Friday, February 11, 2011

A Pike County Tip from a Former Pike County Law Clerk (Me)

This is a “heads-up” for your Pike County cases from Tort Talk. As a former law clerk in the Pike County Court of Common Pleas for now Senior Judge Harold A. Thomson, Jr., I like to follow the court's decisions that come out of that county in the very Northeastern corner of Pennsylvania where my career began.

The Pike County Court of Common Pleas has recently issued a number of decisions, including Oliver v. Mazarul, No. 1374-2010-Civil (Pike Co. 2011, Chelak), in which both current Judges, President Judge Joseph Kameen and Judge Gregory Chelak, have indicated that the Pike County Court of Common Pleas has an “established policy of, in general, granting Preliminary Objections to untimely Preliminary Objections.”

The court has noted that Pa. R.C.P. 1026(a) requires Preliminary Objections to be filed within twenty (20) days of the service of a Complaint. When a party files a Preliminary Objections after the deadline, that party bears the burden of demonstrating just cause for the delay in filing the objections. The Court has cited Gale v. Mercy Medical Center, 698 A.2d 647 (Pa. Super. 1997) to support its strict stance on this issue.

Accordingly, if you intend to file Preliminary Objections in Pike County, you better get them filed within twenty (20) days of the Complaint or it will likely be summarily dismissed as untimely unless you can show a just cause for the delay.

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