Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Arnold L. New will not be replaced as the coordinating judge of the Complex Litigation Center, which includes high-profile mass tort cases, the administrative judge of the trial division announced. Instead, New is undertaking the dual roles as supervising judge of the trial division’s civil section and as coordinating judge of the center housing mass tort cases, appeals from arbitration and other cases.
When New was named by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge John W. Herron, administrative judge of the trial division, to replace Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Allan L. Tereshko as the supervising judge of Philadelphia’s civil cases, Herron initially said that he would name another judge to lead the center.
Tereshko resigned as supervising judge after he was taken to task by the Pennsylvania Superior Court for failing to disclose that his spouse worked for a law firm representing a defendant in a motor vehicle insurance case.
While New said he was reluctant to take on both roles out of the fear that if he did it all he would not be able to do any of it right, Herron said in a joint interview along with New that “I’ll do everything possible to keep Judge New there.”
New needs to stay in the Complex Litigation Center because he overlapped as co-coordinating judge with Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Sandra Mazer Moss in order to learn about the program, because he has been intrinsic in the development of new protocols in the program, and New is essential to the “stability we had introduced,” Herron said.
New is slowly adjusting to his way of thinking, Herron said, and they are looking to see if some of the responsibilities of the supervising judge role or the Complex Litigation Center role could be reassigned to other judges in the civil program.
New said that Herron and he have gone back and forth and the two of them even joked that Herron giving an interview about the subject was part of his effort to convince New of the wisdom of his approach that Herron knows that he is going to do it.
When the Court of Common Pleas created its case management system of set deadlines for civil cases, dividing the inventory to concentrate the cases among judicial teams, the “major jury program was sine qua non in terms of civil litigation,” Herron said. But now mass torts are most important and “now we find mass torts outnumber the major civil jury program,” he said.
Picturing New as leading both civil programs and the mass tort program within civil “makes perfect sense” because of the greater importance of mass torts now in the system, Herron said.
Read more about it in Friday’s Legal.