COURT CIVIL RULES
PART I. GENERAL
[ 246 PA. CODE CH. 500 ]
Recommendation to Revise Rule 507 of the Rules of Conduct, Office Standards and Civil Procedure for Magisterial District Judges
[40 Pa.B. 522]
[Saturday, January 23, 2010]
The Minor Court Rules Committee (Committee) is planning to recommend that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania revise Rule 507 of the Rules of Conduct, Office Standards and Civil Procedure for Magisterial District Judges to eliminate the requirement that a magisterial district judge note on the complaint the date of mailing of the service copy of a complaint in a landlord tenant action, and to make other changes enhancing readability and consistency. The Committee has not yet submitted this proposal for review by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
The following explanatory Report highlights the Committee's considerations in formulating this proposal. The Committee's Report should not be confused with the Committee's Notes to the rules. The Supreme Court does not adopt the Committee's Notes or the contents of the explanatory reports.
We request that interested persons submit written suggestions, comments or objections concerning this proposal to the Committee through counsel,
Pamela S. Walker, Counsel
Minor Court Rules Committee
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Judicial Center
P. O. Box 62635
Harrisburg, PA 17106-2635
fax: (717) 231-9546
no later than February 23, 2010.
By the Minor Court Rules Committee
THOMAS A. PLACEY,
TITLE 246. MINOR COURT CIVIL RULES
PART I. GENERAL
CHAPTER 500. ACTIONS FOR THE RECOVERY OF POSSESSION OF REAL PROPERTY
Rule 507. [Notation and] Return of Service; Waiver of Service.
A. The [magisterial district judge shall note on the complaint form the date on which he mailed a service copy of the complaint to the defendant, and the] sheriff or constable serving a copy of the complaint shall, at or before the time of the hearing, make proof of service on the form provided, which shall show the manner of service and the day, hour and place thereof.
B. The appearance of a defendant in person or by representative or the filing by him of a claim in the case shall be deemed a waiver of any defect in service but not a waiver of a defect in venue.
Official Note: This rule parallels the provisions of Rule 314A and C [of the trespass and assumpsit rules].
Adopted October 15, 1969, effective January 1, 1970. Amended January 29, 1976, effective in 30 days; June 30, 1982, effective 30 days after July 17, 1982; January 6, 2005, effective January 29, 2005; ____ , effective _____ .
Proposed Amendments to the Pennsylvania Rules of Conduct, Office Standards and Civil Procedure for of Magisterial District Judges
ELIMINATING NOTATION OF MAILING DATE OF SERVICE COPY OF COMPLAINT IN LANDLORD TENANT ACTION
The Minor Court Rules Committee (''the Committee'') was contacted by a judicial automation attorney with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts and a judge of the court of common pleas inquiring about the requirement set forth in Pa.R.C.P.M.D.J. No. 507A (''Rule 507A''), which provides that a ''magisterial district judge shall note on the complaint form the date on which he mailed a service copy of the complaint to the defendant.'' Both inquiries observed that, despite the requirement set forth in Rule 507A, the complaint form does not contain a field for such a notation. Moreover, the common pleas judge inquired whether the failure of the magisterial district judge to note the mailing date on the complaint would constitute a failure in service due to the failure to comply with the rule. Because proceedings in magisterial district courts, much more so than in other courts, rely heavily on the use of preprinted standardized forms, the Committee agreed that there should be consistency between the Rule 507A and the complaint form.
After reviewing the inquiries, the Committee examined if the notation requirement should be maintained in Rule 507A or, alternatively, if it should recommend modification of the complaint to provide a field for the magisterial district judge to note the date of mailing of the service copy of the complaint. In its discussion, the Committee noted that the magisterial district judge's handwritten notation is not the most effective means of determining the mailing date, and that better means of demonstrating mailing could be shown via the docketing of the complaint in the automated case management system, the postmark and/or the system generated date that appears on other system generated forms mailed with the service copy of the complaint. The Committee also noted that no other rules require a manual notation of forms mailed via first class mail, and that there should be a presumption of timely mailing of the service copy following case initiation. Finally, the Committee observed that requiring the magisterial district judge to make the manual notation could cause delays in the mailing of the complaint if the magisterial district judge was not immediately available.
Additionally, while reviewing Rule 507A, the Committee discussed the reference to the ''trespass and assumpsit rules'' in the Note. The Committee agreed that this reference is potentially confusing to litigants and inconsistent with most other internal cross-references in the Pennsylvania Rules of Conduct, Office Standards and Civil procedure for Magisterial District Judges.
III. Proposed Rule Changes
To address the issues discussed above, the Committee proposes deleting from Rule 507A the requirement that the magisterial district judge note on the complaint the mailing date of the service copy of the complaint. Additionally, the Committee proposes deleting the reference to the ''trespass and assumpsit rules'' from the Note to Rule 507A.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 10-142. Filed for public inspection January 22, 2010, 9:00 a.m.]
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