NEWS  

1101 Market Street, 11th Floor • Philadelphia, PA 19107

Phone: 215-238-6300 • Fax: 215-238-1267 • www.philadelphiabar.org

May 06, 2020

FJD Notice To The Bar: Protocol For Discovery Motions During Judicial Emergency Created By COVID-19

FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
PHILADELPHIA COURT OF COMMON PLEAS

TRIAL DIVISION - CIVIL
NOTICE TO THE BAR

PROTOCOL FOR DISCOVERY MOTIONS
DURING JUDICIAL EMERGENCY CREATED BY COVID-19

In order to facilitate the prompt resolution and docketing of discovery disputes that are either withdrawn, entered by agreement, uncontested, or contested the Court is ordering that the parties follow this protocol until further Notice to the Bar:

For any civil matter currently pending in which counsel or a party has filed a discovery motion, the movant shall, within 20 days of this Court's Notice to the Bar, submit through the E-filing system for the Court's review an appropriate Praecipe as contained in this Protocol.

  1. For all Discovery motions that are withdrawn, the moving party shall file a Praecipe to Withdraw, identifying the e-file number, and identifying the party or parties against whom the motion is pending, with the relief sought. See the attached form for the appropriate format to be used for this Praecipe to Withdraw.

  2. For all Discovery motions entered by agreement, the moving party must file a Praecipe to Enter Discovery Order By Agreement. The praecipe shall identify the e-file number, and identify the party or parties against whom the motion is pending, with the relief sought. Parties may stipulate to entry of sanctions or preclusion through the Praecipe to Enter Discovery Order By Agreement. This praecipe shall request that the Office of Judicial Records enter, upon Court review, the stipulated order marked BY AGREEMENT and prepared by counsel for the movant with an appropriate certification that the other party(s) agree to the terms of the stipulated order. Counsel for the movant shall retain written proof of the agreement/consent from all counsel in the matter to the stipulated order. See the attached form for the appropriate format to be used for the requisite praecipe and certification.

  3. For all uncontested Discovery motions, the moving party shall file a Praecipe to Enter Uncontested Discovery Order. The praecipe shall identify the e-file number, and identify the party or parties against whom the motion is pending, with the relief sought. Parties shall not seek entry of sanctions or preclusion through the Praecipe to Enter Uncontested Discovery Order. This praecipe shall request that the Office of Judicial Records enter, upon Court review, the stipulated order marked UNCONTESTED prepared by counsel for the movant with an appropriate certification that the motion is uncontested. Counsel for the movant shall retain written proof of the consent from all counsel in the matter to the stipulated order and the fact that it is uncontested. See the attached form for the appropriate format to be used for the requisite praecipe and certification.

  4. For all Discovery motions concerning any person or entity which is not a party to the applicable action (collectively referred to as a "Third-party") which are by agreement or uncontested, the moving party or person shall file a Praecipe to Enter Discovery Order Against a Third-party. The praecipe shall identify the e-file number, attach the motion cover sheet of the pending motion, and identify the Third-party or parties against whom the motion is pending, with the relief sought. Sanctions or orders for preclusion may be entered by agreement; however, no sanction or order for preclusion may be entered by way of uncontested motion. This praecipe shall request that the Office of Judicial Records, upon Court review, enter the stipulated order marked by agreement or uncontested with an appropriate certification that the motion is by agreement or uncontested. The certification shall also set forth the means of service of the motion and include a valid electronic means of contacting the third-party against whom the motion is pending. Counsel for the movant shall retain written proof of the consent from the third party to the stipulated order and the fact that it is by agreement or uncontested. See the attached form for the appropriate format of the requisite praecipe and certification to be used for submission to the court hereunder. Movant shall provide the third party with a copy of the Order.

  5. For all contested Discovery motions (including third-party motions), the moving party or person shall file a Praecipe for Contested Discovery Motion. The praecipe shall identify the e-file number, and identify the party or parties against whom the motion is pending, with the relief sought. This praecipe shall confirm that counsel for the movant has conferred or made reasonable efforts to confer with the opposing party or third-party and/or its counsel to resolve the dispute and despite reasonable efforts, the parties are unable to resolve the dispute without court intervention. The praecipe shall contain a notice to plead. See the attached form for the appropriate format to be used for this praecipe and certification. Upon receipt of the praecipe, the Office of Judicial Records shall assign the Discovery Motion a control number. Respondent(s) shall within 10 days of the filing of the praecipe file a response to the Contested Discovery Motion.

Notes:

Be advised: All praecipe and certifications described above shall be made subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 4904 regarding unsworn falsifications to authorities.

Be advised: Any movant which has filed a discovery motion which is pending as of the date of this Judicial Notice and who does not comply with this Protocol may have their motion dismissed without prejudice. If a respondent does not comply with this protocol the motion may be granted as uncontested. Within 20 days from the date of such dismissal without prejudice, any party shall have the right to refile any motion which has been dismissed without prejudice as a result of failing to comply with this protocol.

Honorable Jacqueline F. Allen
Administrative Judge
Trial Division

Honorable Arnold L. New
Supervising Judge
Trial Division – Civil

Honorable Gary S. Glazer
Supervising Judge
Trial Division - Commerce

Attachments

# # #