Tag Archives: PRAECIPE

I was served with a Praecipe for Writ of Summons

Q: We were served with a Praecipe for Writ of Summons. It says we have 20 days to respond. What happens if we don’t? Should we contact the Plaintiff’s attorney to see what they are claiming and seeking, or wait to see if they actually file a lawsuit before engaging with them? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: A civil writ in PA is generally used to toll (pause) a statute of limitations to give a plaintiff additional time to prepare and file a complaint with in the designated statute time. For example, if A wants to sue B, and the statute requires the complaint to be filed by 2/1/19, A can file a writ by 2/1/19 and get an extra 20 days (until 2/21/19) to actually file his complaint. Normally, we see this when plaintiffs decide to sue at the last minute for whatever reason. I have also, unfortunately, seen attorneys do this to harass and annoy a party. An attorney did this to my client by filing a civil writ just before trial in Orphan’s Court. I filed a Praecipe for Rule to File a Complaint, which required the attorney to file a Complaint in 20 days. Of course, he did not file a complaint in 20 days as he did not really have a cause of action and only did this to harass and intimidate my client. There are not many attorneys that misuse the rules in such a manner but there are few out there. I would take your papers to an attorney as there is a possibility you may be sued.

Can I appeal Mediator’s decision in child custody?

Q: I am in mediation for child custody. It is getting me NOWHERE! I am asking for spit custody, I end up with one weekend a month. How do I appeal the mediator’s decision? Do I file DE NOVO? What motion would I submit?

A: If you are referring to Allegheny County custody mediation, yes. The mediator only makes a recommendation. If you agree with it, you can enter a consent custody agreement with the other parent which is presented to a judge to sign off on. If you do not agree, you need to file a Praecipe for a Conciliation. The case will now be in the pipeline to a judge for conciliation first, then trial. I suggest that you hire a lawyer to navigate this for you.