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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 06-87



[231 PA. CODE CHS. 200 AND 2250]

Promulgation and Amendment of Notes to Rules Governing Notice of Orders and Joinder of Additional Defendants; Proposed Recommendation No. 208

[36 Pa.B. 272]

   The Civil Procedural Rules Committee proposes that the note to Rule of Civil Procedure 236(d) governing notice by the prothonotary of the entry of an order or judgment be amended and that notes to Rules 2252(d) and 2255(b) governing joinder of additional defendants be promulgated, as set forth herein. The proposed recommendation is being submitted to the bench and bar for comments and suggestions prior to its submission to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

   All communications in reference to the proposed recommendation should be sent not later than March 1, 2006 to:

Harold K. Don, Jr.,
Civil Procedural Rules Committee
5035 Ritter Road, Suite 700
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania 17055

or E-Mail to

   The Explanatory Comment which appears in connection with the proposed recommendation has been inserted by the Committee for the convenience of the bench and bar. It will not constitute part of the rules of civil procedure or be officially adopted or promulgated by the Court.

Annex A




Rule 236.  Notice by Prothonotary of Entry of Order or Judgment.

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   (d)  The prothonotary may give the notice required by subdivision (a) or notice of other matters by facsimile transmission or other electronic means if the party to whom the notice is to be given or the party's attorney has filed a written request for such method of notification or has included a facsimile or other electronic address on a prior legal paper filed in the action.

   Official Note: Except as provided by subdivision (a)(1) relating to the entry of a judgment by confession, Rule 236 does not prescribe a particular method of giving notice. Methods of notice properly used by the prothonotary include, but are not limited to, service via United States mail and courthouse mail. Subdivision (d) governs facsimile transmission and other electronic means if the prothonotary chooses to use such a method.

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Rule 2252.  Right to Join Additional Defendants.

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   (d)  If the person sought to be joined is a party, the joining party shall, without moving for severance or the filing of a praecipe for a writ or a complaint, assert in the answer as new matter that such party is alone liable to the plaintiff or liable over to the joining party or jointly or severally liable to the plaintiff or liable to the joining party directly setting forth the ground therefor. The case shall proceed thereafter as if such party had been joined by a writ or a complaint.

   Official Note: In providing for the joinder as an additional defendant of a person already a party to the action, Rule 2252(d) is a device for asserting a cross-claim between defendants and additional defendants.

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Rule 2255.  Procedure.

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   (b)  No pleadings shall be filed between the additional defendant and any party other than the one joining the additional defendant except that the additional defendant may file a counterclaim against the plaintiff.

   Official Note: In an action in which there is more than one additional defendant, Rule 2255(b) does not bar proceedings pursuant to Rule 2252(d) either between the additional defendants inter se or between the additional defendants and any other party to the action.

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Explanatory Comment

I.  Amendment to the note to Rule 236(d)

   Rule 236 governs the notice to be given by the prothonotary of the entry of an order or judgment. The proposed amendment to the first paragraph of the note to subdivision (d) of the rule arises from a suggestion that Rule 236 specifically provide for notice by courthouse mail, i.e., placing a copy of the order in the attorney's courthouse mailbox.

   Except with respect to subdivision (a)(1) which provides for notice by ''ordinary mail'' of the entry of a judgment by confession, the rule ''does not prescribe a particular method of giving notice.'' Subdivision (d) relating to notice by facsimile transmission is applicable only if the prothonotary chooses that method of notice.

   Since the rule does not prescribe a particular means of notice except as to judgments entered by confession, the rule already accommodates notice by courthouse mail. The proposed revision to the first paragraph of the note to subdivision (d) expressly states the existing availability of courthouse mail as a method of giving notice. The revision effects no change in practice or procedure.

II.  Amendments to Rule 2252(d) and 2255(b)

   Attorneys frequently raise the issue of the relationship of Rules 2252(d) and 2255(b) governing the joinder of additional defendants. Rule 2252(d) provides that a person already a party to an action may be joined as an additional defendant by asserting the basis for joinder in the answer to the complaint as new matter. Rule 2255(b) limits the filing of pleadings between the additional defendant and parties other than the party joining the additional defendant with the exception that a counterclaim may be filed by the additional defendant against the plaintiff.

   The new notes proposed to be added to Rules 2252(d) and 2255(b) are intended to make clear that Rule 2255(b) does not bar the assertion of a cross-claim between parties to an action. Specifically, a defendant or an additional defendant may assert a claim against another party to the action through the joinder rules. See the commentary to the 1969 amendments to Rule 2252 in XLI Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly 33 (October 1969)) and Goodrich-Amram (1st ed. Supplement 1977) (''Further, the Committee decided to enlarge the scope of the additional defendant practice to permit the equivalent of the cross-claim between two defendants under the federal rules.''). See also Findlay Twp. v. Ryan Homes, Inc., 279 Pa. Superior Ct. 294, 420 A.2d 1241 (1980) (''Therefore the object of the rule was to limit pleadings generally and allow responsive pleadings only between those parties properly joined and having adverse interests.'' ''We find no conflict between Rules 2252(d) and 2255(b) . . .'')

By the Civil Procedural Rules Committee


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 06-87. Filed for public inspection January 20, 2006, 9:00 a.m.]

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