Supreme Court Primary 2017    

Justice Sallie Updyke Mundy
Rating: Highly Recommended

The candidate is presently serving on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, having been appointed in June 2016 to fill a vacancy. After receiving her law degree, she spent one year as a law clerk for a Tioga County Court of Common Pleas judge.  For the 10 years following her clerkship, she worked as an associate in firms doing insurance defense litigation, including the defense of professional malpractice claims. She then spent 10 years advocating in the courts for plaintiffs who were catastrophically injured by railroad accidents, defective products and medical malpractice. During the latter part of that time, she also worked as a volunteer public defender in Tioga County. In 2010, she was elected to the Pennsylvania Superior Court where she served with distinction until 2016. During her time as a trial lawyer and as a Superior Court judge, the candidate has expressed respect for the court, attorneys and non-lawyers. Her community service includes work for the PTO and service as a board member of a local charitable foundation. She has been a highly regarded member of both the Superior and Supreme courts. By all accounts, she is respected and liked by other members of both courts. She is well prepared and respectful of attorneys at oral argument and displays a clear understanding of the issues and the rights of the litigants whose cases come before her. Her opinions are clearly written and well reasoned. Because of the depth and diversity of her legal background, the devotion and hard work she has shown at all her endeavors, and her collegiality on the bench, the commission gives her its highest recommendation for her Supreme Court candidacy.

Read the candidate’s questionnaire.

Judge Judith F. Olson
Rating: Highly Recommended

The candidate received her law degree in 1982, graduating cum laude and ranking second in her class. After clerking for a U.S. District Court judge, the candidate began private practice focusing on complex commercial litigation with an emphasis on directors’ and officers’ liability and securities and antitrust litigation. She worked in several large Pittsburgh firms handling matters in state and federal courts as well as before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The candidate’s extensive litigation experience also included appeals before the Pennsylvania appellate courts, federal courts of appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. In private practice, the candidate rapidly advanced from associate to partner before her appointment to the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas in 2008 where she served in the Civil Division. The candidate was elected in 2010 to the Pennsylvania Superior Court where she has authored published opinions on constitutional law, criminal, civil and family law. Her intellectual prowess is evident in hundreds of thorough and concisely written opinions. The candidate has a history of bar association involvement and nonprofit community service in addition to serving as a role model and mentor for youth. The candidate is known for being fair, respectful, open minded and willing to listen. The commission is confident the candidate’s vast professional experience, temperament and high ethical standards are a sound foundation for distinguished service and highly recommends her candidacy for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

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Judge Dwayne D. Woodruff
Rating: Recommended

Since 2005, the candidate has served as a judge of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas where he presides over family and juvenile matters. Upon completion of law school, he was an associate in a large Pittsburgh firm handling product liability and insurance defense. He quickly rose to a level of competence that allowed him to be lead counsel in major cases. He also worked as a certified National Football League player representative. In 1997, he founded his own law firm. He continued to represent professional athletes and handled real estate tax appeals, personal injury and debt collection cases. Most attorneys who appear before him in court describe him as being hard working, well prepared, polite, attentive, and respectful to litigants. The candidate has a strong work ethic and displays a deep respect for his role as a trial judge.  He eagerly learned the law in the Family Division, despite the fact that he had no prior experience in that area of the law. He was appointed a member to the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice, which was created by the Legislature to investigate the circumstances that lead to corruption in the juvenile court in Luzerne County. With few exceptions, his opinions have been described as clear and concise on appellate review and by attorneys. Throughout his career, he has actively participated in charitable organizations and has received multiple awards acknowledging his outstanding work on behalf of national and local community organizations. Because of his strong work ethic and unquestioned integrity, the commission recommends his candidacy for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Read the candidate’s questionnaire.