L76. Definitions. The words and phrases used in any rule promulgated by this court shall have the meanings as defined in Pa.R.C.P. No. 76 unless the context clearly indicates otherwise or the particular word or phrase is expressly defined elsewhere in these rules.
BUSINESS OF THE CIVIL COURTS
L205.2. Filing Legal Papers with the Prothonotary.
(a) Size of paper. All pleadings, motions, petitions, briefs and other legal documents filed with the Prothonotary shall be on paper size 8 ½ inches by 11 inches, unless otherwise required by rule or order of court. The original and one copy of all documents to which rule L205.2(b)B applies shall be filed. Unless otherwise required by another applicable rule or order of court, only the original of a brief or any
other document is required to be filed.
(b) Required cover sheets.
A. Case monitoring notice. This requirement applies to civil actions, statutory appeals and appeals from judgments of magisterial district judges, and any other civil matter requiring court action, except a matter filed under the Domestic Relations Code.
1. An original and one copy of a case monitoring notice shall be filed and served by the plaintiff or appellant:
i. Within ten days after an answer has been filed in a mortgage foreclosure action, a credit card collection case or a forfeiture action,
ii. With the filing of a notice of appeal in an administrative agency appeal, or
iii. With the filing of a complaint in a general civil case.
2. When a case is commenced by a writ of summons, the case monitoring notice shall be filed only with the filing of the complaint and not with the filing of the writ of summons.
3. In the event that no case monitoring notice is filed as required by this rule, any party may file a case monitoring notice.
4. The case monitoring notice shall not exceed one page. If necessary, the caption may be abbreviated to accommodate this requirement.
5. After the case monitoring notice is filed, the procedures set forth in rule L1007 shall apply.
COURT OF COMMON PLEAS, LYCOMING COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
Plaintiff : DOCKET NO:
vs. : CIVIL ACTION
I. This matter is:
______ Mortgage Foreclosure (file once an Answer has been filed).
Time needed for trial __ (1 day) __ (1/2 day).
______ Credit Card Collection Case (file once an Answer has been filed)
a) ____ Arbitration. ($50,000 or less) Time needed for discovery? _____ months
______ Forfeiture (file once an Answer has been filed)
______ Administrative Agency Appeal (file with Notice of Appeal)
______ General Civil Case (file with Complaint):
a) ____ Arbitration. ($50,000 or less) Time needed for discovery? _____ months
_______ Other. Action requested: ___________________________________________
B. Motion Cover Sheet. The procedure set forth in this section shall apply to every request for relief and/or application to the court for an order, whether by petition, motion, preliminary objection, exception, or stipulation, that the filing party desires to bring before the court or family court hearing officer, except a motion for a continuance (see rule L216 regarding continuance).
NOTE: The use of this cover sheet is also required in orphans’ court; see, Lyc. Co. O.C.R. L3.4.
1. A cover sheet substantially in the form set forth in subsection 7 of this section shall be attached to the front of every request for a court order to which this rule applies. Any request for relief on the front of which an applicable Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure requires a specific order or notice to be attached shall include that order or notice directly following the cover sheet.
2. The cover sheet shall consist of only one page. Captions may be abbreviated. If additional space is necessary to list counsel and unrepresented parties, a separate sheet may be attached. The filing party or counsel shall be responsible for identifying all parties and others to be given notice or their counsel on the cover sheet. If a party was not served with a copy of the executed cover sheet as a result of an omission of the filing party, the argument or hearing may be rescheduled or, in the discretion of the court, the request for relief may be denied.
3. If a cover sheet is not attached as required by this rule, the court may choose not to act upon the request for relief until an appropriate cover sheet is filed. If the filing party does not attach a cover sheet as required by this rule, a cover sheet, along with a copy of the original motion may be filed by any party, or the court.
4. If expedited consideration by the court is requested or required by statute or rule of procedure, the filing party shall check the “expedited consideration” box on the cover sheet and state the reason for such consideration Simultaneously with the filing of the request, the filing party shall deliver a copy of the request to the court administrator who shall deliver the request to a judge. Such consideration must be requested if the date of the pretrial conference has been set or if the case has already been pre-tried.
5. A proposed order granting the relief requested shall be attached to the cover sheet.
6. The court shall schedule argument, hearing or briefing as the court may require, note the scheduling information on the cover sheet, and issue the scheduling order appearing on the cover sheet. The prothonotary shall docket and promptly forward the completed cover sheet to all parties identified on the cover sheet.
COURT OF COMMON PLEAS, LYCOMING COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
Caption (may be abbreviated) Docket No.
1. Name of filing party:
2. Filing party’s attorney:
3. Type of filing:
4. The following is/are requested:
5. Time required:
6. Names and addresses of all counsel of record and unrepresented parties:
□ Continued on separate sheet.
1. An ___ argument ___ factual hearing ___ court conference is scheduled for at m. in courtroom no. , Lycoming County Courthouse, Williamsport, PA.
Filing party: ____________________________________
3. ____ A rule is issued upon respondent to show cause why the petitioner is not entitled to the relief requested.
NOTICE: The parties are directed to confer for the purpose of resolving any issue raised in the motion/petition. If a resolution is reached prior to the scheduled date, the moving party shall immediately notify the court scheduling technician, the judge or hearing officer assigned to hear the matter, and all counsel of record or parties if unrepresented. Such notice may be in writing or by email.
L205.4. Electronic Filing and Service of Legal Papers
A. Electronic Filing
1. All legal papers as defined by Pa.R.C.P. 205.4(a)(2) associated with the civil case types listed in A.2. below may be filed electronically.
2. Case Types. Electronic filing is allowed in the following case types:
(a). Tort (intentional, malicious prosecution, motor vehicle, nuisance, premises liability, product liability, slander/libel, defamation, and other);
(b). Mass tort (asbestos, tobacco, toxic tort, toxic waste, and other);
(c). Professional liability (dental, legal, medical, and other);
(d). Contract (buyer protection, debt collection - credit card; employment dispute, employment dispute - discrimination, and other);
(e). Real property (buyer protection, ejectment, eminent domain/condemnation, ground rent, landlord/tenant dispute (excluding MDJ appeals), mortgage foreclosure, partition, quiet title, and other);
(f). Statutory appeals (board of assessment, board of elections, zoning appeal, and other);
(g). Miscellaneous (common law/statutory arbitration, declaratory judgment, mandamus, quo warranto, replevin, and other).
(h). Municipal and tax claims/liens;
(i). Liens (Commonwealth, broker's, federal, mechanics, municipal);
(j). Judgments (amended, by transcript (Magisterial District Judge), confession, default, deficiency, enforcement, revival, satisfaction, and transfer);
(k). Arbitration appeals;
(l). Writ of scire facias;
(m). Writ of revival;
(n). Civil subpoenas; and
(o). Civil appeals to Supreme, Commonwealth and Superior Courts.
3. Registration. Electronic filers must register with the prothonotary’s designated electronic filing management system in accordance with the user manual. All registered users shall be individuals, not law firms, agencies, corporations, or other groups.
4. Original document. A legal paper filed electronically shall be deemed to be the original document, but copies of exhibits electronically filed do not constitute the original of the exhibit for evidentiary purposes.
B. Form of Documents Electronically Filed.
1. Format. To the extent practicable, documents shall be formatted in accordance with the applicable rules governing formatting of paper documents. All electronic filings shall be in Portable Document Format (“PDF”).
2. Document Title. The title of each electronically filed document shall match the title of the docket entry.
3. Signature. Each electronically filed document shall be deemed to have been signed by the attorney, or party not represented by an attorney, authorizing such filing and shall bear a facsimile or typographical signature of such person, e.g. "I s l Adam Attorney". Each document electronically filed shall also include the typed name, address, and telephone number of the attorney or unrepresented party filing such document.
C. Public Access to the Docket.
1. Public access to the prothonotary's civil case dockets shall be available on the Internet at www.lyco.org/Elected-Officials/Prothonotary-Clerk-of-Courts.
2. The prothonotary shall make a public access terminal available to the general public, to allow access to the electronic case records.
D. Filing Fees.
1. All filing fees and payments shall be made at the time of filing with an authorized credit card through the prothonotary’s designated electronic filing management system. Authorized cards shall include Visa, MasterCard or Discover. Filing fees and payments may not be deposited in advance with the prothonotary. Any document for which a fee would otherwise be charged, that is accompanied by a praecipe or petition to proceed in forma pauperis, will be accepted for filing and time-stamped in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. no. 240(c) and (d).
2. The prothonotary may charge a convenience fee for the conversion of a legal paper or exhibit to PDF format for electronic filing.
E. Sealed Documents.
1. Documents intended to be filed under seal shall be designated by the filing party as "sealed" in the prothonotary’s designated electronic filing management system. The filing party must submit a proper request for sealing documents in addition to making the designation.
2. The prothonotary will include the filing details and document title in the electronic filing system. The documents can be viewed only by the court, prothonotary office staff, and case participants, as applicable.
F. Time of electronic filing.
1. The prothonotary’s designated electronic filing management system shall provide to the filer, using the email address registered by the filer, an email acknowledging that the filing was received. An official notification will also be displayed in the prothonotary’s designated electronic filing management system, which includes the time and date, as a pending filing awaiting approval by the prothonotary. The prothonotary shall provide the filer with notification when the legal paper has been either accepted or rejected.
2. If a legal paper is accepted, it shall be deemed to have been filed as of the date and time it was received by the prothonotary’s designated electronic filing management system.
Note: Access to the prothonotary’s designated electronic filing management system shall be always available, except during routine maintenance; however, legal documents can only be reviewed by prothonotary staff during normal office hours. Filers are cautioned to file required legal papers well in advance of any filing deadlines to enable timely correction and re-submission in the event a legal paper is not acceptable for filing.
3. The prothonotary will maintain one hard copy of documents that are filed electronically.
G. Service of Legal Papers.
1. Once electronically filed original process has been accepted by the prothonotary, it shall be the responsibility of the filing party to provide to the sheriff the proper service fee and documents for service.
2. Service of all other documents shall be by the filing party, in accordance with the rules of civil procedure.
H. Obligation of Registered Electronic Filing Users to Maintain Proper Contact Information. Parties or attorneys who register to use prothonotary’s designated electronic filing management system shall provide notification within ten days of any change in firm name, address, fax number, or email address.
L206.4(c). Rule to Show Cause.
A. A rule to show cause shall be discretionary pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. 206.5.
B. A cover sheet that complies with rule L205.2(b)B shall be attached to any petition or request for relief requiring the issuance of a rule to show cause. The cover sheet includes thereon a rule to show cause order and no separate rule to show cause order is to be submitted.
C. When issuing the rule to show cause included on the cover sheet, the court shall indicate on the cover sheet whether the petition or other request for relief will be scheduled for an argument or evidentiary hearing, whether discovery on the issues will be allowed, whether an answer will be required or if briefs are required.
D. The court will grant or deny a request for a stay of execution pending disposition of a petition to open a default judgment based upon the initial review of the facts as set forth in the petition.
L208.2 Motions. Form. Content.
(d). Uncontested motions. If a motion is presented as uncontested the basis therefore shall be set forth on a page immediately following the cover sheet in the form of a written stipulation of all interested parties or a certification of filing counsel or verified statement by unrepresented parties as to the basis upon which it is appropriate to enter the uncontested order.
(e). Discovery motions.
A. All discovery motions to compel discovery or for a protective order shall include a certification by moving counsel that concurrence in the motion was sought from opposing counsel and pro se parties. The certification shall be contained on a separate page and attached following the cover sheet to the front of the motion. The certification shall state the following information:
1. the manner in which concurrence was sought; and,
2. whether or not concurrence was given, and if given in part and denied in part, the extent to which concurrence was given.
If contact with opposing counsel or pro se parties can not be made prior to the filing of the motion, the moving party shall so state in the certification. The moving party has a continuing obligation to contact opposing counsel or pro se parties to secure the concurrence or non-concurrence.
B. Concurrence may not be unreasonably refused by opposing counsel or pro se parties. If the court finds that concurrence was properly sought, and was unreasonably refused, the court may award attorneys fees and expenses to the moving party, and may impose such other sanctions as are permitted by the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure.
L208.3 Motions. Procedures. Briefs.
(a) Motion procedure.
A. Scheduling. Motions will be scheduled by the court scheduling technician for argument, hearing or conference as ordered by the court after an initial review of the motion, taking into account the request of the moving party as set forth in the motion cover sheet. The scheduled time shall be noted on the executed motion cover sheet and served upon the parties by the prothonotary in accordance with these local rules. The motion will be decided after argument or hearing.
B. Briefs. Briefs may be ordered by the court and, if so ordered, the time for filing will be set forth on the executed motion cover sheet. If briefs are ordered, the original and one copy shall be filed with the prothonotary, who shall forward the copy to the judge. All parties shall be served with a copy of the brief contemporaneously with the filing of the brief. Where briefs are required and are not timely filed, the court may treat the request for relief as having been submitted by the defaulting party and proceed ex parte, or impose such other sanction as it shall deem appropriate.
C. Courtesy copies. No courtesy copies of motions and briefs should be mailed to the judge or court administrator.
D. Emergency motions. Emergency requests for a court order shall be filed with the prothonotary and then delivered by the filing party to the court administrator, who shall deliver the motion to an appropriate judge. All emergency motions must have a motion cover sheet as required by these rules. All emergency requests shall set forth on a separate page following the cover sheet a certification by filing counsel or pro se party that all interested parties were contacted in advance and given notice of the intention to present the emergency request and the details as to time and manner of such notice; or, if such notice was not given, a statement as to why and what efforts to give the notice were made.
(b). Motion response. If the court deems a response is necessary, the response shall be filed within twenty (20) days unless the court orders a shorter or longer time. If a response is not timely filed, or if a response is filed raising no contested issue of fact, the court may deem the matter as being uncontested and may accept all factual averments as true and issue a dispositive order accordingly without further argument, upon motion of the moving party or in its own discretion. If a response is filed raising disputed issues of fact the court will hold an evidentiary hearing or proceed in such other manner as the court shall direct.
L212. Pretrial Conferences and Trial Scheduling.
A. Trial list. Cases may be placed on the trial list in the manner set forth in rule L1007.
B. Pretrial Conferences.
1. The court administrator shall schedule a pretrial conference to be held at least fifteen (15) days before the first day of the session of trials during which the case is listed.
2. Not less than seven days before the date set for the pretrial conference, each party shall file the original and one copy of the pretrial statement and serve a copy on all other parties. The prothonotary shall forward the copy to the trial judge as soon as possible.
3. Counsel are required to be prepared to inform the court of the demand and settlement offers and to discuss settlement.
4. All parties and representatives necessary to approve settlement and with full settlement authority must attend the pretrial conference in person, unless upon written request the court authorizes appearance by telephone or otherwise excuses attendance.
5. Each party may be limited to calling witnesses or using exhibits listed on the pretrial statement.
CIVIL PRETRIAL STATEMENT OF LYCOMING COUNTY
Caption Docket #
1. Name of Party
2. Attorney’s Name
4. Date of Pretrial
5. List all parties and counsel to the action.
6. Has there been a timely demand for a jury trial? Yes ____ No ____ Number of jurors demanded: 8 ___ 12 ____.
7. Scheduling – list any unusual scheduling problems, which are anticipated.
8. Estimated time to try.
9. Brief narrative statement of the submitting party’s version of the case. Attach any helpful diagram.
10. Legal theory of liability. List those theories upon which you will rely, as each party may be limited to those theories at trial.
11. If there is a counterclaim, set forth the theory of liability and contentions on damages.
12. If an agreement is involved in this action, is it written or oral? Quote the provisions of the agreement, which are central to this dispute.
13. Damages – List types and amounts of damages claimed.
14. Names of witnesses:
a) Definite witnesses and scope of testimony (liability, damages or both).
b) Possible witnesses and scope of testimony (liability, damages or both).
15. Expert witnesses – list name and specialty and attach all expert reports.
16. Exhibits – List all exhibits and indicate whether or not they have been shown to opposing counsel.
17. Technological issues:
a) Is there a request for any witness to appear live at trial by way of video or audio conferencing? See Lyc. Co. R.G.C.B. L8 for required form and procedure.
b) Indicate all electronic and/or technological equipment, which is intended to be used in presentation of exhibits or evidence.
18. Requested stipulations (Qualifications of experts, admissibility of documents without custodian, special damages, etc).
19. Unusual legal issues – issues on which trial briefs should be required.
20. Outstanding motions.
21. Miscellaneous – list any matter that you feel is important but which has not been covered.
NOTE: As to settlement and attendance by parties see Lyc. Co. R.C.P. L212.
C. Re-pretrials of continued cases. Where a continuance is allowed under rule L216 after pre-trial conference, the case will be rescheduled for trial. A re-pretrial conference will be held. At any such re-pretrial conference, the pretrial memorandum previously submitted shall be updated if appropriate, but otherwise need not be resubmitted.
D. Striking cases from trial list. Cases listed for trial shall remain so listed until settled of record, or until a verdict, adjudication or nonsuit is entered, or unless removed by order of court.
F. Extensions. For settlement purposes the court in its discretion may extend the pretrial conference to a settlement conference date or for a summary jury trial.
A. Time limitations. Applications for continuance under Pa.R.C.P. No. 216 shall be submitted no later than the time set for pre-trial conferences.
B. Prior commitments of counsel. No continuances will be granted by reason of prior commitment of counsel in any court, state or federal, where such commitment was reasonably foreseeable and counsel has not made a reasonable attempt to secure substitute counsel.
C. Form. All requests for continuances of any matter before the court or board of arbitration shall be made on a one-page form as promulgated by the court and obtainable from the court scheduling office or www.lycolaw.org. The form shall be completed as indicated and submitted to the court scheduling technician who will deliver it timely to the judge involved. The judge will take action on the request and will return it to the court scheduling technician for filing. Distribution to the parties will be made by the prothonotary, unless the court directs otherwise. Continuance requests on the required form may be submitted to the court scheduling technician by fax, and if so, the original need not be submitted unless requested by the court.
L220. Jury Size in Civil Trials.
A. Except as provided in subdivision B, juries in civil cases shall consist, initially, of eight members. Trials in such cases shall continue so long as at least six jurors remain in service. If the number of jurors falls below six, a mistrial shall be declared upon prompt application therefor by any party then on record.
B. Trial by a jury consisting of twelve members may be had if a written demand therefor is filed with the court as part of the original pre-trial memorandum. Such demand may appear on the pre-trial memorandum form under the heading "miscellaneous."
C. Under subdivision A hereof, each party shall be entitled as a matter or right, to four peremptory challenges, except that in cases involving multiple plaintiffs and/or multiple defendants, the trial court shall, in its discretion, determine the number of peremptory challenges available to each of the parties then of record.
L227.3. Transcript of Testimony. All costs of transcription of the record in post-trial motions and in appeals to higher courts will be charged as one of the costs of record, payable by appellant if the appeal is unsuccessful or by the appellee if the appeal is successful.
L229. Discontinuance. When a praecipe to withdraw, discontinue, or mark as settled is filed, it shall be accompanied by one copy. The prothonotary shall forward the copy to the court scheduling technician.
L230.2. Termination of Inactive Cases. It is the policy of the Lycoming County Court of Common Pleas to terminate cases in which there has been no activity of record for two years or more, in accordance with the Pa. R.C.P. No. 230.2.
A. In January of each year, the prothonotary shall identify cases for termination and send notice in accordance with Pa. R. C. P. No. 230.2.
B. Upon receiving and filing a statement of intention to proceed, the prothonotary shall forward a copy to the District Court Administrator, who may then schedule the matter for a conference pursuant to Lyc. Co. R.C.P. L1007, if appropriate.
L250.1. Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. Notice. When required the Notice to be included under the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 may be in the following form:
Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990.
The Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County is required by law to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. For information about accessible facilities and reasonable accommodations available to disabled individuals having business before the court, please contact the Court Administrator's office, telephone number (570) 327-2330. All arrangements must be made at least 72 hours prior to any hearing or business before the court.
L261. Court Administrator. The court shall appoint a court administrator, who shall serve at the discretion of the court and under the supervision and jurisdiction of the court. The duties of the court administrator shall be as itemized in these rules and as supplemented from time to time by the court.
L400.1(b). Service of Original Process. Original process shall be served within the Commonwealth (i) by the sheriff or a competent adult in all actions in equity, in partition, to prevent waste, and for declaratory judgment when declaratory relief is the only relief sought, and (ii) by the sheriff in all other actions.
L430. Service by Publication.
A. Any request for service pursuant to a special order of court under Pa.R.C.P. 430 shall comply with Rule L206.
B. Service by publication shall be made in such a manner that the person so served shall have at least ten (10) days after publication to act on the matter served by publication.
C. Service shall be complete upon the appearance of the last complete publication. Proofs of publication shall be filed before judgment or any other action is taken by the plaintiff.
D. Where service by publication is permitted by Pa.R.C.P. 410, (concerning real property actions) the notice shall be published for one week in the Lycoming Reporter and at least one newspaper of general circulation. The notice shall be in the form required by the rules and shall include a description of the land involved.
L440. Use of Prothonotary's Office Mail Box. Service of copies of legal papers, that are allowed to be served by regular mail, may be made upon the party's attorney of record who maintains an office in Lycoming County, by placing the document in the mailbox maintained for the attorney in the office of the Lycoming County prothonotary.
BOARD OF VIEW
L501. Meeting Place. All hearings of the board of view shall be held in the courthouse, unless otherwise agreed to by all interested parties.
L502. Substitution after Appointment. If any member appointed to the board shall for any reason be unable to attend to the duties of such appointment, he shall forthwith notify the court or the court administrator to the end that a substitution may be made.
L503. Organization. The board of view shall meet annually, on the first Monday following January 1st at the courthouse and organize by the election of a president, vice president and a secretary from among their number, who shall serve until their successors are elected. The president shall preside at all meetings of the board and perform such other duties as appertain to the said office. The secretary shall keep accurate minutes of all meetings of the board, in a book to be provided for the purpose, notify the members of each meeting of the board of view, and generally do and perform the duties appertaining to his said office.
L504. Notice of Appointment. Upon the appointment of a board of view, the clerk of the court shall forthwith notify the viewers of their appointment by mailing to each a copy of the order of the court setting forth their appointment.
L601. Non-residents and Insolvents - Security for Costs. In cases where the plaintiff resides out of the state at the time of suit brought, or subsequently removes therefrom, and in cases where proceedings in bankruptcy or insolvency are pending against the plaintiff, the defendant, on filing an answer in actions in which an answer is required, and in other actions on filing of an affidavit of a just defense to the whole of plaintiff's demand, may enter a rule for security of costs. A garnishee in attachment execution may, in like cases, enter a rule for security for garnishee's costs after interrogatories and before answers are filed. In default of security entered at the time fixed by the court, judgment of non pros may be entered by the prothonotary in favor of the defendant or the attachment quashed in cases of attachment execution.
L602. Bill of Costs.
A. Affidavit. The affidavit of the party or other person to the correctness of the bill and the attendance and materiality of the witnesses shall be annexed and shall be prima facie evidence to the taxing officer.
B. Cost of transcript. Upon the filing of the transcript of the record of a trial, the prothonotary shall record the cost thereof on the docket as a record cost as provided in Lyc. Co. R.C.P. L227.3.
C. Bills of cost. These shall be allowed and taxed by the prothonotary, unless manifest error in law or in fact appears in such bills.
D. Notice of filing. Any party filing a bill of costs shall immediately give notice of such filing to the opposite party, and in the case of Commonwealth cases, the county commissioners shall immediately be given notice. Those who receive notice of such filing shall be given a copy of the bills of costs at the same time that notice of filing is given, the copy to be furnished by the party filing the bills.
E. Exceptions to and re-taxation of costs. All exceptions to any bill of costs shall be in writing and be specific and shall be filed on or before the return day of the execution. Such exceptions shall be accompanied by a praecipe for a rule to show cause why the costs should not be re-taxed; this to be served upon the other party or parties in interest. Upon the filing of proper exceptions, together with a praecipe for such rule, the prothonotary shall immediately set a time for such re-taxation, with at least four (4) days notice in writing to the parties in interest and shall hear testimony if necessary.
F. Appeal to court on costs. Any interested party may take an appeal to the court from the re-taxation of the prothonotary. Such a hearing shall be de novo.
G. Stay. No exceptions or appeal shall operate to stay execution or prevent the collection of the debt or costs, but when collected on execution or paid into court, the costs excepted to will be retained until the question is decided.
L702. Satisfaction of Judgment. Whenever the prothonotary is requested to mark any judgment satisfied, whether by praecipe or otherwise, the person making or filing the request shall first satisfy the prothonotary by affidavit, and, if required by the prothonotary, by additional proof that he is the owner of the judgment or is otherwise duly authorized by such owner to cause the judgment to be marked satisfied or is a member of the bar and that the signature on the praecipe or satisfaction to be noted on the docket is genuine and authentic. Filing the affidavit required by this rule may be waived by the prothonotary only when a member of the bar of this county, known to the prothonotary or to a deputy prothonotary in attendance, appears in person in the office of the prothonotary for the purpose of satisfying a judgment. No judgment shall be satisfied by or on the order of any attorney at law unless such attorney shall have first entered his appearance for the plaintiff (defendant on a counterclaim).
L901. Money Paid into Court.
A. The defendant may, upon authorization of the court, at any time pay into court, into the hands of the prothonotary, the amount he admits to be due, together with the costs up to the time, of which he shall give notice to the opposing party, or his attorney, within ten days thereafter. The plaintiff may, upon authorization by court, receive the amount so paid, and either enter a discontinuance or proceed to trial, at his option; but in the latter case he shall pay all costs subsequently accruing, unless he recovers judgment for a sum greater than that admitted to be due and paid into court.
B. Money paid into court shall be deposited by the prothonotary in such bank or trust company as the prothonotary may select, to the credit of the court in the particular case, and shall not be withdrawn except upon order of court. The prothonotary shall keep a record of such deposits and withdrawals.
L902. Appeal of a District Justice Judgment for Possession of Real Property.
A. A landlord’s application under Pa. R.C.P.D.J. No. 1008B for the payment of sums deposited with the prothonotary shall be in the form of a motion and shall comply with the cover sheet requirement of rule L205.2(b)B.
B. At any stage of the proceedings following the filing of any appeal, either party may make an application for relief to the court, where relief is sought from scheduled payments, for special or unusual expenses, or to resolve other matters related to the appeal. The matter shall be heard within fourteen (14) days of filing.
L1007. Case Monitoring Notice. Scheduling Order. Trial/Hearing Scheduling.
A. This rule applies to all matters requiring a case monitoring notice pursuant to rule L205.2(b)A. When the case monitoring notice is filed, the prothonotary shall file stamp and docket the notice and immediately forward a copy to the court administrator who shall assign a judge to the case and forward the notice to that judge for further action, as follows:
(1) Mortgage foreclosure – trial will be scheduled at the next available time, but no sooner than thirty (30) days from the date of the notice.
(2) Credit card collection case – a scheduling order will be entered based on the track requested and any special scheduling concerns noted.
(3) Forfeiture – a pre-trial conference will be scheduled at the next available time but no sooner than thirty (30) days from the date of the notice.
(4) Administrative agency appeal – a conference with the court will be scheduled at the next available time but no sooner than thirty (30) days from the date of the notice.
(5) General civil complaint – a scheduling order will be entered based on the track requested and any special scheduling concerns noted.
(6) Other – as required by particular action filed.
B. A request for a revision of the scheduling order may be made by filing a motion that sets forth the reason for the request and the proposed new trial term, along with a rule L205.2(b)B. motion cover sheet. The motion shall indicate whether or not all other parties concur with the request. If the motion is uncontested, the parties shall so indicate on the motion cover sheet. If the motion is contested, the court may schedule a conference which may, upon prior arrangement, be conducted by telephone. If the only relief requested is a continuance of the pretrial conference or trial (and not an extension of the discovery deadlines), the procedure to be followed is that required by rule L216.
C. An amended scheduling order will be entered by the court, if appropriate.
L1012. Appearance of an Attorney. Withdrawal. An attorney may withdraw an appearance as attorney for a party if the withdrawal occurs contemporaneously to the written entry of appearance of a new attorney. Otherwise, the withdrawal of appearance shall occur only upon leave of court after notice is given to the party. In all cases where an attorney is withdrawing his or her appearance, including when a contemporaneous entry of appearance is filed by a new attorney or after leave is granted by the court to withdraw as counsel, a written withdrawal of appearance shall be filed with the prothonotary.
L1018.1. Notice to Defend. Every complaint filed by a plaintiff and every complaint filed by a defendant against an additional defendant shall be in the form required by the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure. Pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1018.1(c), the following are designated as the offices to be named in the notice to plead from which legal help can be obtained:
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A LAWYER CONTACT:
Pennsylvania Bar Association
Lawyer Referral Service
100 South Street
P.O. Box 186
Harrisburg, PA 17108-0186
Telephone (800) 692-7375
IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD A LAWYER, YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR LEGAL AID THROUGH:
North Penn Legal Services
Penn Tower Building
25 W. Third Street, Suite 400
Williamsport, PA 17701
Telephone (570) 323-8741
L1025. Designation of Trial Attorney. Every pleading of a party represented by a firm or partnership or association of attorneys shall be endorsed so as to indicate clearly to the prothonotary the particular attorney who is supervising the conduct of the case and who is expected to try the same.
L1028(c). Preliminary Objections. Preliminary objections shall be filed in accordance with local rule L205.2(b)B and processed in accordance with local rule L208.3(a) and L208.3(b).
L1034(a). Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. A motion for judgment on the pleadings shall be filed in accordance with local rule L205.2(b)B and processed in accordance with local rule L208.3(a) and L208.3(b).
L1035.2(a). Motion for Summary Judgment. A motion for summary judgment shall be filed in accordance with local rule L205.2(b)B and processed in accordance with local rule L208.3(a).
L1049. Itemized Statements Submitted Prior to Trial. Not less than ten (10) days before the day set for trial of any civil action, counsel may submit to opposing counsel of record or if no opposing counsel of record, to the opposing party, in writing, itemized statements of special damages claimed, such as bills for repairs, medical and hospital expenses or claims of a similar nature, and photographs or plans intended to be offered at the trial, and if not objected to in writing five (5) days prior to the trial, proof thereof shall not be required at the trial.
L1066. Entry of Judgment - Advertisement. Upon entry of judgment pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. 1066(a), the plaintiff shall, within ten (10) days thereafter, advertise the entry of judgment in the Lycoming Reporter and in a newspaper of general circulation in Lycoming County. The notice shall contain a warning that final judgment may be entered within thirty (30) days of the court's order.
L1301. Cases for Submission.
A. All civil cases that fall within the jurisdictional limits set by Section 7361 of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa. C.S. §7361, shall be submitted to compulsory arbitration, in accordance with the provisions of Section 7361. The amount in controversy generally will be determined from the pleadings. The court on its own motion, or on the motion of any party may, based upon affidavits, depositions, stipulation of counsel or after hearing, determine that the amount actually in controversy does not exceed the jurisdictional amount for arbitration and may enter an order submitting the case to compulsory arbitration.
B. If a case is subject to compulsory arbitration, the case monitoring notice required by rule L205.2(b)A shall be marked accordingly (with the time required for discovery indicated) and filed in accordance with rules L205 and L1007.
L1302. List of Arbitrators.
A. The court administrator shall keep a current list of all members of the bar qualified and willing to act as arbitrators. Any new member of the bar will be automatically placed on the list, by the court administrator.
B. Any attorney not wishing to serve as an arbitrator shall notify the court administrator in writing and his or her name will be removed from the list, except that such resignation shall not affect his or her obligation or qualification to serve as an arbitrator upon any case to which he or she has already been appointed by the court.
L1302.1. Appointment of Arbitration Panels. Substitution.
A. Once every four months, the court administrator shall select the names of sixty-four attorneys from the list of arbitrators, for appointment to one of sixteen panels of four attorneys each. No more than one member of a particular family, firm, professional corporation, or association shall be nominated to serve on one panel.
B. Each panel will consist of three arbitrators and a substitute. Notice of the appointment shall be sent to the members of the panel by the court administrator’s office.
C. In the event an arbitrator is unable to serve as appointed, he or she must notify the substitute of the conflict and then notify the court administrator, as well as the other members of the panel and the parties or counsel of record, of the substitution. In the event the substitute has already been called into service by another arbitrator on that panel or is otherwise unable to serve, the arbitrator shall contact the court administrator for the selection of an alternate arbitrator.
D. Each panel will be appointed to sit for one full day during the four-month period and hear up to two cases on that day, which will be scheduled for one-half day each.
L1303. Scheduling of Hearings and Notice of Appointment.
A. The court calendar shall set aside four days per month for arbitration hearings, providing for the scheduling of eight half-day hearings each month.
B. Upon receipt of an order directing the scheduling of an arbitration hearing, the court administrator shall schedule the case for a one-half day hearing, to commence at either nine o'clock a.m. or one o'clock p.m. Notice of the date and time of the hearing and of the arbitrator appointments shall be sent by the court administrator’s office to the parties or their attorneys and to the members of the panel designated to sit that day, at least sixty days prior to the date of the hearing.
L1304. Arbitrator’s Questions. Arbitrators shall exercise reasonable restraint in the questioning of witnesses.
A. Continuances shall be granted only by court order for good cause shown. A continuance request shall be submitted in writing to the court scheduling technician as required by rule L216C, not later than one week prior to the scheduled arbitration hearing, and served on all arbitration panel members and all parties or counsel of record. If the request is granted less than one week prior to the hearing, the requesting party or counsel shall contact the panel members and all parties or counsel of record by telephone, fax or email to inform them of the continuance.
B. When an arbitration has been continued, the court administrator shall reschedule the arbitration for an available arbitration day, at least sixty days from the date of the continuance.
C. Upon failure of a party to appear at a scheduled arbitration hearing, the arbitrators shall proceed ex parte and render an award on the merits.
L1306. Awards. After the case has been heard, the arbitrators shall make their award within ten days after the day of the hearing or the last adjournment thereof. Such award shall be noted on the award form contained in the court file, signed by all arbitrators and delivered to the prothonotary.
L1308. Compensation for Arbitrators.
A. Each of the three members of an arbitration panel shall receive compensation in the amount of $200.00 per case for which the member actually serves as an arbitrator, or $100.00 if the arbitrator appears at the date and time of the hearing but no hearing is held because either (1) the matter is settled, withdrawn or otherwise terminated at that time, or (2) was previously settled, withdrawn or otherwise terminated but the arbitrator was not so notified. If the case is settled, withdrawn or otherwise terminated and the arbitrators are so notified prior to the date scheduled for hearing, they shall not be entitled to any fee.
B. A substitute arbitrator who does not serve shall receive $50.00, unless notified prior to the date of the hearing that his or her services will not be needed.
C. Each arbitrator shall be entitled to receive additional compensation at the rate of $50.00 per hour in any case in which the actual time spent in the hearing exceeds three and one-half (3 1/2) hours.
D. Upon the filing of the board's report or award, the prothonotary shall certify to the county controller that the report or award, if any, has been filed, together with the names of the arbitrators and substitute arbitrator to be paid and the amounts to be paid to each. The county shall then pay fees as noted on the prothonotary=s certification. If an arbitrator has previously submitted a properly executed authorization form directing the donation of his or her fee to the Lycoming Law Association Foundation, the prothonotary shall so note on the certification and the county shall submit payment of that attorney’s fee to the Foundation.
L1311. Appeals. The prothonotary shall notify the court administrator of all appeals from arbitration. All arbitration appeals shall immediately be scheduled for pre-trial conference by the court administrator, for the next available trial term.
L1315. Settlements. In all cases which are settled, withdrawn, or otherwise terminated at any time prior to the arbitration hearing, the attorney for the plaintiff (or the plaintiff if acting pro se) shall so notify the court administrator and the arbitrators (including any substitute). Should the arbitrators appear for the hearing due to lack of notice that the matter had been previously settled, withdrawn or otherwise terminated, the disposition and the fact of their appearance shall be noted by the arbitrators on the award form and delivered to the prothonotary.
L1910.10. Hearing Procedure. The procedure provided by Pa. R.C.P. No. 1910.12 is hereby adopted.
L1910.12. Exceptions Procedure.
A. When exceptions are filed with the domestic relations office, they shall have attached to them a copy of the order to which the exceptions have been taken. A rule L205.2(b)B motion cover sheet is required. The hearing officer who entered the order shall be served with a copy of the exceptions.
B. If a transcript is requested, a request for transcript form must be completed pursuant to L4007(A) and submitted to the senior court reporter. If the exceptions raise an issue not addressed in the order, a transcript must be requested. If a transcript is not requested and the court determines that the transcript was necessary, the court may, at its discretion, dismiss the exceptions
L1910.14. Defendant Leaving the Jurisdiction. Any request for relief under Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.14 shall be filed in the domestic relations office.
L1910.15. Paternity. A party shall commence an action for paternity, independent of a claim for support, by filing a complaint in the domestic relations office.
CUSTODY AND VISITATION MATTERS
A. All pleadings relating only to custody of minor children shall include a motion cover sheet pursuant to rule L205.2(b)B.
B. All custody-related pleadings, other than those alleging contempt or requesting special relief, shall be referred to a family court hearing officer for the scheduling of an initial conference with the parties and their respective counsel.
C. If the custody action is included in a count in a divorce complaint, an initial conference before a hearing officer will be scheduled upon the filing of a praecipe. The praecipe must include an updated criminal record/abuse history verification completed by the filing party and a blank verification form for the opposing party, along with the order/notice required by Pa. R.C.P 1915.15(c).
L1915.4-3. Initial Conference.
A. The parties and their respective counsel shall appear at the initial conference before the family court hearing officer.
B. If the parties reach an agreement resolving all of the issues raised, the hearing officer shall forward an order to the court for approval setting forth the terms of such agreement.
C. If the parties do not reach an agreement resolving all issues raised, the hearing officer will conduct a non-record proceeding to establish a recommended interim order as to custody, partial custody or visitation, which will govern pending further proceedings. This non-record proceeding may be a conference with attorneys, conference with parties, and/or the taking of testimony under oath and receipt of other evidence and arguments of counsel as the hearing officer deems appropriate, based upon the particular issues raised.
D. At the conclusion of the proceeding, the hearing officer shall: 1) give the parties oral notice of the essential aspects of the recommended interim order and reasons for the recommendation; 2) make an initial determination as to the use of mediation, psychological evaluations or home studies, in accordance with Rule L1915.8; 3) shall set a date for the pretrial conference.
E. No exceptions may be filed to an interim order entered in a custody action.
F. Any recommended interim order of the hearing officer shall be submitted to the court for approval and upon court approval shall have the effect of an interim pre-trial order.
G. The hearing officer may refer the parties to mediation and, if so, may direct a date by which the parties must commence the mediation process. The date set for the pre-trial conference shall allow sufficient time for completion of the mediation process. If mediation terminates prior to the anticipated completion date, the mediator shall notify the court administrator who may then reschedule the pre-trial conference for an earlier date. The expense of mediation shall be paid by the parties in accordance with the agreement between Lycoming County and the mediator as the same may exist from time to time.
L1915.7. Settlement. A custody case will be removed from the conference or pre-trial schedule and/or the custody trial list only upon the filing of the settlement agreement or court order.
L1915.8. Physical/Mental/Psychological Examinations and Home Studies. Upon agreement of the parties at the initial conference, the hearing officer may include in the recommended interim order a direction that the parties obtain physical, mental or psychological examinations and/or home studies, prior to the date of the pre-trial conference and may establish a date by which the parties must make the initial arrangements. Where mediation is utilized, the order may provide that the evaluation be undertaken during the mediation process, deferred until mediation is complete or be left for consideration at the pre-trial conference. Unless otherwise directed by the court or hearing officer or agreed upon by the parties, the expense of any evaluation shall be borne initially by the party requesting the evaluation.
L1915.12. Required Certification for Petition for Civil Contempt Relating to a Custody Order.
A. Any petition requesting a finding of contempt of a custody order must also contain, as an exhibit, a certification by counsel or by the pro se litigant, of the effort to resolve the alleged contempt without resort to the court. At a minimum, the certification shall specify which of the following applies:
1. The opposing party is represented by counsel. Counsel was apprised of the alleged contemptuous conduct and that a contempt petition would be filed unless remedial steps were offered, but the opposing party, through counsel, has declined to offer sufficient remedial steps. Such remedial steps may include assurance of compliance with the order and replacement time for custody or visitation time claimed to have been lost to the petitioning party by the alleged contemptuous conduct.
2. The opposing party is not represented by counsel. The opposing party was apprised in writing of the alleged contemptuous conduct and warned that a contempt petition would be filed unless remedial steps were offered, but the opposing party has declined to offer sufficient remedial steps. Such remedial steps may include assurance of compliance with the order and replacement time for custody or visitation time claimed to have been lost to the petitioning party by the alleged contemptuous conduct.
3. Remedial steps were offered by the opposing party, but were then not taken within a reasonable period of time.
4. Due to special circumstances (described in detail in the certification) an attempt to resolve the matter without filing a petition for contempt is likely to cause significant prejudice (also described) to the petitioning party.
B. Failure to attempt resolution of the alleged contempt in accordance with the requirements of this rule could be cause for dismissal to the petition for contempt.
DIVORCE OR ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE
L1920.16 Bifurcation. A request for bifurcation shall be made by motion in accordance with the procedure set forth in rule L205.2(b)B., and will be scheduled before a judge for a hearing.
L1920.51. Appointment of Hearing Officer.
A. The following matters shall be heard by a hearing officer:
B. Upon the appointment of a hearing officer pursuant to A.1 - A.4 above, an order will be entered scheduling a scheduling conference with the hearing officer.
C. Upon the appointment of a hearing officer pursuant to A.5 - A.6 above, an order will be entered scheduling a hearing with the hearing officer.
D. Appointment of Hearing Officer. Form of Order.
1. The motion for appointment of hearing officer shall be accompanied by a proposed order that identifies the section of the Divorce Code under which grounds have been established and the ancillary claims the hearing officer is being appointed to hear.
2. The motion for appointment of hearing officer shall indicate under which section of the Divorce Code the divorce is being sought, as well as indicate the date the affidavit of consent or affidavit of separation were filed.
3. The form of the proposed order shall be substantially as follows:
|IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LYCOMING COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
AND NOW, this ______ day of _____________, 20____, upon receipt of plaintiff’s motion for appointment of hearing officer, the court hereby finds that grounds for divorce have been established pursuant to [§3301(c)][ §3301(d)] of the Divorce Code, as averred in the attached motion.______________________________is hereby appointed hearing officer with respect to plaintiff’s claims for: ___________________________________.
By the Court,
L1920.53. Hearing by Hearing Officer. Report. Requests for continuances of conferences or hearings before a hearing officer shall be directed to the family court hearing office for decision by the hearing officer.
L1920.55-1. Matters Referred to a Hearing Officer. The procedure of Pa.R.C.P. 1920.55-2 is hereby adopted.
L1920.55-2. Exception Procedure. The original and one copy of exceptions to a hearing officer’s report and recommendation shall be filed with the prothonotary and include the report and recommendation to which the exceptions have been taken. A rule L205.2(b)B motion cover sheet is required. The cover sheet shall indicate whether a transcript is required. If a transcript is requested, the procedure of rule L4007(A) shall be followed.
L1930.5. Discovery. Any request for discovery in a simple support, custody, protection from abuse or protection from victim of sexual violence or intimidation case shall be made to the court by filing a motion for leave to take discovery setting forth the type of discovery sought and reasons therefor. This shall not preclude the parties from stipulating to additional discovery. All discovery authorized by order of court shall be subject to the limitations of rule L4005.
L2039. Minor's Action - Compromise, Settlement, etc. No settlement of an action of a minor for personal injuries will be authorized or approved without the appearance of the minor in court, medical evidence as to the extent of the minor's injuries, and such further information as the court will deem necessary; provided, however, that if the petition of the guardian for the compromise of a minor's action is accompanied by:
(1) written medical evidence as to the minor’s medical condition and his or her prognosis,
(2) a statement under oath by the guardian certifying,
(a) the present physical or mental condition of the minor, and
(b) approval of the proposed settlement and distribution thereof;
(3) a statement by counsel of his professional opinion of the probabilities of proof of defendant's negligence by plaintiff and the minor's negligence, if any, by defendant; and,
(4) in the event that the minor is sixteen (16) years of age or over, his or her written approval of the proposed settlement and distribution thereof; the judge to whom said petition has been presented may approve the petition without requiring the appearance of the minor, his guardian or his doctor, in the event that he concludes that the information contained in the petition is sufficient to satisfy him that the proposed settlement adequately compensates the minor and his guardian for the injuries sustained and expenses incurred.
L2232. Notice of Pendency of Action. Notice required by Pa.R.C.P. No. 2232 Shall contain a statement of the pendency of the action, the prothonotary's number of the action, the parties in the action and nature thereof and that the person to whom it is addressed is required to join therein within twenty (20) days after receipt of such notice or his cause of action will be barred and the action will proceed without him. Proof of service shall be by affidavit accompanied by a copy of the notice and the return receipt and shall be filed with the prothonotary.
L4005. Interrogatory Limits. In the case of interrogatories served pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. No. 4005, the first set of interrogatories propounded to a party may not exceed fifty (50) in number, including subparts, whether or not they are separately numbered. In the event that the response given to the first set of interrogatories is considered by the requesting party to indicate a need for additional interrogatories, a second set of interrogatories, limited to fifty (50) including subparts, may be served upon a party. The second set of interrogatories must be case specific. The responding party shall not be compelled to answer any interrogatories beyond the number allowed under this rule. The court may, in its discretion, allow additional interrogatories to be served in an appropriate case.