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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE)?
Early Neutral Evaluation refers to a process in which an impartial attorney, selected by the parties and with subject matter expertise, provides a non-binding evaluation of the case and is available to assist the parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
What if a piece of equipment fails during trial or isn’t available when I come to trial?
We make every effort to keep the equipment functional in the courtrooms. However, at times courtrooms experience disputations. If this occurs during a proceeding, we will do everything possible to resolve the problem quickly. We encourage you to arrive before trial starts to insure that all equipment is functional. However, trial will not be postponed for technology reasons. Be prepared, if necessary, to present without the equipment.
What are the witness fees for a court hearing, trial or deposition?
The witness attendance fee is $40.00 per day plus reimbursement for mileage at the current government rate. [See 28 U.S.C. § 1821(b) and (c)(2)]
What happens if I fail to report for jury service?
Any juror who fails to report for jury duty and who is not excused by the Court may be served a Show Cause Order by the U.S. Marshals Service. In some instances, the Court may issue an arrest warrant for failure to appear and show cause. Subsequently, those jurors will be required to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of the Jury Selection Act. Any person who fails to show good cause for noncompliance with a summons may be fined not more than $1,000, imprisoned not more than three days, ordered to perform community service, or any combination thereof (U.S.C. 28 Section 1866(g)).
What if we choose ENE and then, as a result of the evaluation, would like the evaluator to serve as a mediator?
The parties can make arrangement directly with the evaluator to engage him/her in the additional role of a mediator. Should this development result in the need for additional time to complete the ADR process, parties may request limited additional time from the court. However, the grant of any additional time is solely in the discretion of the Court.
I would like to use a piece of equipment that’s not in the courtroom; can I bring my own with me?
Yes. If you have large projector screen or special audio device you may use that instead of our equipment. However, you must check with the Judge prior to your proceeding for approval. In most cases our system has the ability to integrate with the majority presentation devices. i.e. projector, tape player and etc.
What do I need to bring when I report for jury service?
Be sure to bring your FEDERAL JURY SUMMONS with you when you report for jury duty. Since there can be extended periods of time when you will not be required in the courtroom, you may want to bring a book, magazine, or crossword puzzles, etc. as well as a snack. A PHOTO ID IS REQUIRED TO ENTER THE COURTHOUSE
Is the arbitration the same as that offered by the court in the past?
Yes. Arbitration involves referral of the case to an impartial third party (or a panel of three) for a non-binding determination in settlement of the claim(s) following the presentation of evidence and arguments. Unlike other neutrals, arbitrators on the Court's list are paid by the court for their services, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. §658 and consistent with Judicial Conference policy. The parties are also free to engage a separate, private arbitration company or arbitrator, or consent to binding arbitration.
What if the case file I am interested in has been archived?
To retrieve District Court files from the Regional Archives & Records Center in Philadelphia there is a $64.00 retrieval fee for the first box and $39.00 for each additional box. The fee must be paid in advance. Please provide the Clerk's Office with the case number and case caption when presenting the retrieval fee. The files are generally sent to the Clerk's Office within five to seven days of receipt of the retrieval fee and are held for a period of 30 days.
What are the restrictions regarding what can be brought into the courthouse?
The entrances to the United States District Court in the Western District of Pennsylvania are guarded for your safety and protection. Cameras, recording equipment, weapons, pepper spray and sharp objects, and anything that can be construed as a weapon are prohibited. Please leave any of these types of items at home or in your vehicle.