PENNSYLVANIA BAR ASSOCIATION JUDICIAL EVALUATION COMMISSION 2009 COMMONWEALTH COURT CANDIDATE RATINGS

RATING OF THE RETENTION CANDIDATE:

Judge Dan Pellegrini
Rating: Recommended for Retention

The Candidate has served as a Commonwealth Court judge since 1990. Prior to serving on the bench, he practiced law in the City of Pittsburgh Law Department and eventually became city solicitor. This experience provided him with a caseload that mirrored the types of cases that come before the Commonwealth Court. The Candidate has both a theoretical and practical understanding of the law and its historical origins. He is viewed as bright, scholarly and energetic. He exercises sound judgment and displays a courteous manner and appropriate judicial temperament. The Candidate’s opinions are well conceived and constructed, reflecting a thorough understanding of the facts and trial court record under review. The Candidate participates frequently in continuing legal education programs and other educational efforts to improve the quality of the legal system. His integrity and personal character are beyond reproach, and he is held in high esteem by his judicial colleagues and the bar. The Candidate clearly demonstrated all of the qualities necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of an appellate judge during his two previous terms on the Commonwealth Court, and the Commission recommends his retention.

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RATINGS OF CANDIDATES FOR TWO VACANCIES:

Kevin Brobson, Dauphin County
Rating: Recommended

Since completing his federal judicial clerkship, the Candidate has concentrated his practice in the areas of administrative law and insurance law, both of which fall within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Court. His writings are analytical, logical, clear, cogent and easily read. Even though he is involved in a busy, complex practice, the Candidate has found time for civic duties and community service. He has demonstrated the legal ability sufficient to have earned the respect of lawyers and members of the bench. The Candidate possesses the requisite knowledge of the rules of evidence and courtroom procedures. He has the appropriate judicial temperament. Based on his credentials, experience, and writing ability, the Candidate is recommended to serve on the Commonwealth Court.

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Barbara Jo Ernsberger, Allegheny County
Rating: Not Recommended

Since 1976, the Candidate has worked as a general practitioner and has dealt with a broad spectrum of legal issues, including Workers' Compensation, fraud, consumer protection and estate administration. She has served on the Pittsburgh Planning Commission. Her colleagues state she is hard working and well prepared. However, her appellate experience before the Commonwealth Court is very limited. She lacks a record of scholarly writing, teaching and commitment to improving the quality of justice. The Commission also has concerns about whether the Candidate possesses the temperament required of an appellate court judge. Therefore, the Commission does not recommend her as a candidate at this time.

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Linda S. Judson, Allegheny County
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate has an impressive diversity of work and life experience as well as a strong record as an outstanding practitioner in the area of Workers' Compensation law. The Candidate has worked as a director of risk management for a large construction company, a lawyer for an international insurance brokerage, a non-paid board member and treasurer of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority and a licensed practical nurse. During the past 12 years, the Candidate has specialized in Workers' Compensation law, and she is recognized as a leading practitioner in this area. She is articulate and poised. She presents her ideas in a logical and organized manner. She has good writing skills and a good judicial temperament. She has a strong record of community involvement. The Commission believes the Candidate possesses the character, judicial temperament and skills to serve as a Commonwealth Court judge and recommends her as a candidate.

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Judge Patricia A. McCullough, Allegheny County
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate worked for eight years as assistant general counsel for the University of Pittsburgh. She also has practiced law as a solo practitioner in Pittsburgh. She has served on the Allegheny County Board of Property Assessment Appeals and Review. The Candidate was appointed as a judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County and served for nine months as a Family Law Court judge. She also served as executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh for a year. The Candidate has an impressive record of community service and is regarded as bright and committed to her work. Although the Candidate's trial court and appellate experience is somewhat limited, the Commission concludes that she would be able to perform satisfactorily as a judge of the Commonwealth Court. (Commission member Shepard recused himself from participation in the evaluation and rating of this Candidate.)

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