Pennsylvania Code & Bulletin
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 52 Pa.B. 4384 (July 30, 2022).

210 Pa. Code § 69.501. Mediation.

MISCELLANEOUS


§ 69.501. Mediation.

 (a)  Scope; Costs; Mediation Judge; Form of Papers.

   (1)  To facilitate settlement and otherwise assist in the expeditious resolution of matters before the Commonwealth Court, appeals of orders of the courts of common pleas, petitions for review of state administrative agency decisions filed in the Court’s appellate jurisdiction, and matters filed in the Court’s original jurisdiction may be selected for mediation by the Court’s Mediation Program.

   (2)  Tax appeals from orders of the Board of Finance and Revenue, which are subject to a status conference program, shall be excluded from the Mediation Program.

   (3)  Mediation shall be offered at no cost to the parties.

   (4)  Mediation shall be conducted by a Mediation Judge. The Mediation Judge may dispose of motions related to the scheduling of mediation and the mediation process. The Mediation Judge shall have authority to impose any necessary sanctions for the failure of any attorney or party to comply with the requirements of the Mediation Program.

   (5)  The mediation statement required by this section, and any other documents prepared for submission to the Mediation Judge, shall follow the format required by Pa.R.A.P. 124(a).

 (b)  Selection of Cases and Scheduling; Mediation Statement.

   (1)  Counseled matters shall be screened for referral to mediation immediately upon the filing of the Docketing Statement and all attachments as required by Pa.R.A.P. 3706. Any matter not initially screened or selected for mediation may be referred to the Mediation Program at any time upon request of any party or at the direction of any Judge, en banc or three-judge panel of the Court.

   (2)  After a matter has been selected for mediation, the Prothonotary shall notify the parties of the referral to the Mediation Program and the name of the Mediation Judge assigned to conduct mediation. The Mediation Judge, when appropriate, shall promptly contact the parties to establish the location, date and time for mediation.

   (3)  Within ten days of receiving notice of mediation, or as otherwise directed, each party shall submit to the Mediation Judge a confidential mediation statement of no more than five pages, setting forth the positions of the party as to the key disputed and undisputed facts and legal issues in the matter, and stating whether prior settlement negotiations have occurred. The mediation statement shall focus on practical considerations in the matter and the party’s good faith position on resolving issues by compromise and agreement. The mediation statement shall also identify any motions filed in Commonwealth Court and their disposition. The mediation statement shall not be filed with the Prothonotary or served upon opposing parties, and shall remain confidential.

   (4)  All matters referred to mediation shall remain subject to the Court’s normal scheduling for briefing and oral argument. The Prothonotary shall not modify the Court’s briefing or oral argument schedule unless so directed by the Mediation Judge to accommodate mediation.

 (c)  Sessions; Confidentiality; Settlement; Effect of Mediation.

   (1)  All mediation sessions must be attended by each unrepresented party and counsel for each represented party with authority to settle the matter and, if required, such other persons with actual authority to negotiate a settlement, whether involving the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a local government unit, or an individual litigant. The Mediation Judge may at his or her discretion require the parties (or real parties in interest) to attend mediation. In cases involving the Commonwealth government, upon direction of the Mediation Judge, counsel shall have available someone from the appropriate agency with authority to settle who can be reached during mediation to discuss settlement if such person is not already required to attend the mediation session. In the alternative, the Mediation Judge may obtain the name and title of the government official or officials authorized to settle on behalf of the state or local government unit.

   (2)  No future mediation shall be conducted unless the Mediation Judge determines that further sessions are necessary to effectuate a settlement. The Mediation Judge assigned to mediate a matter shall attend all future mediation sessions scheduled in the case.

   (3)  All participants in the Mediation Program shall act with due diligence and in good faith.

   (4)  The Mediation Judge shall not disclose the substance of the mediation settlement discussions and proceedings, and counsel likewise shall not disclose such discussions and proceedings to anyone other than their clients or co-counsel. No information obtained during settlement discussions shall be construed as an admission against interest, and the parties shall not use any information obtained during settlement discussions as the basis for any motion or application other than one related to the Court’s briefing or argument scheduling. All mediation information, documents and communications are to be kept strictly confidential, not to be used or disclosed outside of mediation. All statements made in the course of mediation are for mediation purposes only and are not to be construed as representing the official position of the Mediation Judge, the Court, or any employee thereof.

   (5)  Where settlement is reached, the parties shall prepare a written settlement agreement and obtain all necessary signatures of the parties and counsel. The agreement shall be binding upon the parties to the agreement, and after execution or any necessary approval by a tribunal, the parties shall file a stipulation of dismissal within ten days thereof. Where necessary or upon the request of a party, the Mediation Judge may enter an appropriate order approving the settlement or remanding the matter to the tribunal below for its approval, enforcement, or implementation.

   (6)  Any matter not resolved by mediation shall remain on the Court’s docket and proceed as if mediation had not occurred.

   (7)  A Mediation Judge who reviewed a mediation statement or conducted a mediation session shall not participate in any decision on the merits of the matter. Upon the termination of mediation, either through settlement and dismissal or through a continuation of the matter and final disposition on the Court’s docket, the Mediation Judge shall dispose of all documents obtained during mediation.

   Official Note

   The Commonwealth Court Mediation Program was established and initially governed by Order dated September 15, 1999, effective January 1, 2000. That Order has been withdrawn and supplanted by this section.

Source

   The provisions of this §  69.501 amended January 17, 2020, effective immediately, 50 Pa.B. 657. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (369591) to (369593).



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