§ 131.13. Continuances or postponements of hearings.

 (a)  It is the intent of this chapter to discourage repeated continuances or postponements of hearings.

 (b)  Parties shall make every effort to avoid continuances or postponements by the prompt scheduling and submission of expert and medical testimony and by the prompt presentation of lay testimony.

 (c)  A continuance or postponement may be granted as set forth in this chapter for good cause shown at the discretion of the judge, if the continuance or postponement is consistent with this chapter and its purpose of providing an orderly and expeditious determination of proceedings before judges.

 (d)  Requests for a continuance or postponement must be:

   (1)  Made in writing or at a hearing. If not made in writing or at a hearing, confirmed in writing as required by this subsection and served as required by subsection (h).

   (2)  Made not later than 10 calendar days prior to the hearing date, except as set forth in subsection (f).

 (e)  Prior to the request for a continuance or a postponement, the party requesting the continuance or postponement shall ascertain the position of all counsel of record and unrepresented parties in the case relating to the continuance or postponement and shall advise the judge of the foregoing at the time of the request.

 (f)  A request for a continuance or postponement made within 10 calendar days prior to the hearing date will not be considered unless the judge is satisfied that circumstances relating to the requested continuance or postponement occurred within 10 calendar days of the hearing date.

 (g)  Requests for a continuance or postponement or written confirmation of the continuance or postponement must contain at least the following information:

   (1)  The identity of the requesting party.

   (2)  A detailed statement of the position of all counsel of record and unrepresented parties on the request for a continuance or postponement or an explanation of why counsel of record or unrepresented parties could not be contacted.

   (3)  A detailed statement of the reasons why the continuance or postponement is requested and the date on which the need to request a continuance or postponement arose.

   (4)  A summary of prior continuances or postponements in the case, at whose request the continuances or postponements were granted and the position of other parties in each continuance or postponement.

 (h)  A party requesting or confirming in writing a request for a continuance or a postponement other than a request made at a hearing shall serve a copy of the request or the confirmation upon all counsel of record, unrepresented parties and the judge. Counsel requesting or confirming in writing a request for a continuance or a postponement shall serve a copy of the request or confirmation on counsel’s client.

 (i)  Anyone requesting a continuance or postponement shall concurrently with the service of the request or the confirmation file a proof of service with the judge.

 (j)  In ruling on requests for a continuance or postponement, the judge may consider one or more of the following, giving consideration to subsection (a):

   (1)  The positions of the various parties relating to the request for a continuance or postponement.

   (2)  The number of prior continuances or postponements or denials of continuances or postponements and at whose request they were granted or denied.

   (3)  Whether the requested continuance or postponement will work an undue hardship on a party.

   (4)  The unavailability of the parties, witnesses or counsel.

   (5)  The illness or death of the parties or counsel or members of their immediate families.

   (6)  The desirability of unrepresented parties obtaining counsel.

   (7)  The necessity to replace the services of an expert witness who becomes unavailable.

   (8)  Another reason deemed by the judge to be for good cause shown and consistent with this chapter and the purposes of the act and the Disease Law.

 (k)  A scheduling conflict in another tribunal may be considered but may or may not be determinative.

 (l)  If a continuance or a postponement is granted, the judge may impose conditions and direct action by the parties which the judge deems reasonable under the circumstances.

 (m)  In addition to the conditions and actions referred to in subsection (l), the judge may:

   (1)  Determine why the proceeding should not be dismissed for lack of prosecution or grant the relief sought without the receipt of further evidence or testimony upon the making of appropriate findings of fact.

   (2)  Schedule a hearing to determine whether to impose penalties under section 435(d) of the act (77 P. S. §  991(d)) and issue an appropriate written order.

   (3)  Issue a written order modifying in whole or in part a supersedeas order or denial previously entered or modifying an order previously entered upon a showing of compliance with the directions of the judge.

   (4)  Issue a written order at the end of the case, in the case of a claim petition, with appropriate findings of fact, directing that interest be disallowed. The judge may limit the disallowance of interest to a specified period on good cause shown.

   (5)  Issue a written order with appropriate findings of fact closing the record and deciding a case if a party has unreasonably delayed the proceeding.

 (n)  Subsections (a)—(m) supersede 1 Pa. Code § §  31.15, 33.33 and 35.102 (relating to extensions of time; effect of service upon an attorney; and hearing calendar).

Authority

   The provisions of this §  131.13 amended under sections 401.1 and 435(a) and (c) of the Workers’ Compensation Act (77 P. S. § §  710 and 991(a) and (c)); section 2205 of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P. S. §  565); and section 414 of The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act (77 P. S. §  1514).

Source

   The provisions of this §  131.13 adopted November 6, 1981, effective November 7, 1981, 11 Pa.B. 4015; amended March 29, 1991, effective March 30, 1991, 21 Pa.B. 1401; amended December 6, 2002, effective December 7, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 6043; amended October 16, 2009, effective October 17, 2009, 39 Pa.B. 6038. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (294671) to (294673).

Cross References

   This section cited in 34 Pa. Code §  131.54 (relating to manner and conduct of hearings); 34 Pa. Code §  131.59b (relating to mandatory mediation); 34 Pa. Code §  131.61 (relating to exchange of information); 34 Pa. Code §  131.68 (relating to discovery of records); and 34 Pa. Code §  131.70 (relating to discovery of statements of parties or witnesses).



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