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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 04-1235



Administrative Order 2004-1 Amendments to Rules of Civil Procedure to Comply with Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure Governing Motion Practice Adopted October 24, 2003, No. 401 Civil Procedure Rule Doc. No. 5; C-48-CV-2004-4650

[34 Pa.B. 3593]

Administrative Order

   And Now, this 17th day of June, 2004, it is hereby ordered:

   1.  Rules N206, N209, N210, N211, N1034, N1035, and N2039 are amended as follows; and

   2.  Rules N208.3(a) and N1028(c) are adopted.

   3.  The effective date of these rules is July 26, 2004.

By the Court

President Judge

N206.4(c) Procedure for Issuance of Rule to Show Cause

   (i)  A rule to show cause shall be issued as of course pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 206.6 (a), (b), and local Rule N206.6 (c)--form of order.

   (ii)  Rules to show cause shall be presented in Motions Court, exempt from the notice requirements contained in N208.3(a), and may be presented ex parte. However, the notice requirement of N208.3(a) shall be met if a stay of proceedings is sought.

   (iii)  The court may grant a stay of proceedings upon a showing of good cause.

   (iv)  Upon the issuance of a rule to show cause, the moving party shall list the matter for disposition in accordance with N209 or N211, unless the order of court provides otherwise.

   (v)  Upon the presentation of a rule to show cause for a petition to open a default judgment, a request for a stay of execution pending disposition shall be granted upon a showing of good cause.

   (vi)  The petitioner shall attach to the Petition a proposed Order substantially in the following form:



   AND NOW, this ______ day of ______ , ______ , upon consideration of the foregoing petition, it is hereby ordered 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 days of service upon the respondent;

   (3)  the petition shall be decided under Pa.R.C.P. No. 206.7;

   (4)  an evidentiary hearing on disputed issues of material fact shall be held on ______ , _____ , at _____ a.m./p.m., in courtroom No. _____ of the Northampton County Government Center, 669 Washington Street, Easton, Pennsylvania;

   (5)  notice of the entry of this order shall be provided to all parties by the petitioner and proof of service filed of record.

_________________ J.

   EXPLANATORY COMMENT--2004:  Counsel for the moving party should be mindful of local rule N209 relating to the anticipated time required to complete an evidentiary hearing and whether the matter should be scheduled for a miscellaneous hearing list or non-jury trial list. In certain cases, such as guardianship proceedings, the evidentiary hearing can be held in Motions Court. Counsel should be prepared to advise the court of the suggested forum for the evidentiary hearing and the proposed date and time for the hearing.

   All Northampton County Local Rules are available at the Northampton County Court Web Site (www.nccpa. org).

N208.3(a) Procedure Governing Motions

   1.  Motions Court is held each day at 9:00 a.m. Motions which do not require the taking of testimony may be presented to the motions judge only after a copy of the motion and the proposed order of court have been served on all counsel of record and any unrepresented party at least three (3) business days prior to the intended date of presentation.

   2.  Notice of the date, time, and place of presentation must accompany the copy of the motion and proposed order of court. Service may be made in any manner, including facsimile transmission, which results in the service of the required documents at least three (3) business days before the day of presentation.

   3.  The presenting party must attach to the motion a certification of compliance with this rule setting forth the date on which the motion was served on counsel and unrepresented parties, and the manner of service.

   4.  Compliance with the time requirements may be excused by the motions judge if it appears that reasonable notice has been attempted or given, and immediate and irreparable injury will be sustained if relief is denied.

   EXPLANATORY COMMENT:  The purpose of this rule is to foster the use of Motion Court practice for all matters which are not likely to require lengthy evidentiary hearings or involve argument on complex legal issues. Nevertheless, sufficient notice and receipt of the motion or petition and proposed order of court is required by law and fundamental fairness. Counsel desiring to take advantage of Motions Court practice must be diligent in complying with the notice requirement. For purposes of this rule, the use of the term ''business day'' and the computation of the required three (3) day notice period shall be governed by and construed consistent with Pa.R.C.P. 106 (Computation of Time).

N209 Miscellaneous Hearing and Non-Jury Trial Lists.

   (a)  Time Limits

   1.  Matters reasonably anticipated to require less than (30) minutes may be placed onto a miscellaneous list.

   2.  Matters anticipated to require more than (30) minutes shall be placed onto a non-jury trial list.

   (b)  Procedure-Miscellaneous Hearings.

   1.  Proceedings may be listed for miscellaneous hearing either by filing with the clerk of court an original and one copy of a praecipe or by order of court. The court administrator shall prepare a hearing list of such cases.

   2.  When proceedings are placed on a hearing list by praecipe, notice thereof shall be given to opposing counsel or unrepresented parties at least seven (7) days before the date of hearing.

   (c)  Procedure-Non-Jury Trials.

   1.  Proceedings may be listed for a non-jury trial list either by filing with the clerk of court an original and one copy of a praecipe or by order of court. The court administrator shall prepare a non-jury trial list of such cases.

   2.  When proceedings are placed on a non-jury trial list by praecipe of counsel, notice thereof shall be given to opposing counsel or unrepresented parties at least (30) days before the date of trial.

N210 Content of Briefs

   (a)  Form. Each brief shall be typewritten, printed or otherwise duplicated, endorsed with the name of the case, the court, the number, and the name, address and telephone number of the attorney or unrepresented party.

   (b)  Content. The brief shall include a statement of the facts, a statement of the questions involved, and the argument.

   (1)  The statement of the facts shall, depending upon the nature of the case, consist of an abstract of the testimony or of the pleadings or both, and shall include a procedural history of the case.

   (2)  The statement of questions involved must be so drawn that the court may quickly determine all the legal questions to be decided.

   (3)  The argument shall be divided into as many parts as there are questions involved. Citations of authority shall be accurately designated, shall set forth the volume and page number where they appear, and shall set forth the exact citation of the principles for which they are cited. Whenever a Pennsylvania statute is cited, the pertinent title and section number of Purdon's Statutes shall also accompany said citation.

   (4)  Whenever testimony is abstracted or referred to, it must contain reference to the pages of the transcript where the supporting evidence may be found.

   (c)  Penalty for Noncompliance. Failure to conform to any requirement of this rule shall constitute a default for which the cause may be continued or stricken off the list or the application of the party in default refused, as the court may deem just and proper.

N211 Argument Lists

   (a)  Nature of Case. The argument list shall consist only of cases in which a question of law is to be determined.

   (b)  Procedure. Proceedings may be listed for argument by order of court or by the filing with the Clerk of Court an original and one copy of a praecipe by counsel not later than twenty (20) days before the argument court. The Court Administrator shall prepare an argument list consisting of all cases ordered thereon either by the court or by counsel.

   Counsel ordering a case on the list by praecipe (or the Court Administrator in cases ordered on by the court) shall give notice thereof to the adverse party at least twenty (20) days before the date set for argument.

   (c)  Time for Filing Praecipe and Briefs. Counsel ordering the case on the argument list shall file a brief simultaneously with the filing of the praecipe for argument, and shall serve a copy on the adverse party at least twenty (20) days before the date set for argument. The clerk shall not accept a praecipe for argument without the moving party's brief. The respondent shall deliver a brief to the moving party and file a copy with the clerk at least five (5) days before the date set for argument.

   In cases ordered on the argument list by the court, the time for filing briefs shall be in accordance with the schedule established by the court in that particular case. Where no such schedule has been established, the moving party shall file and serve a brief at least twenty (20) days before the date set for argument. The respondent shall deliver a brief to the moving party and file a copy with the clerk at least five (5) days before the date set for argument.

   In all cases, the clerk shall promptly forward all briefs to the Court Administrator. No supplemental brief shall be filed except upon special allowance by the court and within such time as the court may direct.

   In cases involving preliminary objections, motion for judgment on the pleadings, and motions for summary judgment, see rules N1028, N1034, or N1035 for additional requirements. If a party fails to file a praecipe for argument and a brief within a reasonable period of time following the filing of a motion or petition and the closing of the record, the adverse party may seek dismissal of the motion or petition.

   Comment:  See N210 Content of Briefs.

   (d)  Record for Argument. No case shall be placed on the argument list unless the record made either by depositions or at a hearing or trial shall be actually on file at the time the case is placed on the list, unless (1) counsel files a stipulation of the material facts, or (2) the court specifically directed that the case be placed on the list.

   (e)  Continuance. Continuances of the case on the list may be granted for cause shown or upon agreement of counsel with approval of the court. The continuances shall be a continuance to the next argument court unless a specific date for further argument is specified by the court at the time the continuance is granted, in which case the Court Administrator shall so list the case without further praecipe.

   (f)  Oral Argument. When each case is called, the parties shall state to the court (1) whether briefs are filed and (2) whether any party requests oral argument on the matter before the court. Cases on the argument list may be submitted on briefs, if all parties agree to waive oral argument. If all parties agree to submission on briefs, counsel need not appear for the call of the argument list; rather, counsel for the moving party shall provide written notice to the Court Administrator that all parties agree that the case may be submitted on the briefs.

   (g)  Non-Jury Cases. When required by the court in cases tried without a jury, the parties shall furnish to the court proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.

   (h)  Land Use Appeals. Whenever a zoning hearing board or other applicable governing body of a municipality is required under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code to certify its record to the court in response to a writ of certiorari in a land use appeal, the record shall contain a copy of the entire zoning ordinance, building code or other ordinance, with the relevant portions indicated therein, and a copy of the zoning map of the municipality.

N1028(c) Procedure for Disposition of Preliminary Objections

   Preliminary objections shall be resolved on an argument list, and shall be filed and briefed in conformity with Rule N211.

   (1)  When the preliminary objections can be resolved from facts of record and no evidentiary hearing is required, within twenty (20) days after the filing of preliminary objections, the objecting party shall file a praecipe and accompanying brief in support of the objections with the Clerk of Courts-Civil in conformity with Rule N211.

   (2)  When the preliminary objections are endorsed with a notice to plead because the objections involve issues that cannot be determined from facts of record, the preliminary objections shall be filed and appropriate time shall be allowed for the responding party to file a response before the objecting party shall praecipe the objections for an evidentiary hearing in compliance with Rule N209; once the evidentiary record has been made, the objecting party shall file a praecipe and accompanying brief in support of the objections in conformity with Rule N211.

   (3)  If a brief is not filed in accordance with this rule, the preliminary objections shall be dismissed by the court as of course, unless the time for filing has been extended by the court.

N1034(a.) Procedure for Disposition of a Motion for Judgment on Pleadings

   A motion for judgment on pleadings shall be resolved on an argument list. It shall set forth specifically the reasons upon which it is based, and it shall be filed and briefed in conformity with Rule N211.

N1035.2(a.) Procedure for Disposition of a Motion for Summary Judgment

   1.  When a motion for summary judgment is filed it shall be accompanied by the necessary record. The motion shall be resolved on an argument list unless otherwise ordered by the judge to whom a case has been pre-assigned.

   2.  Thirty (30) days shall be allowed for the responding party to file a response and supplemental record in conformity with Pa.R.Civ. P. 1035.3.

   3.  The moving party shall then file a brief and accompanying praecipe in conformity with Rule N211.

   4.  A motion for summary judgment shall be submitted for decision no later than ninety (90) days prior to the date scheduled for commencement of trial, unless otherwise allowed by order of court.

N2039 Compromise Settlement and Physician's Statement of Extent of Injury

   A petition for minor's compromise shall be presented at motions court. In cases involving personal injury, the necessary medical documentation establishing the nature and extent of the minor's injuries, the present condition, and the prognosis shall be annexed to said petition.

   Comment:  See N208.3.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 04-1235. Filed for public inspection July 9, 2004, 9:00 a.m.]

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