Bucks Writs - Fall 2019 - 3

contents
FALL 2019

CONTACT INFO
President
Robert T. Repko
Vice President/President Elect
Daniel M. Keane
Secretary
Julie D. Goldstein
Treasurer
Sean M. Gresh
Past President
Jessica A. Pritchard
Writs Editor
Jason R. Weiss
Writs Committee
Susan Dardes
Scott I. Fegley
Scott L. Feldman
Nancy Larkin Taylor
Dianne C. Magee
Theresa Martin Golding
Paul Perlstein
Christopher J. Serpico
David J. Truelove
Writs Photographer
Dylan Gilheany
Bar Association Office
Greg Nardi, Executive Director
135 East State Street
Doylestown, PA 18901
215.348.9413
www.bucksbar.org

Preserving Bucks County History

feature

Preserving Bucks County History,
One Book at a Time

KOFILE soaks each page in a water bath, gently removes Scotch
tape, which destroys ink, applies Japanese linen to mend the torn
and tattered pages, and then seals the renovated pages...

A scant three months into her tenure as Bucks County
Record of Deeds, in April, 2018, Robin Robinson made
some startling discoveries. One, something called "record
improvement" money existed for the benefit of her
office. And, two, her office desperately needed those
funds to repair and restore the hundreds of old and
dilapidated deed books, some dating back to the time
of William Penn, which seemingly had been relegated
to their deathbeds on a floor in the County's Neshaminy
Manor complex. Ms. Robinson described her journey from
shocked despair to productive recovery in a speech to a
sold-out crowd at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown
on June 27, 2019.
Under Pennsylvania law, a $5.00 record improvement
fee, which is imposed on each recording at the Recorder
of Deeds, is split, with $3.00 paid to the County and
$2.00 paid to the Recorder of Deeds. Unfortunately, Ms.
Robinson's immediate predecessor had donated $900,000
of these funds from the Recorder of Deeds coffers to the
County. Fortunately, Ms. Robinson, upon her enlightenment, quickly received $250,000 in Bucks County
record improvement funds to begin her venture, called by
her as "Science Saving History," to salvage 700 neglected
Bucks County deeds, dated from 1684 to just after the
Civil War, when it appears that some of the gray deed
paper was made from Union uniforms.

.......................................................................................... Page 8

So far, apart from the County funding
and four grants for which she has made
application, Ms. Robinson has raised over
$21,000 from her office's Adopt-a-Book
program to transform the historic but
previously decaying and molding deeds.

feature

Meet Judge Wallace H. (Skip) Bateman

Meet Judge
Wallace H. (Skip) Bateman

Ms. Robinson found a company named KOFILE in Vermont
and quickly shipped 45 books north to be revived in an
So far, apart from the County funding and four
environmentally friendly way so that
grants for which she has made application, Ms.
they will survive intact as a legacy
Robinson has raised over $21,000 from her
to our rich Bucks County history
By Chris Serpico
office's Adopt-a-Book program to transform the
and as a research tool for, hopefully,
historic but previously decaying and molding
the next 500 years. KOFILE soaks
Earlier this year, the judges of the Bucks County's Court
deeds. For as little as a $10, a donor to the
each page in a water bath, gently
of Common Pleas elected Wallace (Skip) Bateman to be
program will receive a certification of thanks. A
removes Scotch tape, which
President Judge, succeeding Judge Jeffrey Finley. As President
donor of $500 to $1999 will also be recognized
destroys ink, applies Japanese linen
Judge for the next five years, Judge Bateman will oversee
on the Adopt-a-Book plaque, and the name of
to mend the torn and tattered
the (soon to be) fifteen judges on the CP Court, the court's
a very generous donor of $2000 or more will be
pages, and then seals the renovated
Senior Judges, and the county'smemorialized
eighteen Magisterial
in a restored deed book. The office
pages and binds them into uniform,
District Court judges.
is sponsoring a contest in the near future for
protective covers. Each volume
the lucky winner's name to be inscribed in one
He also has responsibility for supervising all court-related
weighs about 22 pounds.
of the new books.
departments, such as Adult Probation and Parole; Court
Administration; the Board of Managers of Juvenile Court,
8
and he sits on the Prison
Board. He even makes the final call
on whether to declare a snow day!

It was certainly my privilege and pleasure to sit down for
about an hour to speak with Magisterial District Judge Mark
Douple in his Warrington office last month, and discuss his

Is he up to the task? Anyone who knows him will agree that
he most certainly is. Having served on the bench for the past
ten years, and assuming the voters of Bucks County decide
to retain him, he brings a wealth of practical experience
to the position.

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........................................................................................ Page 14

A graduate of LaSalle University and Widener University's
School of Law, he started his career in the Bucks County
District Attorney's Office, where he worked for DA's Mike
Kane and Alan Rubenstein. During his tenure in that office
from 1982 to 1987, he was a colleague of several judges
who currently sit with him on the Bucks County bench,
including Judges Finley, McHugh, Fritsch, Rubenstein,
Boylan, and Gibbons.

"An Affair to Remember"

After leaving the DA's Office, he took a position with the
Perkasie law firm of Grim, Biehn, and Thatcher, where he
Tinafrom
Mazaheri
labored for 21By
years
1987 to 2008, when he was
nominated and appointed to fill an open seat on the County
Court. Subsequently, he was elected to a ten-year term
EARLY NINETY PEOPLE GATHERED ON OCTOBER 10TH AT
in November of 2009. (One of his partners at the Grim
THE AWARD-WINNING INN AT BARLEY SHEAF
FARM TO
firm, Jeff Trauger, was also elected to the Bucks County
CELEBRATE THE BUCKS COUNTY BAR bench
FOUNDATION'S
15TH
in 2017).
ANNIVERSARY, AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER. Guests were greeted
When of
I asked
him about his priorities for the coming year, he
with a glass of pink champagne, reminiscent
the movie
was very clearpassed
that he's primarily concerned with "making
starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. Scrumptious
sure people have
access to the courts." Although he's
hors d'oeuvres included short ribs, shrimp/avocado
spoons
pleased that Bucks County has been able to continue to
and soup shooters.
process cases in an efficient and orderly manner, consistent
As you entered the beautiful barn at the
Barley
Sheaf,
with
it's state-wide
reputation as a leader in delivering justice
you were transported to a whimsical world surrounded
by the beautiful paintings of resident artist and renowned
former trial attorney Martha Sperling, who exhibited her
One Woman Show: Beyond the Bend. Martha generously
donated ten percent of the price of all paintings sold that
evening as well as gifted a painting to the Foundation for
our silent auction. In addition
to the visual delights of Martha's
exhibit, guests were entertained
by Dave Dales Trio.

N

in a prompt and efficacious manner, as a practicing attorney
for over two decades, he understands the competing
demands that many lawyers have to juggle. To that end, he
feels "it's important to respect lawyers, but also make certain
that unnecessary delays will not be tolerated."
He's quick to credit his fellow judges and others for making
the court more efficient, which makes his job a little bit
easier. He cites, for example, the "remarkable" job Judge
Baldi has done in removing stale cases from the civil docket,
and instituting procedures to make the civil list move more
rapidly without impeding the rights of litigants and their
attorneys. Judge Boylan deserves recognition for the work
she's done with Specialty Courts, such as Drug Court; the
Youthful Offender Program; and the District Court Drug
Diversion Program. He also credits Deputy District Attorney
Bob James for his work in creating the Veteran's Court, which
now has been expanded to allow for greater involvement
and supervision by Adult Probation and Parole.

12

As you entered the beautiful barn at the
Barley Sheaf, you were transported to
a whimsical world surrounded by the
beautiful paintings of resident artist
and renowned former trial attorney
Martha Sperling, who exhibited her One
Woman Show: Beyond the Bend. Martha
generously donated ten percent of the
price of all paintings sold that evening
as well as gifted a painting to the
Foundation for our silent auction.

ORPHANS' COURT =
FIDUCIARY COURT:
A MODEST PROPOSAL

Market, purchased them three weeks before the event,
and kept them alive to be used in the decorations.
An enormous thank you to Foundation Trustee, the
Honorable Rochelle S. Friedman, for her meticulous
Judge Friedman also had the novel idea of having the Fred
planning and execution of this event. Judge Friedman
Astaire Dancers come and perform a dance exhibition for
saw to every detail of this event from the guest list, to
us - think Dancing with the Stars quality dazzle. It was the
the entertainment, to the ambiance of the room; all were
first time I saw our members stop socializing during an
Her Honor's vision. Thank you to Liz Fritsch for serving on
event to pay attention to the show.
the ad hoc committee and to Grace Deon for arranging
A delicious dinner of shrimp cocktail, raw oysters, carving
the breathtaking flower arrangements - another artistiencompassing
While
attorney Neal
G. and
Wiley
deserves
stations
other
yummy substanfood was served,
followed multiple complex areas of dispute. So I
cally gifted attorney. It should be mentioned that
Judge
began to question the propriety of the name.
praise for researching
authoring
his
by delectableand
desserts
including
chocolate-covered
Friedman spied the most vibrant Fall plants attial
Rice's
comprehensive review of the history and role
Why such an antiquated moniker? Is the designation
of the largely misunderstood Orphans' Court in
even accurate? Is the use of the word "orphans"
Pennsylvania (his article was recently published in the
Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly, July, 2019), I feel
16
compelled to lodge a respectful dissent regarding his extolling the virtues of the ancient name, "Orphans' Court."
Mr. Wiley observes that the moniker "so well conceptualizes its continuing role." I beg to differ. Here is why:
As the author notes, Orphans' Court jurisdiction, which
has expanded substantially since our nation's founding
almost two and one-half centuries ago, is particularly
geared toward assisting and caring for those who cannot
take care of themselves, or those who require judicial
intervention to
compel appropriate care and support, financially and/
or with regard to health, living arrangements, and other
personal care matters. This laudable mission is why I have
been proud to include "Orphans' Court" judge as one
of the many hats I have worn since I joined the Bench
nearly a decade ago.

politically incorrect? Why can't we come up with a more
accurate, more fitting, less deceptive, and more all-encompassing name?1
Substantially similar to Orphans' Courts throughout
the Commonwealth, our Orphans' Court Division in
Bucks County handles guardianships of alleged incapacitated persons, guardianships of minors, will contests,
disputes as to estate and trust accountings, various other
litigation matters involving decedents' estates and trusts,
contested and uncontested terminations of parental
rights, enforcement actions involving the Older Adult
Protective Services Act, approvals of petitions pertaining
to wrongful death and survival actions, approvals of
minor's compromises, name changes, and, happily,
adoption hearings.

So it is that Philadelphia is the first host of a special exhibit
entitled: "Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader
20
Ginsberg". The recently opened exhibit at the National
Museum of American Jewish History, at 101 S. Independence Mall East (Fifth and Market Streets) continues
through January 12, 2020. Admission to the exhibit is only
$9.00, a reference to a quote from the Supreme Court
justice: "People ask me sometimes, when - when do you
think it will be enough? When will there be enough women
on the Court? And my answer is when there are nine."

HER PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS. Yet another first Monday
in October has come and gone with Ruth Bader Ginsberg
again hard at work along with her fellow Supreme Court
justices. The Court has a full docket of significant cases,
potentially impacting our collective lives and culture for
decades to come.
Justice Ginsberg is the second longest serving current
member of the Supreme Court, having taken the oath
of office on August 10, 1993. She has been parodied by
Saturday Night Live, been the subject of several recent
books and a full length documentary movie ("RBG") and
just last year, had her earlier life and career celebrated
on the big screen in "On the Basis of Sex" starring
Felicity Huffman.

Advertising Contact
Alicia Lee 
610.685.0914 x210
Alicia@HoffPubs.com

As the author notes, Orphans' Court jurisdiction, which
has expanded substantially since our nation's founding
almost two and one-half centuries ago, is particularly

The "Notorious RBG"
Justice Ginsberg is the second longest serving current
member of the Supreme Court, having taken the oath
of office on August 10, 1993.

A good time to explore a partial Roth
conversion can be during a year when you
have a lower income than you expect to have
in the future. This could include someone
who just retired, is no longer employed, or
has made large deductible charitable gifts.

The nation was collectively intrigued by her personal
friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia and often follows
her recent and varied health scares with bated breath. Her
diminutive size, soft spoken manner and distinctive and
decorative collars only add to the mystique.

........................................................................................
young lawyers'
division:

PHONE CALLS TO SANTA & YEAR-END PARTY
Santa Claus is coming to....the Bar Association! The Young
Lawyers' Division is bringing back "Phone Calls with Santa".
This event will take place on Wednesday, December 11,
2019, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm, when members of the
Young Lawyers Division will make calls "from Santa" to
children in Bucks County. Bar Association Members and the
general public can sign their children up for a phone call from
Santa through the Bucks County Bar Association website
for a $10.00 donation per child. One Hundred percent of
these funds will go to the Bucks County Opportunity Council,
a group whose mission is to reduce poverty in the Bucks
24
County area. Please be
sure to let your friends, neighbors and
colleagues know about this wonderful charitable fundraiser.
Tis' the season!
At the same time Santa is calling the children, the YLD, along
with Member Services, will be throwing 2019's last hurrah
at the Bar Association (from 5:30 to 7:30). This event will be
catered by Altomonte's and is free to all BCBA members. Yes
- free food and free drinks. What's more is that the Young
Lawyers have agreed to "bartend" for the evening. Santa
+ free food + free drinks + being catered to by the Young
Lawyers of the BCBA. What more can you ask for?

feature

A special shout-out and thank you to the YLD 2019
Executive Board for its hard work this year:
* Jeremy Puglia, Chair
* Erin Aronson, Chair Elect
* Emma Kline, Vice Chair
* Bianca A. Roberto, Treasurer
* Mitchell Baylarian, Secretary

BCBA Launches Pro Bono
Eviction Prevention Pilot
A warm welcome to the 2020 Executive Board and Advisory
Program
inwhoNovember
Committee Members
will begin their reign in January:
By MarionBoard:
Hoffman Fraley
2020 Executive
Communications Manager, Legal Aid of Southeastern PA

pilot program. The three-month pilot will provide free

*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

Mitch Baylarian
Meg Brooks
Rob Gordon
Britain Henry
Josephine Lee
Jen Pierce
Mike Shelton
April Townsend
Jeremy Whalen
Elaine Yandrisevits
Jeremy Puglia

Young Lawyers' Division

Sneak Peak: Looking forward, the YLD is already gearing up
for the annual Mock Trial Competition, which is set to take
place in January and February 2020. Emma Kline, Esq. will
be heading up these efforts as this year's District Coordinator.
With assistance from both the Bench and the Bar, our
District consistently staffs the competition with local judges
and attorneys, giving our students a realistic courtroom
experience. In 2019, Erin Aronson, Esq. coordinated 20 of
these trials, which required volunteered time from 20 judges,
20 jury panels, and 20 bailiffs, all in a span of just 6 weeks.
The YLD is extremely fortunate to have the support of our
Bench and Bar, and looks forward to another successful
competition in 2020! Look out for the Mock Trial Happy
Hour announcement in the coming weeks!

in landlord-tenant eviction cases. The pilot will also

From the entire Young Lawyers' Division of the Bucks County
Bar Association, we say THANK YOU for all your support this
year, and we look forward to another eventful year in 2020.
See you on December 11th!

From the entire Young Lawyers' Division of
the Bucks County Bar Association, we say
THANK YOU for all your support this year,
and we look forward to another eventful
year in 2020. See you on December 11th!

"Tenants often have no attorney,
no
27
money, and no place to go," Smolow
told attorneys at the October 18th CLE
introducing the program. "We'd like to
create a more level playing field."

Action Agency (CAA) for Bucks County. The Opportunity
Council will have case managers at court for each of the
hearing dates to offer tenants services which may be helpful
in stabilizing their housing situation. It also plans to follow
up with tenants and provide counseling post hearing.

Santa Claus is coming to....the Bar Association! The Young
Lawyers' Division is bringing back "Phone Calls with Santa".
This event will take place on Wednesday, December 11,

........................................................................................ Page 27

18th CLE introducing the program. "We'd like to create a
more level playing field."

one-day legal representation for tenants without counsel

Page 24

2020 Advisory Committee Members:

* Erin Aronson, Chair
Most tenants facing eviction do not have legal represenWith 7,000 - 8,000 residential evictions
in Bucks
* Emma Kline, Chair-Elect
tation and often do not attend their eviction hearings, while
County every year, "many folks are one*step
away from
Bianca Roberto, Vice-Chair
landlords are much more likely to have representation at
in introducing
homelessness," Ronald Smolow, Esq., noted
* Chris
Mahoney, Secretary
the hearings. "Tenants often have no attorney, no money,
the new Bucks County Bar Association eviction prevention
* Aimee Schnecker, Treasurer
and no place to go," Smolow told attorneys at the October

Opportunity Council, which is the designated Community

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Reading, PA 19608
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Orphans' Court = Fiduciary Court

........................................................................................ Page 20

The evidence is overwhelming, then, that the name
"Orphans' Court" is a misnomer -largely inaccurate,
even insensitive, and certainly inapplicable to almost all
of the disputes which are adjudicated. The inaccurate
Mr. Wiley's article has caused me to give stronger considmoniker creates misconceptions about the broad scope
eration to questions which I have raised, and frankly,
of the work of the Court, and I would suggest that it is
with which I have been burdened since 2010, when my
not an exaggeratin to state that the name "Orphans'
then-President Judge approached me and asked (that is,
Court" creates disrespect for the quality and complexity
ordered) me, as a newly elected Judge, to spend one-third
of issues which the Court must address. It is, indeed, true
of my court time serving in the Orphans' Court division
that words matter.
of the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. Not unlike
By Scott L. Feldman
many practicing attorneys, I had had very little exposure
While I have ye to learn of a fully accurate or totally
to Orphans' Court as a litigation attorney for 33 years
Yeah, those are indeed the things that define
IT MAY BE CLICHÉ TO REFER TO SOMEONE AS
satisfactory substitute name, I am persuaded that it would
prior to joining the Bench. I quickly learned, much to my
a living legend.
A LIVING LEGEND, ESPECIALLY WHEN THAT
be far better were the Court to be renamed "Fiduciary
surprise, that Orphans' Court jurisdiction is quite broad,
INDIVIDUAL IS VERY MUCH IN THE MIDST OF HIS OR
Court."2 After all, fiduciary relationships are broadly what

The "Notorious RBG" is
Celebrated in Philadelphia

provide access to social services through the Bucks County

email submissions to
WritsEditor@BucksBar.org

Nearly ninety people gathered on October 10th at the awardwinning inn at Barley Sheaf Farm to celebrate the BCBF's
15th anniversary, An Affair to Remember.

e ...................................................................................... Page 16

feature

feature

"An Affair to Remember"

FALL 2019

Pro Bono Eviction Prevention Pilot
Most tenants facing eviction do not have legal representation
and often do not attend their eviction hearings, while
landlords are much more likely to have representation at

........................................................................................ Page 28

Magisterial District Judge Jan Vislosky answers a question
from an attorney at an Oct. 18 CLE on "Representing
Tenants Facing Eviction in Magisterial District Court."
Ronald Smolow (at center), Esq., and Robert Kim, Esq.,
Staff Attorney for Legal Aid of Southeastern PA (LASP), also
presented information on landlord-tenant law.
28

Also in This Issue:
* President's Letter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
* From the Editor... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
* Pro Bono Honor Roll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
* Celebrating LASP Volunteering . . . . . . 12

* Bench Bar 2019 - Seaview . . . . . . . . . 22
* Zoning for Ponies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

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Bucks Writs - Fall 2019

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Winter2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Winter2019
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Winter2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2017
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