Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Superior Court to Identify Authors of Unpublished Memorandum Opinions

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has announced that it will start the process of identifying the authors of its unpublished memorandum Opinions.

This move was made, in part, to allow attorneys to learn which Judge wrote the Opinion in the case argued before the court.

Generally speaking, when a Superior Court Opinion does not address a new issue, the author of that opinion can elect to issue the Opinion as a non-precedential, unpublished memorandum Opinion.  Given the thousands of cases the court addresses, it is a fairly common result that the court's Opinion is issued as a Memorandum Opinion.

Note that under Pa.R.A.P. 3519(b), a request can be made to the Superior Court by either the trial court judge or one of the attorneys involved in the matter that the Opinion be changed from a memorandum Opinion to a published Opinion.  According to the Rule, that request should be made within 14 days of the issuance of the Opinion.  The Rule also states that the decision on whether or not to grant the request is solely within the discretion of the Superior Court panel that decided the case.

Source: Article--"Superior Court to Identify Authors of Memorandums," by Ben Present in the 7/12/11 Legal Intelligencer.

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