Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

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A Typical Day in Motions Court.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | October 17, 2010

No. 520

Judge Wettick schedules arbitration case motions at 10:00 on Friday and it so happened that my motion was listed next to last.  Since I couldn’t leave, I decided to sit in the front where I could at least listen to what was going on.  Here’s a non-scientific sample of the kind of stuff that comes up at motions:

–   Several late appeals from magistrate’s award.  You have 30 days to appeal from the award of a Magisterial District Judge.  If you do, either be on time or have a very good reason why you were late. The Great Snowmageddon of 2010 might do it (provided your timing was right). Other snow jobs, however, will probably not work.  None of the reasons offered at motions that day had a snowball’s chance in Hell of convincing the Judge to permit the appeal nunc pro tunc. [out of time]

–  Several lay people failed to attach a contract or other writing upon which the case was based to their complaint.  Lawyers forget to do it too.  But when they receive PO’s in the mail, they usually file an amended complaint forthwith, avoiding public embarrassment at motions court.

–  One lawyer, suing on a credit card balance, didn’t attach enough documentation to the complaint. After a  few pointed questions by the judge, he and the opposing counsel went to the back of the room and worked it out.

–  One baffled layman used the short form complaint to file a claim over $3,000.00.  He has 20 days to figure out what he is supposed to do.  I think he left without a clue.

–  Another unrepresented person had tried to open a default judgment on a credit card case, but too late.

–  Then, the lawyer who handles the most credit card collections cases in town took the floor and proceeded to win a long list of motions where the opposing party did not appear.

–  There were a few landlords and a number of tenants.  Since most were not there on the same case, they won by default.  They included a landlord and a lawyer getting orders to collect rents in escrow after tenants had moved out or been evicted. I was the lawyer.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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