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THE COURTS

Title 255--LOCAL
COURT RULES

LACKAWANNA COUNTY

Repeal and Adoption of Lackawanna County Rules of Civil Procedure; No. 94 CV 102

[39 Pa.B. 2929]
[Saturday, June 13, 2009]

Order

   And Now, this 27th day of May, 2009, it is hereby Ordered and Decreed that the attached Lackawanna County Rules of Civil Procedure are amended as follows:

   1.  Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 205.2(b), 1034, 1035.2 and 3129.1 are amended as reflected in the attached rules. The amended language of those rules appears in italics for ease of reference;

   2.  New Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143 and 1143.1 are adopted as reflected in the attached rules. The new language of those rules appears in italics for ease of reference;

   3.  In order to effectuate the new and amended rules attached hereto, new Form 1 (Civil Cover Sheet), Form 8 (Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program pursuant to Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 205.2(b) and 1143(a)), Form 9 (Request for Conciliation Conference), Form 10 (Case Management Order pursuant to Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143.1(c)), Form 11 (Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program pursuant to Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1034 or 1035.2), Form 12 (Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program pursuant to Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 3129.1), Form 13 (Affidavit pursuant to Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 3129.1) and Form 14 (Lackawanna County Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program Financial Worksheet) are adopted as reflected in the attached rules;

   4.  Pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 239(c)(2)--(6), the attached Local Rules shall be disseminated and published in the following manner:

   (a)  Seven (7) certified copies of the attached Local Rules shall be filed with the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts;

   (b)  Two (2) certified copies of the attached Local Rules and a computer diskette containing the text of the attached Local Rules in Microsoft Word format and labeled with the court's name and address and computer file name shall be distributed to the Legislative Reference Bureau for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin;

   (c)  One (1) certified copy of the attached Local Rules shall be filed with the Civil Procedural Rules Committee;

   (d)  The attached Local Rules shall be kept continuously available for public inspection and copying in the Office of the Clerk of Judicial Records, Civil Division, and upon request and payment of reasonable costs of reproduction and/mailing, the Clerk of Judicial Records shall furnish to any requesting person a copy of the requested Local Rule(s); and

   (e)  A computer diskette containing the text of the attached Local Rules in Microsoft Word format and labeled with the court's name and address and computer file name shall be distributed to the Lackawanna Bar Association for publication on the web site of the Lackawanna Bar Association.

   5.  The attached amendments to Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 205.2(b), 1034, 1035.2 and 3129.1 and new adoptions of Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143 and 1143.1 shall become effective thirty (30) days after the date of their publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. 239(d).

By the Court

CHESTER P. HARHUT,   
President Judge

Rule 205.2(b). Civil Cover Sheet.

   No summons, complaint, pleading or other document used to commence a new civil action will be accepted for filing by the Clerk of Judicial Records unless it is accompanies by a duly completed Civil Cover Sheet in the format set forth in Form 1 of the Appendix. In all residential mortgage foreclosure actions bearing the case code designation ''RP/MF/RES'' on the Civil Cover Sheet, no summons, complaint, pleading or other document used to commence a new residential mortgage foreclosure civil action will be accepted for filing by the Clerk of Judicial Records unless it is accompanied by a Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program form in the format set forth in Form 8 of the Appendix.

Rule 1034. Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings.

   (a)  A party filing a motion for judgment on the pleadings shall file the original motion for judgment on the pleadings with the Clerk of Judicial Records and shall deliver a copy of the same to the Court Administrator together with a praecipe for assignment in accordance with Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 211. The party filing a praecipe for assignment shall comply with the requirements of Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 211(b) prior to filing the praecipe for assignment. The filing of briefs, assignment of motion for judgment on the pleadings, and scheduling of oral argument, if necessary, shall be governed by Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 211(c)--(g).

   (b)  As a condition precedent to the filing of a motion for judgment on the pleadings in a residential mortgage foreclosure action involving a residential property which serves as the primary residence of the defendant/borrower, the plaintiff/lender must serve upon the defendant/borrower a ''Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program'' in the format set forth in Form 11 of the Appendix, unless such a Notice has already been served pursuant to Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143. Following the service of the ''Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program'' in the format prescribed in Form No. 11 of the Appendix, all proceedings shall be stayed for a period of sixty (60) days in order to afford the defendant/borrower an opportunity to qualify for participation in a court-supervised conciliation conference under Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143.1. Upon the expiration of that stay period, the plaintiff/lender in such a residential mortgage foreclosure action may proceed to file a motion for judgment on the pleadings in compliance with Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1034(a).

   (c)  If the defendant/borrower in a residential mortgage foreclosure action has taken the affirmative steps identified in the ''Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program'' to be eligible to participate in a court-supervised conciliation conference under this Rule, the defendant/borrower shall file a Request for Conciliation Conference in the format set forth in Form No. 9 of the Appendix. The Request for Conciliation Conference shall be filed with the Clerk of Judicial Records within sixty (60) days of service of the Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program and shall be served upon counsel for the plaintiff/lender. A copy of the Request for Conciliation Conference shall also be served upon the Court Administrator.

   (d)  Upon receipt of the Request for Conciliation Conference, the Court Administrator shall issue a Case Management Order (Form No. 10) as required by Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143.1(c). Conciliation conferences shall be scheduled and conducted in conformity with Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143.1(c)--(f).

Rule 1035.2. Motion for Summary Judgment.

   (a)  A party filing a motion for summary judgment shall file the original motion for summary judgment with the Clerk of Judicial Records and shall deliver a copy of the same to the Court Administrator together with a praecipe for assignment in accordance with Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 211. The party filing a praecipe for assignment shall comply with the requirements of Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 211(b) prior to filing the praecipe for assignment. The filing of briefs, assignment of motion for summary judgment and scheduling of oral argument, if necessary, shall be governed by Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 211(c)--(g).

   (b)  As a condition precedent to the filing of a motion for summary judgment in a residential mortgage foreclosure action involving a residential property which serves as the primary residence of the defendant/borrower, the plaintiff/lender must serve upon the defendant/borrower a ''Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program'' in the format set forth in Form 11 of the Appendix, unless such a Notice has already been served pursuant to Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143. Following the service of the ''Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program'' in the format prescribed in Form No. 11 of the Appendix, all proceedings shall be stayed for a period of sixty (60) days in order to afford the defendant/borrower an opportunity to qualify for participation in a court-supervised conciliation conference under Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143.1. Upon the expiration of that stay period, the plaintiff/lender in such a residential mortgage foreclosure action may proceed to file a motion for summary judgment in compliance with Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1035.2(a).

   (c)  If the defendant/borrower in a residential mortgage foreclosure action has taken the affirmative steps identified in the ''Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program'' to be eligible to participate in a court-supervised conciliation conference under this Rule, the defendant/borrower shall file a Request for Conciliation Conference in the format set forth in Form No. 9 of the Appendix. The Request for Conciliation Conference shall be filed with the Clerk of Judicial Records within sixty (60) days of service of the Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program and shall be served upon counsel for the plaintiff/lender. A copy of the Request for Conciliation Conference shall also be served upon the Court Administrator.

   (d)  Upon receipt of the Request for Conciliation Conference, the Court Administrator shall issue a Case Management Order (Form No. 10) as required by Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143.1(c). Conciliation conferences shall be scheduled and conducted in conformity with Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143.1(c)--(f).

Rule 1143. Commencement of Mortgage Foreclosure Action.

   (a)  In all residential mortgage foreclosure actions involving a residential property which serves as the primary residence of the defendant/borrower, the complaint must include a Civil Cover Sheet bearing the case code designation ''RP/MF/RES'' as required by Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 205.2(b). In addition to the Civil Cover Sheet bearing the case code designation ''RP/MF/RES,'' the complaint shall include a ''Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program'' in the format set forth in Form 8 of the Appendix. Service of the complaint in such a residential mortgage foreclosure action shall include the ''Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program'' advising the defendant/borrower of the action to be taken by the defendant/borrower within sixty (60) days of service of the complaint in order to participate in a court-supervised conciliation conference pursuant to Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143.1.

   (b)  If the defendant/borrower in a residential mortgage foreclosure action has taken the affirmative steps identified in the ''Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program'' to be eligible to participate in a court-supervised conciliation conference under Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143.1, the defendant/borrower shall file a Request for Conciliation Conference in the format set forth in Form 9 of the Appendix. The Request for Conciliation Conference shall be filed with the Clerk of Judicial Records within sixty (60) days of service of the complaint and Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program and shall be served upon counsel for the plaintiff/lender. A copy of the Request for Conciliation Conference shall also be served upon the Court Administrator.

   (c)  Upon receipt of the Request for Conciliation Conference, the Court Administrator shall issue a Case Management Order (Form No. 10) as required by Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143.1(c). Conciliation Conferences shall be scheduled and conducted in conformity with Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143.1(c)--(f).

   (d)  Following the service of the ''Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program'' (Form No. 8) in a residential mortgage foreclosure action bearing the case code designation ''RP/MF/RES,'' all proceedings shall be stayed for a period of sixty (60) days in order to afford the defendant/borrower an opportunity to qualify for participation in a court-supervised conciliation conference.

Rule 1143.1. Conciliation Conference in Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Actions.

   (a)  The defendant/borrower shall be entitled to participate in a court-supervised conciliation conference with the plaintiff/borrower in all residential mortgage foreclosure actions in which the defendant/borrower: (i) has been served with a Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program pursuant to Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 205.2(b), 1034(b), 1035.2(b), 1143(a) or 3129.1(c); (ii) has completed a financial worksheet in the format set forth in Form No. 14 of the Appendix in advance of the Conciliation Conference; and (iii) has filed and served a Request for Conciliation Conference. If the defendant/borrower in a residential mortgage foreclosure action has already participated in a conciliation conference, the plaintiff/lender or the defendant/borrower may request an additional conciliation conference for good cause shown by presenting a motion seeking the scheduling of a conciliation conference in accordance with Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 208.3(a).

   (b)  To be eligible to participate in a Conciliation Conference, a self-represented defendant/borrower who has been served with a Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program under Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 205.2(b), 1034(b), 1035.2(b), 1143(a) or 3129.1(c) must contact and meet with one of the housing counselors identified in the Notice, complete a financial worksheet (Form No. 14), and file the Request for Conciliation Conference form within the time deadlines set forth in the applicable Notice. If the defendant/borrower is represented by counsel, the defendant/borrower need not contact and meet with one of the identified housing counselors as a condition precedent to requesting a Conciliation Conference, provided that counsel for the defendant/borrower completes the prescribed financial worksheet (Form No. 14), and files the Request for Conciliation Conference form within the time deadlines set forth in the applicable Notice. In the event that the defendant/borrower has not been served with a Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program pursuant to Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 205.2(b), 1034(b), 1035.2(b), 1143(a) or 3129.1(c), the defendant/borrower in a residential mortgage foreclosure action shall have the right to participate in a court-supervised conciliation conference provided that the defendant/borrower completes a financial worksheet (Form No. 14), files a Request for Conciliation Conference form with the Clerk of Judicial Records and delivers a time-stamped copy to the Court Administrator.

   (c)  Upon receipt of a duly-filed Request for Conciliation Conference form, the Court Administrator shall issue a Case Management Order (Form No. 10) scheduling the matter for the next available Conciliation Conference list. The Case Management Order shall specify the date, time and place of the Conciliation Conference and shall be forwarded by the Court Administrator via ordinary mail to counsel for the parties and to any self-represented parties. At least fourteen (14) days prior to the date of the Conciliation Conference, the defendant/borrower must serve upon the plaintiff/lender or its counsel a copy of the ''Lackawanna County Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program Financial Worksheet'' (Form No. 14) which has been completed by the defendant/borrower in compliance with Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143.1. The failure to do so will result in the removal of the case from the Conciliation Conference schedule and the termination of the temporary stay of proceedings under Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1034(b), 1035.2(b), 1143(d) or 3129.1(e).

   (d)  Conciliation Conferences in residential mortgage foreclosure actions will be conducted in the Jury Orientation Lounge, 1st Floor, Lackawanna County Court House at 10:00 AM on the last Friday of each month. In the event that the last Friday of a month falls on a holiday, the Conciliation Conference will be conducted on the preceding Friday unless another date is fixed by the Case Management Order.

   (e)  Conciliation Conferences will be conducted by the presiding judge unless a Special Master or Judge Pro Tempore is appointed by the Court to conduct the Conciliation Conference. The defendant/borrower and counsel for the parties must attend the Conciliation Conference in person and an authorized representative of the plaintiff/lender must either attend the Conciliation Conference in person or be available by telephone during the course of the Conciliation Conference. The representative of the plaintiff/lender who participates in the Conciliation Conference must possess the actual authority to reach a mutually acceptable resolution, and counsel for the plaintiff/lender must discuss resolution proposals with that authorized representative in advance of the Conciliation Conference. The Court in its discretion may require the personal attendance of the authorized representative of the plaintiff/lender at the Conciliation Conference.

   (f)  At the Conciliation Conference, the parties and their counsel shall be prepared to discuss and explore all available resolution options which include: bringing the mortgage current through a reinstatement; paying off the mortgage; proposing a forbearance agreement or repayment plan to bring the account current over time; agreeing to vacate in the near future in exchange for not contesting the matter and a monetary payment; offering the lender a deed in lieu of foreclosure; entering into a loan modification or a reverse mortgage; paying the mortgage default over sixty months; and the institution of bankruptcy proceedings.

Rule 3129.1. Notice of Sale. Real Property.

   (a)  Whenever a sale of real property is governed by Pa. R.C.P. 3129.1, all handbills, written notices, and publications shall include, as part of the location of the property, a street address.

   (b)  Street address is defined as the street number and street name where a number exists. Where no street number exists, the street address is defined as the land and/or portion of land between the nearest two street numbers and/or intersecting streets which do exist and the street name.

   (c)  If the real property sought to be sold pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. 3129.1 is a residential property which serves as the primary residence of the defendant(s)/borrower(s), and unless the defendant(s)/borrower(s) has already been served with the required ''Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program'' pursuant to Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 205.2(b), 1034(b), 1035.2(b) or 1143(a), the plaintiff/lender must serve a ''Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program'' upon the defendant(s)/borrower(s) in the format set forth in Form No. 12 of the Appendix and file an ''Affidavit Pursuant to Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 3129.1'' in the format set forth in Form No. 13 attesting either that: (1) the defendant(s)/borrower(s) has not opted to participate in the ''Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program'' within the time prescribed in the ''Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program;'' or (2) the defendant(s)/borrower(s) has participated in a court-supervised conciliation conference, but the residential mortgage foreclosure claim has not been resolved and no further conciliation conferences are scheduled.

   (d)  The affidavit required by Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 3129.1(c) shall be filed with the Clerk of Judicial Records and a copy shall be delivered to the Sheriff's Office before any residential property may be listed for Sheriff's Sale. The affidavit required by this Rule shall be in the format set forth in Form No. 13 of the Appendix.

   (e)  If the defendant/borrower in a residential mortgage foreclosure action has taken the affirmative steps identified in the ''Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program'' to be eligible to participate in a court-supervised conciliation conference, the defendant/borrower shall file a Request for Conciliation Conference in the format set forth in Form 10 of the Appendix. The Request for Conciliation Conference shall be filed with the Clerk of Judicial Records within sixty (60) days of service of the ''Notice of Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program'' and shall be served upon counsel for the plaintiff/lender. A copy of the Request for Conciliation Conference shall also be served upon the Court Administrator. Upon receipt of the Request for Conciliation Conference, the Court Administrator shall issue a Case Management Order (Form No. 10) as required by Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143.1(c). Conciliation Conferences shall be scheduled and conducted in conformity with Lacka. Co. R.C.P. 1143.1(c)--(f).

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 09-1055. Filed for public inspection June 12, 2009, 9:00 a.m.]



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