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Know your judge: Kim D Eaton

JUDGE KIM D. EATON

all information as of 2014

CONTACTING JUDGE EATON

If your Allegheny County Family Division case number ends in judicial suffix "006", you have Judge Kim Eaton.

Judge Eaton has her chambers (i.e. office) at Suite 5032 (Fifth Floor) at 440 Ross St., Pittsburgh, PA 15219. The Chambers phone number is (412) 350-5442 and the fax (412) 350-6254. As of this writing, her secretary is Pam Lundin 412-350-5442. Her tip-staff is Debra Cody 412-350-6331 Her law clerk is Megan Malone 412-350-1381

However, do not simply try to contact the judge, because (a) she cannot speak privately with a party about a case (b) her staff also cannot discuss your case with you; and (c) they don't have the time to listen to a long story. Limit your contacts to logistical issues such as I am stuck in traffic and will be late; or are you open today with the snow?

The Judge’s Chambers is staffed form 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. On most days, staff goes to lunch from Noon until around 1:00 PM. The Court discourages deliveries and/or visits except during the times staff is available.

BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF JUDGE EATON

Judge Eaton is 57. She lives in Pleasant Hills with her husband, David Etzi. She has one daughter, Samantha, and one son, DJ

Judge Eaton graduated from Penn State University in 1978 with a degree in journalism. She attended the University of Pittsburgh Law School and graduated in 1981 as the president of her class.

She is a judge in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Family Division. Judge Eaton formerly was the supervising judge of the Adult Family Division of the Court of Common Pleas.

Prior to becoming a Judge, Kim Eaton worked as a private family law attorney for more than 18 years and was head of the matrimony division at the former Rose, Schmidt, Hasley & DiSalle law firm. During her career as a lawyer, Judge Eaton also served as chairman of the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Bench Bar Committee (and recipient of the Bench Bar Olbum Award) and the chair of the Family Law Section’s Public Service Committee, where she co-founded the Pro Se Motions Court program, assisting low-income parties through the court system.

She was the 2014 recipient of the Judge James R. McGregor Award for Exceptional Contributions to the Community from Amen Corner at the organization's annual Judicial Reception. The award is for judicial leadership and comes from her colleagues. Allegheny County Council then honored Judge Eaton for winning the award.

Judge Eaton is a member of the Board of Governors for the Pitt Law Alumni. She received the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Pro Bono Award for outstanding contributions to Pro Bono activities.

She received national attention in 2002 when her court computer was hacked by a party in a divorce case. The party was arrested by the FBI.

She was named Woman of the Year, receiving the Marjorie Matson Award from the Pitt Law Women’s Association. In 2010, she received the Allegheny County Bar Association Family Law Section’s Exemplary Service Award.

A frequent lecturer on family law matters, Judge Eaton serves on the Board of Governors for the Allegheny County Bar Association, she is a Master in the Matrimonial Inns of Court and was appointed by Governor Corbett to serve on the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture’s Humane Society Police Officer Board.

Judge Eaton generally writes her own opinions and does the bulk of her own research.

PROCEDURES FOR JUDGE EATON

Unfortunately, each Judge in Allegheny County Family Division has their own set of procedures. Here are some of Judge Eaton's procedures:

1. The Court’s orders requiring counseling and/or therapy in custody cases shall be enforced unless a party seeks appropriate relief. In the event either party fails to comply, counsel fees and/or sanctions will be imposed.

2. Counsel will be required to submit a proposed Order of Court either at the time of or prior to any trial or hearing.

3. Testimony via telephone is only allowed by permission of the Court. Such permission should be obtained prior to trial or hearing by Court order.

4. In the event any equipment (audio visual, recording, etc.) is necessary for a trial or hearing, counsel must make appropriate arrangements through the Bar Association or a third party. Except in rare circumstances, the Court does not have the capability to provide these services.

5. Exhibits - The Court will retain exhibits until 40 days after a final decision or order is entered if no appeal to the order is taken. If an appeal is filed, the Court will retain documents until 5 days after the Court’s Opinion to the Appellate Court is filed. After those time periods, if counsel or the parties do not request return of the documents, they will be destroyed.

6. PFA Procedures - Final PFA’s with the 006 suffix are usually scheduled for conciliation before the Court. A hearing may or may not be scheduled on the same day as the conciliation. If a final hearing is necessary, the Court will attempt to schedule the hearing as expeditiously as possible.

7. Pro-Se Motions

A. The Court will hear pro-se motions one hour prior to regular motions. The Court will hear pro-se motions in the following order. 8

(1) Motions to amend or vacate PFA’s.

(2) Motions with private counsel opposing the motion.

(3) Motions involving the County Solicitor.

(4) All other motions.

B. The Court will only entertain pro-se motions or cases with the suffix 006.

C. All parties are forewarned that the Court starts pro-se motions court promptly at the scheduled time. Failure to appear at the time scheduled may result in the motions being denied or granted without a party being present. In the event both parties fail to timely attend, the Court may refuse to hear a motion until the next motions court.

D. Pro-se litigants are expected to follow all rules of court and also shall comply with this Court’s Standard Judicial Operating Procedures.

E. Pro-se motions shall not be provided directly to the Judge’s chambers, but rather must be submitted through the pro-se litigant program, even if the party has not used an attorney through the program.

F. Pro-se litigants are not permitted to call and discuss substantive matters with the Court’s staff. Further, staff is not permitted to give legal advice of any kind.

COURTROOM DECORUM

1. No food or drink (except water) is permitted in the Courtroom.

2. No ringing cell phones or audible pagers are permitted in the Courtroom.

3. Any proceeding in the Courtroom whether motions, arguments or trial shall be conducted in a dignified and formal manner.

4. This Court maintains a zero tolerance policy toward incivility. Colloquy between counsels is only permitted to expedite matters. Argument between counsels is strictly prohibited. All 9 remarks should be addressed to the Court. Counsel should never act or speak disrespectfully to the Court, the Court’s staff or opposing counsel in any manner.

5. Only counsel and parties may sit at counsel table, unless the Court permits otherwise.

6. At trial or at hearings, witnesses and parties should be instructed to wear clean, neat, and appropriate attire. In addition, witnesses and parties should be instructed as to proper behavior when Court is in session.

7. Children, who are the subject of the litigation or who are in any way involved in the litigation, are under no circumstances to be present in the Courtroom during a proceeding unless requested by the Court. Counsel shall advise clients to make appropriate child care arrangements. Counsel and parties should be familiar with the location of the Children’s Room and their hours of operation.

8. Counsel should advise clients that while they are certainly welcome to attend Motions or arguments on Exceptions, they are not permitted to address the Court unless requested by the Court to do so. Counsel shall advise the Court that their clients are present in the Courtroom.