PHILADELPHIA (CN) - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court unconstitutionally bars lawyers from 12 "non-reciprocity" states from practicing law in the state, the National Association for the Advancement of Multijurisdiction Practice claims in court.
The NAAMJP and two of its members sued the seven members of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in Federal Court.
They challenge the court's Rule 204.
"Plaintiffs assert Pa. B.A.R. 204 in practical effect is unlawful retaliation, arbitrary and irrational serving no legitimate state interest, archaic, and unconstitutional," the attorneys say in the lawsuit.
Plaintiff Richard Rosario was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1992 and to the D.C. Bar in 1994.
"Mr. Rosario specializes in representing banks and financial institutions in real estate matters," he says in the complaint. "Mr. Rosario applied for Pennsylvania admission on motion in the past, but was ruled categorically ineligible under Pa. B.A.R. 204 solely because more than 50 percent of his practice is in Maryland, a non-reciprocity state. It would be futile for Mr. Rosario to again apply for reciprocity under Pa. B.A.R. 204 because nothing has changed since he was rejected. He continues to be injured by Rule 204, and if the rule is changed he will again apply for admission on motion in the Keystone State."
Plaintiff Paul Riviere practices in New Jersey. His office is about 50 miles from Pennsylvania. "He has a substantial federal bankruptcy practice, and he has many clients who do business in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Both Riviere and his clients are disabled by his not being able to represent them in the Keystone State. He is otherwise qualified for reciprocal admission under Pa. B.A.R. 204 except that New Jersey is a non-reciprocity state. He will apply for reciprocal admission on motion if Rule 204 is changed," Riviere says.
They seek declaratory judgment and an injunction.
They are represented by Joseph Giannini, of Los Angeles.
The lead defendant is Chief Justice Ronald Castille.