The Civil Section has jurisdiction over actions at law and equity along with appeals from Municipal Court and certain administrative agencies and boards. The Trial Division Civil Section has jurisdiction over civil claims involving amounts in excess of $10,000. The variety of civil actions that may be brought in the Trial Division Civil Section includes Negligence, Contract and Equity Action.
1880 JFK Boulevard, 5TH Floor
Telephone: (215) 686-9590
Fax: (215) 686-9594
All civil actions filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County with an amount in controversy of $50,000 or less, excluding equitable actions and claims to real estate, must first proceed to a compulsory arbitration hearing before a panel of three attorneys who have been court certified to serve as arbitrators.
Major Jury Program encompasses all Major Civil Jury cases except Commerce and Mass Tort cases. Major Jury Case Management is the system that has been created to coordinate and schedule these cases for trial. To manage these cases more effectively, judges assigned to this program are divided into teams. Each team is assigned a Court Administrative Officer who acts as the liaison to the Team Leader.
ROOM 691 CITY HALL
The Dispute Resolution Center of the Court of Common Pleas provides a centralized location for mandatory settlement conferences. In so doing, it encourages uniform procedures for these conferences while offering litigants comfortable modernized facilities for the disposition of civil cases within historic City Hall. Peter J. Divon is the Manager of the Dispute Resolution Center, which is located on the Sixth Floor of City Hall, in Room 691 (215-686-7914 firstname.lastname@example.org). The Center operates Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fax number: 215-686-7915, Nora Gallagher, Legal Clerk, 215-686-7974, Nora.Gallagher@courts.phila.gov.
MANDATORY SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE
Mandatory Settlement Conferences are conducted in every major jury case. The conferences are presided over by a Judge Pro Tempore and are scheduled in accordance with the Case Management Order that is issued in all cases approximately ninety (90) days after commencement of suit. The court provides notice to all counsel of record and unrepresented parties approximately thirty (30) days before the scheduled conference advising them of the date, time, and place of their settlement conference. This information may also be obtained from the first page of the civil docket.
Judges Pro Tempore (Judge(s) Pro Tem) are recruited from the Philadelphia Bar Association to preside over the settlement conferences. Judicial Team Leaders are frequently available to participate in the conference, if necessary and appropriate.
In preparation for the conference, the Judge Pro Tem reviews the case file in order to effectively discuss all issues with the parties. In the event a case does not settle at the conference, the Judge Pro Tem is available by telephone or for follow-up conferences and/or to assist the parties as requested. However, these follow-up conferences and calls will not delay the court's schedule for this case. At the conclusion of each settlement conference, the Judge Pro Tem must complete a settlement conference report. The report should include the range settlement value of the case and references to salient issues. This report is provided to the Judicial Team Leader along with the case file in preparation for the next scheduled event, the final Pretrial Conference.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF COUNSEL AND PARTIES
Counsel and unrepresented parties must file a settlement memorandum at least ten (10) days before the conference, appear at the settlement conference, on time and with settlement authority from their clients. The parties and claim representatives are not required to appear with counsel, but must be available by telephone during the conference. Failure of counsel to file a memorandum, appear, and/or failure of a party or claim representative to be available by telephone during the conference may result in the issuance of a Rule to Show Cause before the appropriate Judicial Team Leader. Should the case settle before or after the conference, counsel shall notify the court immediately in writing.
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