Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
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Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court (2 seats)
The Commonwealth Court is one of Pennsylvania's two statewide intermediate appellate courts. This court, which was established in 1968, is unlike any other state court in the nation. Its jurisdiction generally is limited to legal matters involving state and local government and regulatory agencies. Litigation typically focuses on such subjects as banking, insurance and utility regulation and laws affecting taxation, land use, elections, labor practices and workers compensation. Commonwealth Court also acts as a court of original jurisdiction, or a trial court, when lawsuits are filed by or against the commonwealth. The Commonwealth Court is made up of nine judges who serve 10-year terms. The president judge is chosen by his or her colleagues for a five-year term. The court generally decides cases in three-judge panels and sits in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.
Residence: Middle Paxton Township
Education: Lycoming College, B.A.; Widener University law school, J.D.
Experience: A partner in the Pittsburgh firm of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, his office is in Harrisburg. His practice primarily is in state administrative law, particularly insurance, health care and campaign finance. Most of his clients are regulated businesses and individuals as well as those doing business with the state. He is a member of the Middle Paxton Township Planning Commission.
Ratings: Recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association
Patricia A. McCullough
Residence: Upper St. Clair
Education: JD, University of Pittsburgh School of Law (1981)Post-Graduate studies, University of Strasbourg, France (1980)BA, University of Pittsburgh (1978)
Experience: In private legal practice since 2007. From 2005 to 2007, she was executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, which includes various social service agencies in a six-county area. Under her tenure, the organization started a health center for working, uninsured individuals and a dental clinic. Appointed by the governor for Common Pleas Court, she served for nine months in the family division. She turned down the pay raise enacted by the state Legislature for judges but did not win election to a full 10-year term. Prior to that, she was assistant general counsel at the University of Pittsburgh, where her duties included handling tax-related matters. From 2001 to 2005, she was a member of Allegheny County's Property Assessment, Appeals and Review board and she has been a local and state Republican committee woman.
Ratings: Recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
Linda S. Judson
Residence: Squirrel Hill
Education: St. Francis Hospital nursing school; University of Pittsburgh; Duquesne University law school.
Experience: Attorney with the Downtown law firm Fried, Kane, Walters, Zuschlag & Grochmal. Former licensed practical nurse, senior law clerk in the Allegheny County Law Department and law clerk for Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley. Practice specializes in workers compensation litigation, representing claimants and defendants. Holds a commercial insurance license. Member and treasurer of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority.
Ratings: Recommended by the Pennsylvana Bar Association; not recommended at this time by the Allegheny County Bar Association.
Barbara Behrend Ernsberger
Education: University of Pittsburgh; Duquesne University Law School
Experience: Private practice attorney with the family firm of Behrend and Ernsberger, primarily representing plaintiffs in cases including those involving consumer law and workers compensation. A member of the City Planning Commission, she has been a member of the city, county and state Democratic committees.
Ratings: Unqualified by the Allegheny County Bar Association; not recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association
First Published May 5, 2009 6:57 pm