Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Allan L. Tereshko has resigned his position as
supervising judge of the courts’ civil trial division after the state Superior Court chastised him for not disclosing that his wife worked for a firm representing a defendant in an earlier case handled by the Philadelphia jurist.
Meanwhile, the administrative judge of Philadelphia’s civil trial division, John W. Herron, announced that another trial court judge has been assigned to take Tereshko’s place.
Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Arnold L. New was appointed late last week to take over for Tereshko as supervising judge of the civil trial division, Herron stated in an order.
New will continue to carry out his duties as coordinating judge of the complex litigation/mass tort program at Philadelphia’s civil courts while simultaneously serving as supervising judge of the civil trial division.
Tereshko was recently reprimanded in a concurring opinion penned by state Superior Court Judge Anne Lazarus, a former Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge, for not disclosing that his wife had worked for the firm Post & Schell at the time that Tereshko was overseeing a case in which the defendant was represented by that very law firm.
Tereshko ultimately granted summary judgment to the Westfield Group, which was the defendant in the motor vehicle insurance case.
A Superior Court panel issued an unpublished majority opinion in which Tereshko’s decision was reversed and sent back down to the lower court.
Meanwhile, Lazarus, in a published concurring opinion, chastised Tereshko for not divulging his wife’s ties at the time to the law firm representing the insurance company defendant.
“Not only did the trial judge err on the law as applied to the facts of this case, but he failed in his professional responsibility as set forth in the Code of Judicial Conduct, and as a result, prejudiced the litigants,” Lazarus had written in her opinion.
Tereshko had taken the position that he needn’t recuse himself from the case because his wife at the time had no personal financial stake in the Westfield case.
Lazarus had called Tereshko’s defense nothing short of “post hoc” reasoning, and said serious ethical issues were raised as a result of the judge’s decision not to recuse himself in the Westfield case.