) and shall be effective thirty (30) days after publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
The Prothonotary of Schuylkill County is Ordered and Directed to do the following:
1) File ten (10) certified copies of this Order and the Rules with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts; and,
2) File two (2) certified copies of this Order and the Rules with the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin together with a CD-ROM reflecting the text in the hard copy version; and,
3) File one (1) certified copy of this Order and Rules with the Pennsylvania Civil Procedural Rules Committee; and,
4) Forward one (1) copy to the Schuylkill County Law Library for publication in the Schuylkill Legal Record; and,
5) Keep continuously available for public inspection copies of this Order and the Rules.
It is further Ordered that said rules as they existed prior to the adoption are hereby repealed and annulled on the effective date of said rules as adopted, but no right acquired thereunder shall be disturbed.
By the Court
WILLIAM E. BALDWIN,
SCHUYLKILL COUNTY LOCAL RULE 1001.0 Mediation
a. General Applicability. Every civil action, except protection from abuse matters, filed in the Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas is eligible for mediation. Prior to filing suit and whenever practicable thereafter, parties and their counsel are encouraged to consider and to pursue mediation options. The pursuit of mediation does not toll the running of a Statute of Limitations unless all parties agree in writing to that effect.
b. Procedure for Mediation in Non-Jury Civil Trials, Civil Jury Trial and Cases Subject to Arbitration. Parties and their attorneys in all civil cases which will result in a non-jury civil trial, civil jury trial or arbitration may mutually elect to pursue mediation at any point before a case is listed for trial or arbitration. All parties and their attorneys who mutually elect to pursue mediation shall prepare a stipulation in writing which shall immediately be filed with the Prothonotary's Office.
c. Certifications in Non-Jury Civil Trials, Civil Jury Trials and Cases Subject to Arbitration. All certificates of readiness filed with the Court Administrator in accordance with Schuylkill County Rule 212.1 listing a case for a Non-Jury Civil Trial, a Civil Jury Trial or Arbitration shall contain a certification that mediation was pursued or, if not, was the subject of good faith consideration by counsel and all parties. All pre-trial conference memoranda filed in accordance with Schuylkill County Local Rule 212.2 shall include certification by the attorney submitting the same that mediation has been previously pursued or, if mediation has not been pursued, that the topic of mediation was discussed not only by counsel with their clients but also by all counsel and/or pro se parties and rejected only after good faith consideration.
d. Mediation Programs. Parties and their attorneys are encouraged to use mediation to resolve disputes either through the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program administered by the Schuylkill County Bar Association or any other mediation program acceptable to the parties.
Comment: Parties and their attorneys are encouraged to use mediation as a means to bring disputes to conclusion economically and expeditiously. While mediation is voluntary, the Court may feel strongly that the use of mediation will conclude pending litigation. Parties and their attorneys are urged to accept the advice of the Court when mediation is suggested as a means to resolve the case. The Court may recommend that the parties in any civil case, except protection from abuse matters, utilize mediation or other alternative dispute resolution processes, including, but not necessarily limited to, services offered by the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program as administered through the Schuylkill County Bar Association whenever it appears to the judge presiding in such case that mediation or other alternative dispute resolution processes are likely to resolve the case. An issue may arise regarding insurance policies, and particularly professional negligence policies, wherein ultimate approval of a settlement rests with the insured. The use of mediation may lead parties to evaluate their positions and achieve a mutually acceptable resolution. This rule cannot rewrite an insurance contract, but participation in mediation may educate all interests with respect to the merits of resolving a pending dispute without protracted litigation. All parties should come to the mediation process with appropriate motivations. The process should be used in good faith; for example, it should not be used as an alternative means for discovery. It is anticipated that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court may enact rules directing certain types of cases to use alternative dispute resolution processes, including mediation, as a prerequisite step for certification prior to trial. This rule is adopted in anticipation of such and will be amended to comply with the mandates of any future rules adopted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Rule 1018.1. Notice to Defend. Form.
(a) Every complaint filed by a plaintiff and every complaint filed by a defendant against an additional defendant shall begin with a Notice to Defend, followed by a Notice Concerning Mediation.
(c)(1) Pennsylvania Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service, 100 South Street, P. O. Box 186, Harrisburg, PA 17108, Telephone 1-800-692-7375, is designated as the organization or agency to be named in the notice to defend from which legal help can be obtained.
(d) The required Notice to Defend and the Notice Concerning Mediation shall be in substantially the following form:
IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF
SCHUYLKILL COUNTY CIVIL ACTION--LAW
Plaintiff : No. : v. : : Defendant :
YOU HAVE BEEN SUED IN COURT. If you wish to defend against the claims set forth in the following pages, you must take action within twenty (20) days after this complaint and notice are served, by entering a written appearance personally or by attorney and filing in writing with the court your defenses or objections to the claims set forth against you. You are warned that if you fail to do so the case may proceed without you and a judgment may be entered against you by the court without further notice for any money claimed in the complaint or for any other claim or relief requested by the plaintiff. You may lose money or property or other rights important to you. YOU SHOULD TAKE THIS PAPER TO YOUR LAWYER AT ONCE. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A LAWYER, GO TO OR TELEPHONE THE OFFICE SET FORTH BELOW. THIS OFFICE CAN PROVIDE YOU WITH INFORMATION ABOUT HIRING A LAWYER. IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO HIRE A LAWYER, THIS OFFICE MAY BE ABLE TO PROVIDE YOU WITH INFORMATION ABOUT AGENCIES THAT MAY OFFER LEGAL SERVICES TO ELIGIBLE PERSONS AT A REDUCED FEE OR NO FEE.
PENNSYLVANIA BAR ASSOCIATION LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICE
100 South Street, P. O. Box 186
Harrisburg, PA 17108
NOTICE CONCERNING MEDIATION OF ACTIONS PENDING BEFORE THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF SCHUYLKILL COUNTY
The Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County believe that mediation of lawsuits is a very important component of dispute resolution. Virtually all lawsuits can benefit in some manner from mediation.
The Court has adopted Schuylkill County Local Rule 1001 to encourage the use of mediation. This early alert enables litigants to determine the best time during the life of their lawsuit for a mediation session. The intent of this early alert is to help the parties act upon the requirement to consider good faith mediation at the optimal time.
The Schuylkill County Bar Association provides mediation services and can be reached at (570) 628-1235. Free mediation sessions for pro bono cases referred by MidPenn Legal Services are available through the Schuylkill County Bar Association.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 08-1962. Filed for public inspection October 31, 2008, 9:00 a.m.]
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