10-0 Answer to Application to Strike
September 22nd, 2020
[Note that the document length is 87 pages. Please download the PDF document]
ANSWER TO APPLICATION TO STRIKE PETITIONER’S BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF SUMMARY RELIEF
Petitioner Ivy Hill Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, by and through its undersigned counsel, hereby responds to Respondent’s Application to Strike Petitioner’s Brief in Support of Summary Relief, averring in response as follows:
1. Respondent Department of Human Services (DHS) filed the Application to argue that the 14,000 word limit in Pa.R.A.P. 2135(a)(1) applies to briefs filed in support of an application for summary relief within the Court’s original jurisdiction.
2. DHS avers that Ivy Hill’s brief in support of the pending original jurisdiction application for summary relief does not comply with Rule 2135, and thus should be struck and a new brief filed. 3. DHS is correct about Ivy Hill’s brief and its non-compliance with Rule 2135(a)(1), since the brief contains 19,002 words.
4. Ivy Hill’s brief does not comply with Rule 2135(a)(1) however, because the undersigned counsel has been unable to locate any case specifically stating that Rule 2135(a)(1) applies to summary relief briefs in the Court’s original jurisdiction (notably, DHS cited to none either).
5. Further, Ivy Hill’s original jurisdiction brief is of such length to facilitate a thorough discussion of significant constitutional issues and matters of important religious freedom, as well as to offer an initial response to DHS’s pending preliminary objections (the preliminary objections section of the brief alone accounted for over 2000 words).
6. Nevertheless, because the issues in this case are too important to heed further delay solely for the sake of resolving a dispute over a procedural issue, Ivy Hill respectfully proposes two options to the Court to immediately resolve the pending Application to Strike, both of which Ivy Hill believes to be equitable dispositions:
a. One, either the Court accept the original filed brief as is, and continue with the pending briefing schedule (which presently has DHS’s response due on or before October 5, 2020); or
b. Two, the Court accept the amended brief attached hereto as Exhibit 1 as filed of record, and continue the existing briefing schedule. The attached brief is under 14,000 words, and is certified as such in the certification attached thereto. WHEREFORE, Petitioner Ivy Hill respectfully requests that the Court accept either of the above-listed options for disposing of the pending Application.