Opposing council did not answer complaint properly.

Q: Opposing council has not answered Count 4 of my Civil Complaint as required by the Rules of Civil Procedure. They answered it otherwise. As I understand the PA Rules of Civil Procedure, a failure to specifically deny a paragraph in the complaint has the effect of an admission The Arbitration Hearing is Thursday. Do I just start by saying he has admitted Count 4, and ask for a judgment? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A:  I assume you are referencing PA Rule of Civil Procedure 1029? I doubt the board of arbitrators will grant a judgment against the plaintiff for failure to specifically answer a paragraph in a complaint. You can raise it at the hearing and make your argument however.

Procedure in Allegheny County arbitration

Q: My husband and I are PRO SE on a case going to compulsory arbitration in Allegheny County. Will they (the arbitrators) just let us talk about what happened, or will we have to question each other? Also, how do we address the arbitrators? (Swissvale, PA)

A:  Arbitration panels in Allegheny County are composed of three attorneys from the legal community who are bound to follow state law and procedure. Most panels allow pro se litigants a little slack regarding conformity with the rules of civil procedure. However, I have seen panels apply the rules rigidly and cut people off for not complying with Rule 1305, attempting to admit documents that are not authenticated, or attempting to introduce hearsay statements. If this happens, a pro se litigant can find their case going south before they even know what hit them. Will you do better with an attorney? Most likely. Can you get by without one? Possibly.