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Parallel Proceedings: The Pennsylvania Superior Court Adopts a Federal Court’s Framework for Analyzing Requests to Stay Civil Proceedings Pending Ongoing Criminal Prosecution

On May 12, 2020 by Schnader in Litigation

Danielle Bruno McDermott and Jonathan W. Hugg published a client alert, “Parallel Proceedings: The Pennsylvania Superior Court Adopts a Federal Court’s Framework for Analyzing Requests to Stay Civil Proceedings Pending Ongoing Criminal Prosecution.” 

A not uncommon tactic of defendants facing both civil lawsuits and criminal charges is to attempt to halt the civil case against them on the ground that the authorities are criminally prosecuting them. To the plaintiff, it feels like stalling, yet another obstacle preventing resolution of its case. To the defendant, it is a question of fundamental fairness because it allows him to preserve his constitutional rights and not have to face the burden of defending himself simultaneously on two fronts.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently clarified what factors a trial court must consider when ruling on a motion to stay a civil proceeding based on the existence of a parallel criminal case arising from the same facts. In Keesee v. Dougherty, the Superior Court considered defendants’ appeal of the trial court’s denial of its motion to stay. The Keesee court ultimately concluded that the trial court wrongly failed fully to consider the merits of defendants’ request before denying the stay.

Please click here to read the full Alert.