August 4, 2004

The meeting was called to order at approximately 12:15 p.m. by Co-Chair Kathleen Wilkinson of the State Civil Committee.

I. Introduction
Kathleen Wilkinson welcomed everyone to the meeting and provided a general overview of the following topics:

  1. the upcoming Bench/Bar Conference in Atlantic City in November 2004;
  2. an upcoming meeting in April 2005 in Philadelphia of the Civil Litigation Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association; and
  3. finalization of the State Civil Litigation Section.

II. State Civil Litigation Section
Ms. Wilkinson discussed that, according to the Association Bylaws, dues will be required for the new Section. After discussion among the members, it was agreed that dues of $10 would be acceptable to the members.

III. Possible Changes To The Recent Professional Liability Rules
The Committee then engaged in an extensive discussion of possible recommended changes to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1042.1-8 which would be forwarded to the State Civil Procedural Rules Committee. Among the topics discussed at length were:

  • a requirement that Certificates of Merit be provided for all licensed professionals alleged to have engaged in a deviation from an acceptable professional standard regardless of whether they are named as defendants;
  • the inability to engage in extensive pre-complaint discovery in professional liability actions; and
  • the ability to obtain a judgment of non-pros without notice.

Following the discussion, a consensus was reached to finalize a letter prepared by Co-Chair Robert Szostak to be forwarded to the Chair of the State Civil Procedural Rules Committee, the Honorable R. Stanton Wettick, addressing the above topics.

IV. Bench/Bar Conference
Ronald Kovler then advised the members of the Committee about the upcoming Bench/Bar Conference, encouraging the members to attend the conference. Mr. Kovler noted that it was expected that many members of the Court would attend and, therefore, there would be a great opportunity for interaction between members of the Court and the Bar.

V. Local Rule Changes
Judge Moss then advised the members of the Committee that there would be two changes to be implemented in the near future in Discovery Court:

  1. a memorandum of law would not be required for a motion in Discovery Court; and 
  2. there would be modification of the service rule requiring only a ten day notice of an intent to file a motion in Discovery Court.

VI. Next Meeting
The next meeting is currently scheduled for Sept. 1 at the usual location at the Bar Association.

The meeting adjourned at approximately 1:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Gregg W. Mackuse