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Motion Court Procedures


President Judge John J. Trucilla
Judge Stephanie Domitrovich
Judge William R. Cunningham
Judge Robert A. Sambroak, Jr.
Judge Elizabeth K. Kelly
Judge John Garhart
Judge Daniel J. Brabender, Jr.
Judge John J. Mead
Judge Joseph M. Walsh, III

 

 

President Judge John J. Trucilla

The following would apply to the Family/Orphans' Court Motion Court, as well as the Criminal/Civil Division Motion Court:

1. We will start promptly at 9:00 A.M.

2. Uncontested motions will be addressed first.

3. Contested motions will follow.

4. Pro se matters will be handled last.

5. With reference to out-of-town counsel, if they have a matter that is uncontested, that motion will be received by the Court without an appearance by the out-of-town counsel. However, if the matter is contested, the Court would expect that the out-of-town counsel be present or the matter will not be heard.

6. With respect to attorneys or walk-ins who appear in Motion Court after 9:00 A.M., this Court will address those matters as long as Motion Court is still in session when they arrive. Of course, this Court would expect that a lawyer who is running late or in another courtroom would call my secretary (Jean at Ext. 6481) for perhaps some forewarning.

7. For the proposed settlement of a minor's claim, there needs to be a recorded colloquy in which a parent or guardian is present to affirm the agreement.
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Judge Stephanie Domitrovich

1. This Court follows Rule 304 of the Local Rules of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County Sixth Judicial District of Pennsylvania.

2. These Local Rules have been recommended and approved by their respective Committees of the Erie County Bar Association and approved by the judges of the Erie County Bench. Rule 304, which was recommended and approved by the Civil Rules Committee states as follows:

RULE 304. FAMILY LAW/ORPHANS' DIVISION MOTION COURT

(a) Motion Court, for the purpose of obtaining a Final Order or an order for Emergency Relief, shall be held Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 9:00 a.m.

(b) All other Petitions and Motions seeking a Rule To Show Cause, Argument, or hearing date shall be presented only by counsel or pro se litigant, in duplicate, to the Family/Orphans’ Court Administrator between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

(c) A Motion Court Cover Sheet in the form which follows this rule shall be completed and attached to all Motions or Petitions filed.

(d) The Family/Orphans’ Court Administrator shall be responsible for scheduling with the Judges all Arguments, Hearings and Rules To Show Cause on Motions or Petitions presented to the Family/Orphans’s Court Administrator.

(e) The Attorneys or pro se litigants presenting a Motion or Petition to the Family/Orphans’ Court Administrator shall be responsible for filing original Petitions or Motions and Orders with the Prothonotary or Clerk of the Orphans’ Court and serving copies of the Order and Petition or Motion on opposing counsel or pro se litigants.

(f) The Family/Orphans’ Court Administrator shall collect one copy of the Petition or Motion and Order for the hearing Judge.

(g) The Motions or Petitions and Order shall be filed on the date the Order is signed.

(h) For Motions or Petitions seeking Emergency Relief or a final Order, notice shall be given to opposing counsel or pro se litigants pursuant to Rule 440 of the Erie County Local Rules.

(i) Insofar as this Rule is inconsistent with Erie County Local Rule 303, Rule 304 shall apply.

3. This Court will only consider written Motions or Petitions presented in Motion Court, accompanied by a proposed Order, which includes the specific relief sought in the Motion or Petition.

4. All Motions or Petitions presented in Motion Court shall be placed on the record.

5. Petitioning attorneys shall provide the caption of the case, in which they are petitioning, to the court reporter prior to the Court taking the bench.

6. The Court’s tipstaff will collect all pro se Motions or Petitions prior to the Court taking the bench. If a pro se Motion or Petition is not presented to the Court’s tipstaff prior to the Court taking the bench, the Court may decline to hear the Motion or Petition.

7. In regard to Petitions For Appointment Of Guardian Of The Person And/Or Estate Of A Minor, the minor child must be present, or the Court may decline the requested relief.

8. In regard to proposed settlements of a minor’s claim, this Court requires the minor child and the parents/guardians be present in court to affirm the agreement. Moreover, the proposed Order must include a provision that the funds shall be placed in a federally insured restricted account titled in the name of the minor child with a notation that no funds shall be withdrawn unless an Order of Court permits or until the minor child obtains the age of majority or any other specified age. Additionally proof of placement of the funds in the restricted account must be provided to the Register of Wills Office within thirty (30) days.

9. In regard to Petitions For Emergency Guardianship Of The Person And/Or Estate Of An Incapacitated Person, this Court follows Erie County Local Orphans’ Court Rule 14.2.4. However, Petitioners are expected to make all attempts to comply with the time limitations and procedures contained in Section 5513 of the Probate, Estates, & Fiduciaries Code [23 Pa. C.S. § 5513].
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Judge William R. Cunningham

1. Motion Court begins at 9:00 a.m. and continues until all matters are heard. All parties must check in with the tipstaff and complete the appropriate Motion Court form.

2. I will accept in my office any motion for which all parties consent to the relief requested. Likewise, I will accept in my chambers a Motion simply seeking a Rule to Show Cause hearing to which all parties consent.

3. Out-of-town counsel are treated the same as local counsel (including the responsibility to file original documents).
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Judge Robert A. Sambroak

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Judge Elizabeth K. Kelly

1. Motion Court starts at 9:00 a.m. Monday thru Thursday. Sometimes I will take the Bench a little early if there are attorneys present with uncontested matters. I never hear contested matters or potentially contested matters until 9:00 a.m.

2. Although Motion Court starts at 9:00 a.m. if attorneys come into Court after 9:00 a.m. and I am still on the Bench, I will hear their Motions. My Motion Court runs until I am done. There is no specific time limit.

3. I do not accept any Motions in my office (unless someone has come to Motion Court after I am off the Bench and the matter is uncontested). I do require written Motions to continue matters that are scheduled in front of me. It is my position that such requests should be submitted directly to me, and not another Judge. If both parties agree to the continuance, they can send the Motion to me via mail or office delivery with consents attached by counsel and/or pro se litigants. I do not require these Motion to be presented in Motion Court.

4. I do not have a separate set of rules for out-of-town counsel.

5. I do not differentiate what type of cases I hear on each day.
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Judge John Garhart

1. Motion Court is intended only for minor matters, where the entitlement to relief is clear and, for some reason, the consent of the other party cannot be obtained.

2. The moving party must be prepared to make a brief and plain statement demonstrating their right to relief and, if requested, cite to a clearly controlling rule or precedent.

3. A narrowly tailored Order must accompany the Motion.

4. Motion Court is not intended for matters requiring argument or testimony.

5. Matters presenting an "emergency" are not made ripe for Motion Court solely by virtue of their urgent nature. Rather the procedure is to file a Rule to Show Cause seeking a hearing or argument on an expedited basis.

6. Where both parties have consented to the relief, the Motion may be dropped off in Chambers provided the consent is set forth unequivocally in the Motion or by separate endorsement in the Motion.
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Judge Daniel J. Brabender, Jr.

More information to follow.
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Judge John J. Mead 

 

  1. If both parties have CONSENTED to the relief, the MOTION may be dropped off in Chambers, provided the consent is set forth clearly in the Motion or by separate endorsement in the Motion.
  2. We will start promptly at 9:00 A.M.
  3. A cover sheet MUST be COMPLETELY filled out by the moving party before being presented to the Judge.  Cover sheets for Motion Court can be found on the Erie County website.
  4.  IFP (IN FORMA PAUPERIS) form MUST BE COMPLETELY FILLED OUT  before being presented to the Judge.  IN FORMA PAUPERIS forms can be found on the Erie County website.
  5. Unconsented Motions will be addressed first.
  6. Contested Motions will follow.
  7. 7.     Pro Se matters will be handled last.(PRO SE = A PARTY WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY)
  8. Motion Court is intended only for MINOR MATTERS where the entitlement to relief is clear and for some reason the consent of the other party cannot be obtained.
  9. The moving party must be prepared to make a brief and plain statement demonstrating their right to relief.

10. An Order MUST accompany the Motion.

11. Motion Court is NOT intended for matters requiring substantial testimony.

12. Matters presenting an EMERGENCY are not necessarily going to be decided in Motion Court solely by virtue of their urgent nature. The procedure is to file a RULE TO SHOW CAUSE seeking a hearing or argument on an expedited basis.

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Judge Joseph M. Walsh, III

Motions and Motion Court

1.  Motion Court starts promptly at 9:00 A.M.  All parties must check in with the tipstaff and complete the appropriate Motion Court form(s).  Uncontested motions are addressed first.  Contested motions follow uncontested motions.  Pro se matters are heard last.  All motions shall be in writing.

2.  Motion Court is intended for minor matters only, where the entitlement to relief is clear, and, for good reason, the consent of the other party cannot be obtained.  Motion Court is not intended for matters requiring testimony and/or an evidentiary record.  Emergency matters requiring an evidentiary hearing will not be heard in Motion Court, however, you may come to Motion Court to explore scheduling an expedited hearing. 

3.  Time-stamped copies of uncontested motions / petitions, along with the agreed upon proposed order, may be delivered to my chambers for signature at any time, but must include a cover letter, or other verification indicating that all parties or their counsel consent to the proposed order;

4.  I follow Erie County Local Rule 304 with regard to contested motions.  If I have indicated that all future matters in a case are to be presented only to me, it is your responsibility to alert Court Administration so that the matter is placed on my schedule. 

5.  I require written motions to continue matters that are scheduled in front of me.  Those should be delivered to my chambers (not taken to another Judge), and must indicate whether they are contested.  Motions for continuance may be denied at my discretion, regardless of whether all parties consent, so do not remove the matter from your calendar until you have a signed Order from me. 

6.  I require written motions for parties or their counsel requesting to participate in a matter by telephone.  Such requests must be for good cause, and you must indicate whether all parties consent.  Motions for telephone testimony may be denied at my discretion, regardless of whether all parties consent. 

7.  In addition to a scheduling order / rule to show cause order, all motions, petitions, and other requests for relief must include a narrowly tailored proposed order addressing all of the relief you are requesting in the underlying motion/petition. 

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Erie County Courthouse - 140 West Sixth Street, Erie, PA 16501 - (814) 451-6000 - TDD Phone: (814) 451-6237 - Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm
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