Tereshko Resigns as Supervising Judge in Wake of Critical Superior Court Decision
The Philadelphia judge taken to task by the Pennsylvania Superior Court for failing to disclose that his spouse worked for a law firm representing a defendant in a motor vehicle insurance case has resigned as supervising judge of Philadelphia's civil cases.
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Allan L. Tereshko said in an interview Thursday that he wished he had advised the parties in the case that his wife formerly worked for Post & Schell, the defense firm representing the insurance company in the case.
Tereshko said that "I'm not quarreling with the Superior Court decision," that he should have advised the parties of the relationship before the start of the motion and that it was a lapse not to do that.
"With the number of motions I do, it was an oversight," Tereshko said. "I should have disclosed and I did not."
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge John W. Herron, administrative judge of the trial division, said that he met with Tereshko on Wednesday after the Superior Court opinion was issued.
"We had a long discussion," Herron said. "He then submitted his resignation saying at the time, given the criticism by the Superior Court, he believed it was in the best interest for the court for him to resign his position as supervising judge."
Tereshko said that he thought it was best if he resigned.
"I didn't want to take away from the great work the civil division is doing," he said. "I felt John Herron would be better off with another supervising judge."
Tereshko said that he sent out an order last November, which was when he was appointed supervising judge, stating that he would be recusing from cases involving Post & Schell. He said the case in which he received criticism from the Superior Court preceded that order and was an oversight.
Tereshko also stated that this is the only case where he failed to disclose.
Herron said that he did not want to comment about the Superior Court case specifically, but "the issue in general is an extraordinarily difficult one. The Superior Court opinion was appropriate and engaging in intellectually wrestling with the problem for all judges. The problem, as we all recognize, is when is disclosure appropriate? What type of disclosure is appropriate? As judges we live in a world of both professional and personal relationships. How do you draw the line of when you do appropriately disclose?"
One of the difficult aspects involving Tereshko was that Tereshko decided the motion without having a hearing and without disclosing his spousal relationship, Herron said.
Herron did say that Tereshko has made an "extraordinary contribution as a supervising judge. He worked diligently and he worked long, long hours. He has mentored many judges over the years. He has been a part of the civil program for an extraordinarily long time."
Judge Arnold L. New was appointed as the new supervising judge.
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