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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 07-631



[231 PA. CODE CHS. 1300 AND 3000]

Rescission of Rule 1307(b) Governing Lien of an Award in Compulsory Arbitration; Proposed Recommendation No. 223

[37 Pa.B. 1641]
[Saturday, April 14, 2007]

   The Civil Procedural Rules Committee is proposing the rescission of Rule of Civil Procedure 1307(b) governing the lien of an award in compulsory arbitration. 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 June 1, 2007 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 1307.  Award. Docketing. Notice. Lien. Judgment. Molding the Award.

   (a)  The prothonotary shall

   (1)  enter the award of record

   [(A)]  upon the proper docket, [and

   (B)  when the award is for the payment of money, in the judgment index;

   Official Note:  Rule 3021 governs the requirements for the entry in the judgment index.]

   (2)  immediately send by ordinary mail a copy of the award, with notice of the date and time of its entry on the docket and the amount of a arbitrators' compensation to be paid upon appeal, to each party's attorney of record, or to the party if the party has no attorney of record[;], and

   (3)  note in the docket the date of mailing the notice.

   (b)  [The award for the payment of money when entered in the judgment index shall be a lien on real property located within the county, title to which is recorded in the name of the person against whom the award was entered. The lien shall continue during the pendency of an appeal or until extinguished according to law.] (Rescinded).

   (c)  If no appeal is taken within thirty days after the entry of the award on the docket, the prothonotary on praecipe shall enter judgment on the award.

   Official Note:  Rule 3021(a)(3) requires the prothonotary to immediately enter in the judgment index a judgment entered on praecipe of a party.

   (d)  Where the record and the award disclose an obvious and unambiguous error in the award in mathematics or language, the court, on application of a party within the thirty-day period allowed for appeal, may mold the award to the same extent and with the same effect as the court may mold the verdict of a jury. The filing of such an application shall stay all proceedings including the running of the thirty-day period for appeal until disposition of the application by the court. Any party may file a notice of appeal within the thirty-day appeal period prescribed by Rule 1308(a) or within ten days after disposition of the application, whichever is later.



Rule 3021.  Verdict. Order. Judgment. Entry in Judgment Index.

   (a)  The prothonotary shall immediately enter in the judgment index

   (1)  a verdict or order for a specific sum of money with the notation ''verdict'' or ''order.'' The entry shall state the amount of the verdict or order;

   Official Note:  See also [Rule 1307(a) governing the entry by the prothonotary of an award in compulsory arbitration and] Rule 3027(a) governing the entry by the prothonotary of a writ of revival.

*      *      *      *      *

Rule 3023.  Judgment. Lien. Duration.

*      *      *      *      *

   (b)  A judgment upon a verdict[, an] or order [or an award in compulsory arbitration], when entered in the judgment index, shall

   (1)  continue the lien upon real property located in the county which is subject to the lien of the verdict[,] or order [or award] upon which the judgment is entered, and

   Official Note:  The lien of a verdict or order dates from the time the verdict or order is entered in the judgment index. See Rule 3022(a).

   [The lien of an award in compulsory arbitration dates from entry of the award in the judgment index. See Rule 1307(b).]

*      *      *      *      *

Explanatory Comment

   The lien of an award of arbitrators in compulsory arbitration in Pennsylvania is statutory in origin, derived from the Act of June 16, 1836, P. L. 715, § 24. The Act of 1836 was repealed by the Judiciary Act Repealer Act in 1978 and the new provision of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S. § 7361, does not include the provision relating to the award as a lien. Rule 1307(b) promulgated in 1981 continued the prior practice. As the Civil Procedural Rules Committee stated in Paragraph 17 of its 1981 Explanatory Comment to the new rules governing compulsory arbitration, ''The award when entered by the prothonotary on the docket has the effect of a verdict as a lien on real estate. The lien continues pending appeal. This continues the practice under the Act of 1836.''

   The Committee proposes to change this practice. The award when entered on the docket would no longer have the effect of a verdict on real estate and therefore there would be no lien to continue pending an appeal for a trial de novo. Rather, there would be two scenarios. First, if the defendant pursuant to Rule 1307(c) does not appeal the award of arbitrators within the time required, the plaintiff may enter judgment on the award and that judgment shall be entered in the judgment index as provided by Rule 3021(a)(3) and constitute a lien upon the real estate of the defendant as provided by Rule 3023(a) governing the lien of a judgment. Second, if the defendant does appeal an award for the payment of money, the lien will attach following the verdict of the jury or decision of the court upon the trial de novo as provided by Rule 3022 governing the lien of a verdict or order.

   There are three bases for this proposal. First, a lien should be the consequence of a verdict of a jury or a decision of the court. The award of arbitrators is neither of these. Second, the imposition of a lien presents difficulties to the court and to the defendant when on appeal the award is not sustained but the lien is not removed. If the defendant wishes to sell the real estate following a verdict or decision on the trial de novo in his or her favor, he or she must take action to have the lien removed if the court or the plaintiff has not done so. Finally, the statutes and rules of other states which have adopted compulsory or judicial arbitration do not provide for the award of the arbitrators to be a lien on real property. The rule would thus conform to the practice in other jurisdictions.

By the Civil Procedural Rules Committee


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 07-631. Filed for public inspection April 13, 2007, 9:00 a.m.]

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