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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 97-1849



Adoption of Rules; No. 158 December Term, 1904

[27 Pa.B. 6075]


   And Now, this 3rd day of November 1997, the following Rule L303(1) Supporting Memorandum of Law and Rule L1302 Arbitration are hereby promulgated and adopted for use effective thirty days after the date of publication of the rules in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

By the Court

President Judge

Proposed Rules

   1.  Rule L303(1) Supporting Memorandum of Law shall be amended as follows:

   (a)  ''All motions, exceptions, preliminary objections, and petitions, upon filing, must be supported by a brief or memorandum of law in support thereof. If not so supported, then the motion or exceptions shall be summarily disposed of, unless counsel promptly requests permission for good cause to file the required memorandum or brief at a later date.

   The Court will then fix a date for the filing of a reply brief and for oral argument. If no reply brief is filed as ordered, then the non-filing party will not be heard at oral argument except by leave of Court.

   This rule shall not apply to exceptions taken to the recommendation of the Family Law Master or Permanent Hearing Officer.''

   (b)  By including a note at the end thereof as follows:


   It is not the intention of this rule to require ''full blown'' briefs on simple or routine issues. The extent of memorandums of law or briefs submitted in support of the motion should be in proportion to the complexity of the issue which the motion raises.

   Consequently, a complicated motion, such as a motion for summary judgment, should be supported by a brief or memorandum which fully discusses the facts and the applicable law.

   A routine motion or a motion presenting uncomplicated issues may be supported by a recitation of fact or authority in the motion itself or in a cover letter. In those situations, all that is required is a citation to the appropriate rule, statute or case law which establishes that the movant is entitled to the relief requested and that the Court has the power to grant it.

   Rule L1302 Arbitration shall be amended in its entirety as hereinafter set forth:


   (a)  All cases which are at issue, where the amount in controversy (exclusive of interest and costs) shall be $25,000 or less, except those involving title to real estate, equity actions, actions upon bail bonds and recognizances, actions upon penal statutes, and other actions which do not involve the recovery of money damages, including divorce, mandamus and quo warranto, shall be submitted to and heard and decided by a Board of Arbitration which shall be composed of three (3) attorneys. The Prothonotary shall maintain a list of available arbitrators who shall all be members of the Bar actively engaged in the practice of law primarily in McKean County.

   (b)  Cases which are not at issue, and whether or not suit has been filed, may be submitted to a Board of Arbitration by agreement of reference signed by all parties or their counsel. The agreement of reference shall define the issues to be submitted to the Board, and, when agreeable to the parties, shall also contain stipulations with respect to facts agreed or defenses waived. When a case is submitted to the Board by agreement of reference, the agreement shall take the place of pleadings and shall be filed of record in the office of the Prothonotary and shall be assigned a number and term.

   (c)  Cases shall be placed on the arbitration list by one or more of the parties in the case or their counsel filing a Praecipe for Arbitration, together with a listing fee in the amount of $100. Ten days after the case has been preaciped onto the list, if no objections thereto have been filed, the Prothonotary shall promptly appoint a panel of three (3) arbitrators to hear and decide the case, and shall forward copies of all pleadings and other documents filed in the case to all arbitrators. The chairman so appointed shall forthwith establish the time, date and place of trial and notify all counsel of record, unrepresented parties, and members of the arbitration panel thereof at least 30 days in advance unless a shorter time is stipulated to. All trials shall be held within 60 days of the date the chairman is appointed by the Court. In the event the matter is settled prior to hearing but after the chairman has scheduled a hearing, $50 of the filing fee shall be paid to the chairman as reimbursement for office expenses. In the event the matter has been settled prior to hearing and before the chairman has scheduled a hearing, $50 of the filing fee shall be refunded to the party who paid it. In either event the remaining $50 shall be retained by the Prothonotary to reimburse expenses. The filing fee shall be charged to the party first listing the case for hearing, and only be assessed one time per case.

   (d)  Each member of a Board of Arbitrators who has signed the award shall receive as compensation for his services in each case a fee of Two Hundred Fifty ($250.00) Dollars. In cases requiring hearings of unusual duration or involving questions of unusual complexity, the Court, on petition of the members of the Board and for cause shown, may allow additional compensation. The members of a Board shall not be entitled to receive their fees until after filing an award with the Prothonotary. When the same is filed, the Prothonotary shall issue an order for payment of such fees which shall be immediately paid from County funds as in the case of all other County debts. Fees paid to Arbitrators shall not be taxed as costs nor follow the award as other costs.

   (e)  Before entering upon their duties the members of the Board of Arbitrators shall subscribe to an oath to perform their duties and decide the case submitted to them justly and equitably, and with due diligence, which oath shall be filed with their award. In all cases, a decision by majority of the members of the Board of Arbitrators shall be conclusive.

   (f)  The Board of Arbitrators, or a majority of the members thereof, shall conduct the hearing before them with due regard to the law and according to the established rules of evidence, and shall have the general powers of a court including, but not limited to, the following powers:

   (1)  To issue subpoenas to witnesses to appear before the Board as in other civil actions, and to issue an attachment upon allowance by the Court for failure to comply therewith.

   (2)  To compel the production of all books, papers and documents which they shall deem material to the case.

   (3)  To administer oaths or affirmations to witnesses, to determine the admissibility of evidence, to permit testimony to be offered by deposition, and to decide the law and facts of the case submitted to them.

   (4)  To adjourn their meetings from time to time. Requests for continuances shall be made to the Court of Common Pleas.

   (g)  If, after the appointment of a Board of Arbitrators, but before hearings, one of the members thereof shall die or become incapable of acting, or shall refuse to attend the hearing, or shall remove or depart from the county, the remaining members of the Board shall, upon agreement of the parties, proceed to hear the matter at issue.

   (h)  If a member of the Board dies or becomes incapable of acting, or shall fail or refuse to perform his duties, after hearing but before an award shall be made, the case shall be decided and the award signed by the remaining members of the Board. If they cannot agree, the matters shall be heard de novo by a new Board, to consist of the remaining members plus a third to be appointed by the Prothonotary.

   (i)  The Board shall have the right to proceed ex parte in a proper case if, after due notice, one of the parties fails to appear at the hearing and does not request a continuance for good cause.

   (j)  The Board of Arbitrators shall file an award with the Prothonotary within 20 days after the hearing. The award shall be signed by all or a majority of the members of the Board. The Prothonotary shall file the award and enter the same in the proper dockets and transmit a copy thereof by mail to the parties or their counsel. The Prothonotary shall record any award in the judgment index as verdicts are now recorded.

   (k)  The award, if any, unless appealed from as herein provided, shall be final and shall have all the attributes and legal effect of a judgment entered by a court of competent jurisdiction. If no appeal is taken within the time allotted therefor, execution process may be issued on the award as in the case of other judgments.

   (l)  An appeal from an award by the Board of Arbitrators may be taken pursuant to procedure established in the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure.

   (m)  All appeals shall be de novo. Despite any costs which a successful appellant may recover from the adverse party, he shall nevertheless not be entitled to recover the arbitrators' fees paid by him as a condition of taking his appeal.

   (n)  Any party may file exceptions with the Court from the decision of the Board of Arbitration within twenty (20) days from the filing of the award for either or both of the following reasons and for no other:

   (1)  That the arbitrators misbehaved themselves in the conduct of the case;

   (2)  That the actions of the Board was procured by corruption or other undue means. If such exceptions shall be sustained, the award of the Board shall be vacated by the Court.

   (o)  Any case not arbitrable under the foregoing provisions of this Rule may be submitted to arbitration according to the procedure herein provided, by stipulations of all Parties thereto or their counsel.

   (p)  This Rule shall apply to cases involving more than one claim, including counter claims, if none of such claims exceed $25,000.

   (q)  This Rule shall govern cases pending in the Court of Common Pleas of McKean County on the effective date hereof, and all such cases to which the rule shall be applicable which are listed for trial shall be stricken from the trial list and referred to arbitration under the provisions hereof.

   (r)  The Prothonotary shall provide such printed forms as shall be appropriate to effectuate the provisions of this rule.

   (s)  All rules of this court or portions thereof which are inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 97-1849. Filed for public inspection November 21, 1997, 9:00 a.m.]

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