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. Any document more than three pages in length may be printed on both sides of the paper.
(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
CASE MONITORING NOTICE
Plaintiff : DOCKET NO:
vs. : CIVIL ACTION
a) ____ Arbitration. ($50,000 or less) Time needed for discovery? _____ months
b) ____ Trial. Fast track (6–12 months) _____ Normal track (12–18 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
b) ____ Fast track (6–12 months)
c) ____ Normal track (12–18 months)
d) ____ Complex track (18-24 months)
_______ Other. Action requested: ___________________________________________
II. Jury trial demanded? ______YES ______ NO
III. Please note any special scheduling concerns: ______________________________ _________________________________________________________________________
Name of filing counsel or pro se party: ___________________________ for______________________
Opposing counsel or pro se party: _______________________________ for_______________________
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 reason for such consideration shall be set forth on the cover sheet. 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
MOTION COVER SHEET
Caption (may be abbreviated) Docket No.
Case assigned to Judge __________
vs. □ none
□ Family Court Hearing Officer
1. Name of filing party:
2. Filing party’s attorney:
3. Type of filing:
4. The following is/are requested:
□ Evidentiary Hearing
□ Court conference
□ Rule to show cause
□ Entry of uncontested order (attach supporting documentation)
□ Expedited consideration. State the basis: ___________________________ ________________________________________________________________
□ Video conferencing requested. Request form has been submitted. See Lyc. Co. R.G.C.B. L8.
□ Attach this cover sheet to original motion previously filed on:
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.
2. ____ Briefs are to be filed by the following dates:
Filing party: ____________________________________
Responding party(ies): ____________________________________
3. ____ A rule is issued upon respondent to show cause why the petitioner is not entitled to the relief requested.
4. ____ A response to the motion/petition shall be filed as follows: _____________________________.
5. ____ See order attached. ____ See separate order issued this date.
cc: ALL PARTIES OR OTHERS TO BE SERVED WITH NOTICE MUST BE DESIGNATED IN “6” ABOVE.
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.
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.
E. Emergency petitions for child custody shall proceed under L1915.13-1.
(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.
Attorney’s signature Date
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. 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.
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.
L300. Dockets. The prothonotary shall keep and maintain the following dockets:
A. Judgment docket.
B. Mechanics lien docket, wherein shall be entered mechanics liens, releases and waivers thereof, and municipal claims.
C. Federal tax lien docket, wherein shall be entered federal tax liens.
D. Secured transaction docket.
E. Fictitious names docket.
F. General miscellaneous docket, wherein shall be entered all other actions and proceedings of every kind, except disciplinary cases.
G. Supplemental or pre-index docket.
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.
L411. Action for Support. In all actions against a defendant residing in Lycoming County, the domestic relations office shall serve the complaint, order and notice in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. 411.
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. This procedure shall apply to:
1. all exceptions to the report and recommendation entered with respect to claims filed in or collected through the domestic relations office; and,
2. all exceptions to the report and recommendation entered with respect to claims raised in a divorce action and which have not been filed in or collected through the domestic relations office.
B. The exceptions and one copy shall be filed with the prothonotary, and 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 cover sheet shall indicate whether or not a transcript of the Family Court hearing is required.
C. Hearing Date.
1. Upon the filing of exceptions under subparagraph A.1, above, a date for argument will be scheduled on the first available domestic relations hearing date occurring 21 days or more following the date of mailing of the temporary order.
2. Upon the filing of exceptions under subparagraph A.2, above, a date for argument will be scheduled on the first available miscellaneous date 21 days or more following the date of mailing of the temporary order.
L1910.14. Defendant Leaving the Jurisdiction. Any request for relief under Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.14 shall be filed in the office of the prothonotary with two copies: one each for the domestic relations office and the court administrator. The court shall then direct when and by what process the defendant shall be brought before the court.
A. Initially, the procedure provided for in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.15(a) and (b) shall be followed.
B. If the reputed father does not execute an acknowledgment of paternity, the court shall, on its own motion or motion of any party, including the domestic relations office, order blood tests pursuant to the Uniform Act on Blood Tests to Determine Paternity, 42 Pa.C.S. Section 6133 et seq. The domestic relations office will make arrangements for and schedule said testing. The costs for said tests will be advanced by the county from the Title IV-D Trustee Account. The costs will then become part of the cost of the case to be recovered from the defendant in the event of a verdict that he is the father of the subject child.
C. After results of blood tests have been received, the domestic relations office shall schedule a conference with the parties to determine whether the reputed father is excluded from paternity, wishes to acknowledge paternity, or still denies paternity.
D. If after the above conference there is neither an exclusion nor an acknowledgment of paternity, the domestic relations office shall request the office of the court administrator to place the case on the next appropriate pre-trial list and schedule it for trial.
E. Thereafter, the procedure will be in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.15(c) through (f).
L1910.22. Attachment of Wages, Salaries and Commissions.
A. Proceedings for relief under Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.22, if not initiated upon motion of the court or the domestic relations office, shall be initiated by the filing of a petition and rule to show cause along with a copy for the domestic relations office, in the office of the prothonotary.
B. The domestic relations office shall schedule a hearing before the family court hearing officer, who, after hearing, shall propose an order of court in conformity with the provisions of Pa.R.C.P. No. 1910.22(b) or (c).
C. Should either party to the proceeding disagree with the determination of the family court hearing officer, exceptions may be filed in accordance with the procedure found in Lyc. Co. R.C.P. L1910.10 and the matter will be heard by the court de novo.
CUSTODY AND VISITATION MATTERS
L1915.3. Custody Petitions and Procedure.
A. All petitions relating to custody or visitation with minor children shall be filed in accordance with rule L205.2(b)B.
B. All counts in a divorce complaint and all petitions relating to custody, partial custody, or visitation, of minor children shall be processed in accordance with Lyc. Co. R.C.P. L1915.3, et seq.
C. As part of the pre-trial procedures, the court administrator shall refer all custody-related complaints or petitions, (other than those alleging contempt or those accompanied by a petition for emergency relief, see L1915.13-1 and L1915.13-2) to a family court hearing officer for the scheduling of an initial conference with the parties and their respective counsel.
D. If the custody action is based upon a count of a divorce complaint an initial conference before a hearing officer will be scheduled upon the filing of a written praecipe or other written request by either party.
E. The court or hearing officer shall enter an order or notice scheduling the initial conference to be held at the earliest available date.
F. The moving party shall cause service of the complaint or petition or praecipe filed under subparagraph 1 or 2, above, and order or notice for conference, to be made on the opposing party.
G. Any pleading which requests the scheduling of a proceeding and also requests entry of a temporary order to maintain de facto custody provisions pending the initial conference shall set forth with specificity those facts supporting the Request for the temporary custody order pending the initial conference.
L1915.3-1. 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 Rules L1915.7 and L1915.8; 3) shall set a date for the pretrial conference.
L1915.3-2. Exceptions and Reconsideration of Interim Order.
A. No exceptions may be filed to an interim order entered in a custody action. Any matter not stipulated to at the initial conference may be reviewed at the pre-trial conference or resolved at trial.
B. Should a significant change in circumstances arise after entry of an interim order and before the pre-trial conference necessitating a modification of the interim order, which modification cannot be amicably agreed upon pending the pretrial conference, either party may file a motion for reconsideration of the interim order, setting forth all pertinent facts in support thereof or verified by the filing party. The court administrator shall refer such motion to the hearing officer who entered the interim order. Based on the allegations of the motion, the hearing officer may take any one or more of the following actions deemed appropriate under the circumstances: 1) enter an order summarily denying the motion; or 2) hold a telephone or other conference with counsel for both parties; or 3) after providing the opposing party an opportunity to respond, enter a modified interim order; or 4) direct that the matter be resolved at the pre-trial conference.
L1915.3-3. Approval of Recommended Orders. 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 a pre-trial order.
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.
A. 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.
B. Any request by the parties for evaluations made after the initial conference and not made at the pre-trial conference or entered into by stipulation must be made by motion in accordance with Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.8, alleging specific facts and reasons for the request, with a hearing to be held after reasonable notice to the other party.
C. 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 and shall be paid in accordance with Pa. R.C.P. No. 1915.8. A final allocation of the expense may be made by the court upon entry of an order or decision rendered on any issues raised in the proceeding.
D. Any evaluation filed with the court shall not be available for public inspection and shall be impounded by the prothonotary.
L1915.10-1. Pre-trial Conference. At the time set for the pre-trial conference, both parties shall submit a pre-trial memorandum in the form prescribed by the court. Both parties and their respective counsel shall appear before the court for presentation of the issues and discussion of possible settlement and disposition of any matters referred to the pre-trial conference judge.
L1915.10-2. Continuances. Any requests for a continuance of the initial conference, pre-trial conference or trial must be made on forms provided by the court administrator's office at the earliest opportunity. Continuance requests will be evaluated in light of the court's policy that custody disputes should be promptly resolved.
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.
L1915.13-1. Petition for Emergency Custody Relief. Ex Parte Hearing and Temporary Order.
A. Where a party believes there is a clear and present danger to the child(ren), that party may file a petition for emergency relief. The petition for emergency relief must be presented as a separate document headed "Petition for Emergency Custody Relief." The petition shall conform to the requirements of Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.15, as may be applicable, and must allege facts which clearly specify the clear and present danger to the welfare of the child(ren).
B. Upon filing, the petitioning party or counsel must present the petition to the court administrator, who shall immediately present the petition for emergency custody relief to a judge for consideration of the allegations. The judge shall either:
1. refer the petition to a hearing officer for an immediate ex parte hearing, which shall be held within two (2) business days of the presentation of the petition to the family court office; or,
2. direct that an initial conference be scheduled before a hearing officer pursuant to Rule L1915.3-1; or,
3. if it is ascertained that an initial conference has already been held and an interim order already issued under Rule L1915.3-3:
a. direct that the hearing officer consider the petition for emergency custody relief as a reconsideration request under Rule L1915.3-2; or
b. direct that the issues raised be disposed of at the pre-trial conference or trial.
C. If an ex parte hearing is ordered, he petitioning party or counsel shall present the order to the family court office for scheduling of the ex parte hearing. The party seeking emergency relief must appear before the hearing officer at the time scheduled for the ex parte hearing. Testimony will be to whether relief is warranted because of probable cause to believe a clear and present danger to the welfare of the child(ren) involved.
D. Upon making a determination that ex parte relief is warranted, the hearing officer shall forward to the court for approval a recommended temporary emergency order, which will include a provision scheduling a full hearing before the court, to be held within five (5) business days of the ex parte hearing. Prior to the full hearing before the court, the petition for emergency custody relief and the temporary emergency order containing notice of the 5-day hearing shall be served on the opposing party by the petitioning party in the same manner as original process. In addition to service on the opposing party, the petitioner shall make reasonable efforts to provide a copy of the documents to any attorney whom the petitioning party reasonably believes may be representing the interests of the other party.
E. Upon making a determination that ex parte relief is not warranted, the hearing officer shall forward to the court for approval a recommended order denying the petition for emergency custody relief. Such order may schedule the matter for disposition at: an initial conference under Rule L1915.3-1; as a reconsideration request under Rule L1915.3-2; or, if already scheduled for a pre-trial conference or trial on other issues, direct that the emergency issues be determined with all other issues at the pre-trial conference or trial.
L1915.13-2. Petition for Emergency Relief Due to the Custodial Parent Moving the Child(ren)Outside of the Jurisdiction.
A. Where a party believes there is a clear and specific intent that the child(ren) will be moved by the other party outside the jurisdiction of the court and that such move is not in the best interests of the child(ren), that party may file a petition requesting emergency relief, in a separate pleading captioned "Petition for Emergency Relief/Removal From the Jurisdiction." The petition shall conform to requirements of Pa.R.C.P. No. 1915.15, as may be applicable, and shall state the specific basis for the allegations justifying the request for an emergency hearing.
B. Upon filing, the petitioning party or counsel must present the petition to the court administrator, who shall immediately present the petition to a judge for consideration of the allegations. If the allegations are deemed sufficient in law, a timely evidentiary hearing on the issues will be held and the judge may also order any temporary relief as may be justified pending the hearing. If the allegations are not deemed sufficient in law to justify an emergency hearing, the judge may direct that the matter proceed to an initial conference under Rule L1915.3-1; or a reconsideration request under L1915.3-2; or, if already scheduled for a pre-trial conference or trial on other issues, direct that the re-location issues be determined together with all other issues.
C. Upon entry of an emergency relief order the petition, order and notice of the hearing date shall be served on the opposing party by the petitioner in the same manner as original process. In addition to service on the opposing party, the petitioner shall make reasonable efforts to provide a copy of the documents to any attorney whom the petitioner reasonably believes may be representing the interests of the other party.
DIVORCE OR ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE
L1920.13. Interim Relief. Any request for interim relief raised under Pa.R.C.P. No. 1920.13(c) shall be initially referred to the family court office for hearing. Proposed orders entered after hearing are subject to the exception procedure set forth in Lyc. Co. R.C.P. L1920.55.
A. A praecipe to transmit record requesting entry of a divorce decree under Domestic Relations Code §3301( c) or §3301(d) should not be filed prior to the resolution of all other claims raised unless an order has been entered permitting bifurcation or the other party consents to bifurcation. The filing party must indicate in the praecipe to transmit that either, (1) there are no outstanding claims, or (2) bifurcation has been consented to by the other party, as verified by an affidavit attached to the praecipe to transmit, or approved by court order, a copy of which is attached to the praecipe to transmit. Where the other party does not consent to bifurcation, a request for bifurcation shall be made by motion in accordance with the procedure set forth in rule L205.2(b)B., and may be referred by the court, in its discretion, to the family court hearing office for hearing thereon.
B. A motion for appointment of master to hear a claim for divorce on “fault” grounds may include a request for bifurcation. If such a request is included, the master shall rule on both the claim for divorce and the request for bifurcation. If both are granted, the master shall forward to the court a proposed decree, retaining jurisdiction of all outstanding claims. If the request for bifurcation is denied, assuming the claim for divorce is granted, no decree shall be entered until all remaining claims are resolved.
L1920.21. Bill of Particulars.
A. A praecipe for a rule to file a bill of particulars shall be considered untimely filed if it is filed after notice of the scheduling of a master's hearing on the contested divorce has been given, provided a copy of the motion for appointment of master was served on opposing counsel or party. All other objections as to the untimely filing of such a praecipe shall be raised by petition and rule.
B. A non pros entered pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. No. 1920.21(b) shall not be effective against ancillary claims for relief pleaded if grounds for divorce other than those under Domestic Relations Code Sections 3301(a) or 3301(b) have been alleged in the complaint or answer.
L1920.31. Joinder of Related Claims. Economic.
A. Any motion for sanctions filed pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 1920.31 may be referred to the family court office for hearing thereon. Any oral motion for sanctions made before a master at the time of hearing shall be disposed of by the master in the same manner as the court under Pa.R.C.P. No. 4019, subject to the exceptions procedure of Lyc. Co. R.C.P. L1920.55.
B. A preliminary conference on any issues raised in the pleadings will be scheduled only if requested by the filing of a praecipe.
C. A request for a hearing on child support, spousal support, alimony pendente lite, health insurance or interim counsel fees shall be made by filing a praecipe for hearing setting forth the claims to be heard. An original and copy for the family office shall be filed with the prothonotary and copies shall be served on the opposing counsel or party.
L1920.32. Joinder of Related Claims. Custody. All claims involving custody joined with an action for divorce or annulment shall be governed by the procedures set forth in rule L1915.3 et seq.
L1920.33. Joinder of Related Claims. Property. Any motion for sanctions filed pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. No. 1920.33(c) may be referred to the family court office for hearing thereon. Any oral motion for sanctions made before a master at the time of hearing shall be disposed of by the master in the same manner as the court under Pa.R.C.P. No. 4019, subject to the exception procedure of Lyc. Co. R.C.P. L1920.55.
L1920.42. Affidavit and Decree Under §3301(c) or §3301(d) of the Domestic Relations Code.
A. A copy of the praecipe to transmit record, proposed divorce decree, and notice that decree will be entered (unless notice has been waived under Pa. R.C.P. No. 1920.42(e)) shall be server upon opposing counsel or party and a certificate of service shall be filed.
B. If related claims are resolved by means of a written agreement between the parties, a copy of the agreement may be attached to the praecipe to transmit record along with an appropriate proposed decree. If related claims are pending, the attached proposed decree shall contain a provision reserving the court's jurisdiction over the unresolved issues.
C. A decree will not be entered unless the appropriate administrative fee has been paid to the prothonotary or the court has granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
L1920.43. Special Relief. The court, in its discretion, may refer certain requests for special relief to the family court office for hearing thereon.
L1920.45. Counseling. Requests for counseling shall be made on a form provided by the family court office. The request will be scheduled by the family court office for conference or hearing, as may be appropriate. When there is no other provision governing the time within which counseling may be requested or carried out, any request must be filed within such time as to not delay trial or a hearing.
L1920.51. Hearing by the Court. Appointment of Master.
A. All claims for relief on the merits, other than disputed claims as to custody or paternity shall initially be heard by a family court hearing officer or master. Any request for hearing before the court on matters other than custody and paternity shall be made by motion and will be granted by the court only upon cause shown.
B. Prior to a hearing on claims for equitable distribution, alimony or final counsel fees, costs and expenses, a pre-trial conference between counsel for the parties and the appointed master shall take place to narrow the claims to be determined, review compliance with discovery or disclosure, and to discuss settlement alternatives. The master may enter orders subject to court approval, pursuant to stipulation of the parties or in aid of the anticipated hearing.
C. A decree under Domestic Relations Code Sections 3301(a) and 3301(b) will not be entered unless the appropriate administrative fee has been paid to the prothonotary or the court has granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
D. The recommendation for disposition made by the master or hearing officer shall include a determination of the amount of master's fees or stenographic costs and a recommendation as to their allocation.
L1920.53. Hearing by Master. Report. Requests for continuances of conferences or hearings before a master or family court hearing officer shall be directed to the family court hearing office for decision by the master or hearing officer. Any disagreement with the decision of the hearing officer or master may be referred to the court for review.
L1920.55. Exception Procedure.
A. All exceptions to a Master's report and recommendation entered with respect to claims of child support, spousal support, alimony pendente lite or interim counsel fees raised in a divorce action shall be filed and processed in accordance with the procedure set forth in L1910.12.
B. Upon the filing of exceptions as to child support, spousal support, alimony pendente lite or interim counsel fees the recommended order shall be entered as a temporary order as to those issues and the exceptions shall not act as a stay pending resolution of the exception.
L1920.71. Form of Notice. The form of notice to defend and claim rights shall be in the form set forth in Pa.R.C.P. No. 1920.71 and Lyc. Co. R.C.P. L1018.1.
A. Any request for discovery in addition to that permitted by the rules shall be made to the court by 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.
B. The serving of interrogatories concerning alimony or the determination and distribution of property rights shall be considered untimely if filed after notice of the scheduling of a master's hearing on those claims has been given, provided a copy of the motion for appointment of master was served on opposing counsel or party.
C. In the case of interrogatories served pursuant to rules of civil procedure, 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, again 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.
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.