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Title 252--ALLEGHENY COUNTY RULES

ALLEGHENY COUNTY

Rules of the Court of Common Pleas; Rules Doc. No. RD-2008-3-PJ

[38 Pa.B. 5947]
[Saturday, November 1, 2008]

Order of Court

   And Now, to-wit, this 14th day of October, 2008, pursuant to action of the Board of Judges, the within amended Local Rules 212.2 and 220.1, affecting the Civil Division of the Court of Common Pleas, are adopted, effective thirty (30) days after publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

By the Court

JOSEPH M. JAMES,   
President Judge

Local Rules 212.2 and 220.1

Local Rule 212.2 Pre-Trial Statement

   (a)  Each party shall file and serve upon all other parties a written pre-trial statement in conformity with the requirements of Pa.R.C.P. 212.2, except as set forth in (b) below.

   (b)  For cases which will be tried by jury, each party or group of parties with joint representation by one counsel shall be entitled to make a voir dire statement and to propose no more than five additional voir dire questions which are not duplicative of the voir dire questions already covered in Local Rule 220.1 and the Juror Questionnaire. If the party or group of parties wishes to avail itself of this opportunity, the following shall be included in the pre-trial statement:

(i)  verbatim text of the voir dire statement of 200 words or fewer, which will be given by counsel at the outset of voir dire; and
(ii)  not more than five proposed additional voir dire questions, which shall be handled in accordance with Local Rule 220.1(c).

   (c)  Disputes as to the propriety of any party's proposed voir dire statement or proposed additional voir dire questions shall be raised with the Calendar Control Judge during the conciliation which is scheduled immediately after the Call of the List. Each party shall bring to the conciliation an extra set of copies of their proposed voir dire statement and proposed additional voir dire questions.

Local Rule 220.1 Voir Dire

   In all civil actions to be tried before a jury, the parties shall be provided with the responses to the ''Juror Questionnaire'' completed by the members of the panel at the time that they report for jury duty (see Form), and the members of the panel shall be asked the questions set forth in this Local Rule (except those which all parties shall agree in advance to strike as inappropriate for the type of case involved). The questions shall be propounded by an Assignment Room Clerk, in the presence of all counsel. The voir dire process is open to the public.

   (a)  TO BE ADDRESSED TO THE GROUP:

   1)  The attorneys in this lawsuit will now introduce themselves, their law firms, and the parties they represent.

   [ Attorneys proceed in turn with introductions. ]

   Have you had any social, business or professional contact with any of these attorneys or their law firms?

   Do any of you know or have you had any social, business or professional contact or employment with any of the parties, or are any of you stockholders in _____ [ name of company(ies) ]?

   2)  The attorneys are now permitted to give you a brief statement about the case.

   [ Attorneys proceed in turn to deliver their approved voir dire statements. ]

   Does anyone know anything about this case?

   [ If no party elects to deliver a voir dire statement, then the Assignment Room Clerk proceeds as set forth below. ]

   This lawsuit concerns ______ .

   (description which clues the jury panel to the type of case--products liability, medical, fall down, construction, contract, etc.--along with a time period or date and a place, if applicable).

   Does anyone know anything about this case?

   3)  The attorneys will now identify for you all of their possible witnesses in this case.

   [ Attorneys proceed in turn to identify the names and addresses of all of their potential witnesses, including expert witnesses. This list should include all non-party witnesses listed in each party's pretrial statement, unless all parties agree otherwise. ]

   Do you know or have you had any association, either yourself or through any member of your family, with any of these individuals?

   (b)  TO BE ASKED INDIVIDUALLY:

   We will begin interrogation. Juror #1, will you please step forward.

   1)  What have you read, seen or heard about civil damage lawsuits?

   2)  Based on anything you may have read, seen or heard, do you have any feelings or opinions about civil damage lawsuits?

   a)  If so, what are those feelings or opinions?

   b)  Would your feelings or opinions about civil damage lawsuits prevent you from being fair and impartial?

   3)  This case involves a claim for money damages and is the type commonly called a ______ (products liability; medical malpractice; auto accident; breach of contract; etc.) lawsuit.

   a)  Do you have any feelings about this kind of case, or parties involved in this kind of case, that would tend to make you favor one party or the other; that is, the person bringing the lawsuit or the person being sued?

   b)  If so, what are those feelings?

   c)  Will that influence your judgment in this case so that you may not be able to be fair and impartial?

   4)  Do you have any opinion as to whether there should be a minimum or maximum amount of money that can be awarded to an injured party?

   5)  The following additional questions shall be asked in medical malpractice cases unless all parties agree in advance to strike them:

   a)  Have you been exposed to any information from the internet, newspapers, radio, TV or through contact with physicians, relatives or friends that has given you any feelings or opinions that relate to the effects of medical malpractice lawsuits on the costs or availability of medical services?

   b)  If so, what are those feelings or opinions?

   c)  Do you feel it is wrong to sue a doctor, hospital or other healthcare provider under any circumstances?

   d)  Do you believe that simply because of a bad or sad outcome, a doctor or healthcare provider must have made a mistake and should be obligated to pay money?

   6)  The following additional questions shall be asked in asbestos cases unless all parties agree in advance to strike them:

   a)  Have you or any member of your immediate family ever suffered from:

   *  Any type of cancer?

   *  Asbestosis?

   *  Emphysema?

   *  Silicosis?

   *  Chronic bronchitis?

   *  Black lung?

   *  Any other lung or respiratory disease?

   b)  Have you or any member of your immediate family ever been employed by a business engaged in manufacturing, supplying or removing insulation products containing asbestos?

   c)  Have you or any member of your immediate family ever worked with or been exposed to products which you understood to contain asbestos or silica?

   d)  Have you been exposed to any information from the internet, newspapers, radio, television or from other people discussing alleged health problems with asbestos or silica?

   e)  Did you ever, during your lifetime thus far, smoke:

   *  Cigarettes?

   *  Cigars?

   *  Pipe?

   If yes, what year did you stop smoking:

   *  Cigarettes?

   *  Cigars?

   *  Pipe?

   7)  This trial is expected to last ____ days. Is there any reason why you feel you cannot serve as a fair and impartial juror in this case?

   (c)  Up to five additional proposed voir dire questions may be submitted by each party or group of parties with joint representation by one counsel. Disputes as to the propriety of these questions shall be handled as set forth in Local Rule 212.2(c). At the time of voir dire, those proposed additional voir dire questions which were permitted by the Calendar Control Judge will be propounded by the Assignment Room Clerk, in the presence of all counsel, individually to each member of the panel.

   (d)  At the conclusion of individual questions to each member of the panel as set forth in parts (b) and (c) above, counsel will be permitted to ask reasonable follow-up questions regarding each panel member's responses to prior questions and responses to the Juror Questionnaire. In the absence of agreement by all parties to the contrary, the order of follow-up questioning shall proceed as the parties appear in the caption of the case.

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA CIVIL DIVISION
JUROR QUESTIONNAIRE

   1.  Full Name: __________

       Any other names by which you are known: __________

   2.  Year of Birth: ______         Place of Birth: __________

   3.  Neighborhood or Municipality in which you live:
       __________

       Length of time at current address ______ Rent or Own __________

       List other locations where you lived in the past ten (10) years:
       __________
       __________

   4.  Marital Status: ______   Spouse's Name: __________

       If other than single, how long have you been married, divorced, etc.?
       __________

   5.  Please provide the following information for your parents, spouse, children/stepchildren and any and all other adult members of your household:

Name Age Level of Education Current Occupation & Employer Reside w/you?

   For any of your children, list all prior occupations and employers they have had:
       __________
       __________

   Do you have brothers and sisters? Yes _____ No _____

   If so, what occupations and employers has each of them had?
       __________
       __________

   What occupations and employers has your spouse had?
       __________
       __________

   What are the current and prior occupations and employers of your parents?
       __________
       __________

   6.  Please indicate your highest level of education:

      Elementary _____ High School _____ GED _____ Technical/Vocational _____ College Graduate _____

   For all education you have had after high school, please provide the name of the school, college or university attended, the certificate or degree attained, and the major course of study:

School, College or University Degree or Certificate Attained Major Course of Study

   7.  Your Employment/Occupation

   Yourself _________________          _________________         _________________
                              Present Job                                             Employer                                    Time at this job

   If Retired _________________         _________________         _________________
                             Last Employer                                    Last Position Held                              Time at this job

   8.  Have you ever served in the military?      Yes ____  No ____

   If so, in which branch? ______ Years: ____  to ____

   What did you do? ______   Final rank: ______

   Honorable Discharge?      Yes ____  No ____

   9.  Have you or any members of your family been involved as plaintiff, defendant, witness or juror in a civil or criminal lawsuit or court case? Yes ____  No ____

   Who was involved? __________

   What was the nature of the lawsuit? __________

   Were you or your family member the plaintiff, defendant, witness or juror? __________

   What was the outcome? __________

   10.  Do either you, your spouse or your parents, children, brothers or sisters or any member of your immediate family, or anyone with whom you reside, have a business relationship, friendship or association with any person who is a law enforcement officer, a judge, a lawyer or a person who works or is affiliated with the Court system? Yes ____  No ____

   11.  Have either you, your spouse or your parents, children, brothers or sisters ever worked for or done business with the insurance industry or have any of you owned stock in an insurance company? Yes ____  No ____

   If so, please explain: __________

   Will that influence your judgment in this case so that you may not be able to be fair and impartial? Yes ______ No ______

   12.  Have either you, your spouse or your parents, children, brothers or sisters ever worked for or done business with the medical or healthcare industry?  Yes ____  No ____

   If so, please explain: __________

   Will that influence your judgment in this case so that you may not be able to be fair and impartial? Yes ______  No ______

   13.  Have you ever been involved in an automobile accident? Yes ____  No ____

   14.  Are you a licensed driver of a motor vehicle? Yes ____  No ____

   15.  Please list your family doctor and/or any other doctors that have treated you in the last two years.
        _________________         __________

   16.  Do you have any physical or mental condition or other situation which will affect your ability to serve on a jury? Yes ____  No ____

   I VERIFY, SUBJECT TO THE PENALTIES OF SECTION 4904 OF THE CRIMES CODE (18 Pa.C.S. 4904) RELATING TO UNSWORN FALSIFICATION TO AUTHORITIES, THAT THE FACTS SET FORTH IN THIS QUESTIONNAIRE ARE TRUE AND CORRECT.

Dated  _________________      __________
                        Signature

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 08-1959. Filed for public inspection October 31, 2008, 9:00 a.m.]




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