Costs; Mediation Judge; Form of Papers.
(1) To facilitate settlement and otherwise
assist in the expeditious resolution of matters before the Commonwealth Court,
appeals of orders of the courts of common pleas, petitions for review of state
administrative agency decisions filed in the Court's appellate jurisdiction,
and matters filed in the Court's original jurisdiction may be selected for
mediation by the Court's Mediation Program.
(2) Tax appeals from orders of the Board of
Finance and Revenue, which are subject to a status conference program, shall be
excluded from the Mediation Program.
(3) Mediation shall be offered at no cost to
(4) Mediation shall
be conducted by a Mediation Judge. The Mediation Judge may dispose of motions
related to the scheduling of mediation and the mediation process. The Mediation
Judge shall have authority to impose any necessary sanctions for the failure of
any attorney or party to comply with the requirements of the Mediation Program.
(5) The mediation statement
required by this section, and any other documents prepared for submission to
the Mediation Judge, shall follow the format required by Pa.R.A.P. 124(a).
of Cases and Scheduling; Mediation Statement.
(1) Counseled matters shall be screened for
referral to mediation immediately upon the filing of the Docketing Statement
and all attachments as required by Pa.R.A.P. 3706. Any matter not initially
screened or selected for mediation may be referred to the Mediation Program at
any time upon request of any party or at the direction of any Judge, en banc or
three-judge panel of the Court.
(2) After a matter has been selected for
mediation, the Prothonotary shall notify the parties of the referral to the
Mediation Program and the name of the Mediation Judge assigned to conduct
mediation. The Mediation Judge, when appropriate, shall promptly contact the
parties to establish the location, date and time for mediation.
(3) Within ten days of receiving notice of
mediation, or as otherwise directed, each party shall submit to the Mediation
Judge a confidential mediation statement of no more than five pages, setting
forth the positions of the party as to the key disputed and undisputed facts
and legal issues in the matter, and stating whether prior settlement
negotiations have occurred. The mediation statement shall focus on practical
considerations in the matter and the party's good faith position on resolving
issues by compromise and agreement. The mediation statement shall also identify
any motions filed in Commonwealth Court and their disposition. The mediation
statement shall not be filed with the Prothonotary or served upon opposing
parties, and shall remain confidential.
(4) All matters referred to mediation shall
remain subject to the Court's normal scheduling for briefing and oral argument.
The Prothonotary shall not modify the Court's briefing or oral argument
schedule unless so directed by the Mediation Judge to accommodate mediation.
Confidentiality; Settlement; Effect of Mediation.
(1) All mediation sessions must be attended
by each unrepresented party and counsel for each represented party with
authority to settle the matter and, if required, such other persons with actual
authority to negotiate a settlement, whether involving the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania, a local government unit, or an individual litigant. The Mediation
Judge may at his or her discretion require the parties (or real parties in
interest) to attend mediation. In cases involving the Commonwealth government,
upon direction of the Mediation Judge, counsel shall have available someone
from the appropriate agency with authority to settle who can be reached during
mediation to discuss settlement if such person is not already required to
attend the mediation session. In the alternative, the Mediation Judge may
obtain the name and title of the government official or officials authorized to
settle on behalf of the state or local government unit.
(2) No future mediation shall be conducted
unless the Mediation Judge determines that further sessions are necessary to
effectuate a settlement. The Mediation Judge assigned to mediate a matter shall
attend all future mediation sessions scheduled in the case.
(3) All participants in the Mediation Program
shall act with due diligence and in good faith.
(4) The Mediation Judge shall not disclose
the substance of the mediation settlement discussions and proceedings, and
counsel likewise shall not disclose such discussions and proceedings to anyone
other than their clients or co-counsel. No information obtained during
settlement discussions shall be construed as an admission against interest, and
the parties shall not use any information obtained during settlement
discussions as the basis for any motion or application other than one related
to the Court's briefing or argument scheduling. All mediation information,
documents and communications are to be kept strictly confidential, not to be
used or disclosed outside of mediation. All statements made in the course of
mediation are for mediation purposes only and are not to be construed as
representing the official position of the Mediation Judge, the Court, or any
settlement is reached, the parties shall prepare a written settlement agreement
and obtain all necessary signatures of the parties and counsel. The agreement
shall be binding upon the parties to the agreement, and after execution or any
necessary approval by a tribunal, the parties shall file a stipulation of
dismissal within ten days thereof. Where necessary or upon the request of a
party, the Mediation Judge may enter an appropriate order approving the
settlement or remanding the matter to the tribunal below for its approval,
enforcement, or implementation.
(6) Any matter not resolved by mediation
shall remain on the Court's docket and proceed as if mediation had not
(7) A Mediation Judge
who reviewed a mediation statement or conducted a mediation session shall not
participate in any decision on the merits of the matter. Upon the termination
of mediation, either through settlement and dismissal or through a continuation
of the matter and final disposition on the Court's docket, the Mediation Judge
shall dispose of all documents obtained during mediation.