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State of Pennsylvania November 3, 2009 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Robert J. Colville

Candidate for
Judge; Pennsylvania Superior Court

This information is provided by the candidate


Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1965.
Raised on the North Side of the City of Pittsburgh. Currently resides in Ross Township, (Pittsburgh suburb), Allegheny County. Married to Kate in 1994. Son, Robbie, born in 1997. Daughter, Annie, born in 2001.


St. Cyril of Alexandria Grade School, Pittsburgh, PA - 1980
North Catholic High School, Pittsburgh, PA - 1984
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA + B.A. 1989
Duquesne University, School of Law, Pittsburgh PA + J.D. 1992


Pennsylvania State Bar + 1992
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit - 1998
United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania + 1992
West Virginia State Bar + 1998
United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia - 1998


LaRoche College, Pittsburgh, PA + Adjunct Professor - "The Rule of Law" + Fall & Spring Semesters - 2004 through present.


Pietragallo, Bosick & Gordon Pittsburgh, PA - Attorney - 1994-1999

Practice included full scope of general litigation responsibilities. Prepared for and participated in numerous jury and bench trials, arbitrations, and mediations. Prepared all manner of pleadings, motions, briefs, and correspondence to opposing counsel, witnesses and clients. Trial and appellate practice included litigation of products liability (primarily automobile, aircraft, and industrial machinery) cases, insurance defense, warranty claims, declaratory judgment actions, real estate disputes, construction claims, fire loss, and contract disputes. Represented both defendants and plaintiffs.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Pittsburgh, PA - Law Clerk for Justice Ralph J. Cappy - 1992-1994

Prepared numerous draft majority, concurring and dissenting Opinions of the Court for consideration and/or adoption by the Court. Prepared thousands of internal case review memoranda to Justices of the Court summarizing and analyzing pending Petitions for Allowance of Appeal, with recommendations for disposition. Extensive and comprehensive research of legal issues embracing and encompassing full scope of Pennsylvania law, including civil, criminal, family and orphans court matters.

United States House of Representatives Health and Safety Subcommittee - Washington, DC Legislative Aide for Congressman Joseph Gaydos + 1991

Prepared national survey of workplace fatalities (1980-1990) and literature review of current scientific indoor air pollution issues. Researched and prepared reports regarding upcoming witnesses and anticipated testimony before Subcommittee.

Allegheny County Public Defender's Office Pittsburgh, PA + Legal Intern + 1990-1991

Prepared appellate briefs, PCRA/PCHA petitions; interviewed clients and witnesses; general legal research regarding all areas of criminal justice.

Laborer's Local #1058 Highway Construction Laborer +Pittsburgh + 1985-1991

Performed construction and demolition work on various roadway and bridge construction projects in the Pittsburgh area throughout undergraduate college and law school education.


Trial Judge Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Pittsburgh, PA - 2000 through present.

Family Division, Juvenile Section Jan. 2000 + October 2002

Judge Colville has heard and decided nearly twelve thousand juvenile court matters including: juvenile delinquency and juvenile dependency adjudications, placement reviews, mental health commitment hearings, Act 53 substance abuse commitment hearings, termination of parental rights hearings, permanency review hearings, adoptions, protection from abuse hearings, and adult criminal certification/decertification hearings.

Family Division, Adult Section November 2002 + March 2003 (and unofficially April through August 2003)

Judge Colville has heard and decided hundreds of motions and hearings and trials related to child custody, divorce, equitable distribution, enforcement of custody agreements, contempt for failure to pay child/spousal support, and protection from abuse matters.

Civil Division General Docket Trial Judge March 2003 + present

Judge Colville has tried over 250 jury and bench trials involving issues ranging from sprained ankle slip and fall cases, small motor vehicle accident lumbar strain cases, and neighbor fence-line property disputes to medical malpractice wrongful death claims, product liability amputation claims, multi-million dollar commercial contract disputes, to invasion of privacy and freedom of speech claims. He has conciliated hundreds of jury and non-jury matters to resolution. Judge Colville has resolved hundreds of dispositive motions and conducted thousands of evidentiary and procedural hearings issuing thousands of rulings.

Toxic Substance Case Supervising Judge January 2004 + present

Judge Colville has conciliated thousands of asbestos exposure serious injury and death claims. He has exercised primary responsibility for maintenance and management of all aspects of expedited and general asbestos docket in Allegheny County. He has resolved motions of every type involving current asbestos matters approaching trial on general and expedited asbestos docket in Allegheny County. He has tried and coordinated with other trial judges on wrongful death asbestos exposure claims. He has personally conducted argument on thousands of Motions for Summary Judgment and issued dispositive rulings on tens of thousands of asbestos claims. He has coordinated with colleagues to manage and decrease an asbestos "backlog" of over 4000 cases. He has cooperated with, and coordinated the efforts of, attorney work groups to successfully revise applicable asbestos case management orders for all Allegheny County Asbestos dockets including general, expedited, and "backlog" dockets.

Juvenile Court "Support" Judge September 2007 + January 2008

Following the reassignment of judges in the Juvenile court to other divisions, and at the request of the Administrative Judge of the Family Division, who perceived a need for assistance from judges in other divisions to handle the pressing juvenile court caseload, Judge Colville volunteered to return to juvenile court to temporarily assist in the handling of a dependency court caseload until newly elected judges could begin their service. Judge Colville did not relinquish any of his ongoing civil division responsibilities during this time frame.


January 2000 + November 2002

11,904 Total Juvenile court matters resolved

November 2002 + March 2003

727 Total Adult family court matters resolved

March 2003 + February 2009

General Civil Matters 259 Civil trials conducted. 1,804 Non-trial related motions resolved. 847 Conciliations conducted.

Asbestos Matters
2.994 Miscellaneous/general motions resolved. 10,160 Motions for summary judgment argued and resolved. 1,121 Discovery motions argued and resolved.

17,185 Total Civil matters resolved/decided.

  • Backup documentation and data can be made available for review upon request.


Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee

Judge Colville served as an original voting member on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee for the first seven years of that Committee's existence. During his tenure, the Juvenile Court Rules Committee developed, from "whole cloth," new rules governing juvenile court dependency and delinquency matters to be applied throughout the Commonwealth's sixty-seven counties. This effort required Judge Colville and his fellow committee members to balance the very divergent interests of parties and other stakeholders in the juvenile court system, maintain the accountability, transparency, and systemic fairness of the juvenile court, and ensure that the best interests of the children involved would be advanced.

Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges Judge Colville has served as an Officer of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges for the past five years, (including: Secretary from July 2003 through July 2004; Treasurer from July 2004 through July 2005; Second Vice-President from July 2005 through 2006; First Vice-President from July 2007 through July 2008; and President-Elect from July 2008 through the present. Judge Colville will begin service as President of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges in July 2009 and serve through July 2010. He will then serve a final term as Immediate Past-President through July 2011). The Conference is the professional association that, among many other functions, provides ongoing judicial education to state trial court judges and coordinates efforts of the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts and the Supreme Court in their efforts to maintain professionalism, collegiality, and ethical conduct among the over 400 judges of Pennsylvania's trial courts. Judge Colville is proud to have been elected to each of the above Officer positions by his fellow trial judges serving throughout the Commonwealth and is hopeful that their confidence in him is deserved.

Allegheny County Toxic Tort Supervising Judge In addition to his responsibilities for maintaining a full general civil docket, Judge Colville has served as the Allegheny County Toxic Tort Supervising Judge. While a position that he did not seek, he accepted this responsibility shortly after his assignment to the Civil Division of the Court of Common Pleas upon the request of the then-Administrative Judge. In coordination with the former and current Administrative Judges, he has created and modified applicable Case Management Orders to "modernize" the asbestos dockets in Allegheny County. He has created a new "expedited" docket for asbestos cases that has nearly supplanted the existing general docket and serves to resolve important asbestos matters within a seven to nine month time-line from placement on the expedited docket to trial. He also created a "backlog docket" in order to resolve cases pending over three years, thereby resolving (through the day-to-day efforts of his colleagues) thousands of cases - some over nine years old. Judge Colville continues to administrate and maintain day-to-day control over all discovery, dispositive motions, and pretrial matters for all "non-backlog" asbestos matters in Allegheny County. He is proud that he has accomplished this while continuing to maintain a full general civil docket caseload.

"I find my work as a judge to be both professionally and personally rewarding. Because the work permits me to meaningfully impact the quality and character of other people's lives in so many different ways, it is difficult to identify a specific element of my career that I consider a particularly significant achievement. In a very real way, simply fulfilling my oath as a judge by handling each and every matter that comes before me in a competent, professional manner, and treating each litigant who appears before me fairly and with common sense and genuine human decency is what I would like to be identified as my most significant contribution and achievement as a judge."

- Judge Robert J. Colville

PRESENTATIONS (representative sampling):

Pennsylvania Bar Institute - The New Pennsylvania Rules of Evidence - Legal Relevance/Exclusionary Rules - Presenter - Pittsburgh, PA - August 1998 Matrimonial Inns of Court - Adoption for the Procedurally Challenged - Panelist - Pittsburgh, PA - February 2001 University of Pittsburgh Inns of Court - From Behind the Bench - Panelist - Pittsburgh, PA - November 2000 National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners - The Abused Child: When to Suspect and How to Manage - Legal Issues in Child Abuse - Presenter - Pittsburgh, PA - April 2001 Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Chief Probation Officers Commission - Balanced and Restorative Justice Conference - The Judge's Role - Presenter/Panelist - Philadelphia, PA - March 2001 Dave Thomas Center for Adoption Law Third Annual Symposium + Improving Permanency Placement Solutions: Maximizing Communication and Cooperation - The Power of a CASA - Presenter/Panelist+ Columbus, OH + May 2001 Allegheny County Bench Bar Conference + Family Law Section: Sound-off with Judges -Panelist + Champion, PA - June 2000 - 2002 Three Rivers Adoption Council/Child Watch +Dependency/Adoption Seminar - Presenter - Pittsburgh, PA - April 2001 National Law Day - Back to School Speaker + Pittsburgh, PA - May 2000 - 2004 Juvenile Court Project- Parent Advocates CLE training seminar + Forum with the Judges + Panelist + Pittsburgh, PA - November 2001 Allegheny County Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs Focus Group + Participant + Pittsburgh, PA - September 2002 Pennsylvania State Trial Judges Conference Asbestos Litigation - Top Ten Things to Know - Presenter + Hershey, PA - July 2004 Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association + Conciliations and Pre-Trial Procedures + A Judicial Perspective + Pittsburgh, PA - November 2004 Pennsylvania Bar Institute + 14th Annual Auto Law Update + Judicial Hints for Successful Trials + Speaker - Pittsburgh, PA - December 2004 Western Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association + Civil Division Judges Potpourri + Pittsburgh, PA + January 2005 Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership + 2005 Western Pennsylvania Leadership Seminar + "Motivating Tomorrow's Leaders Today" + Speaker- Pittsburgh, PA -June 2005 YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh Legal Resource for Women / Pittsburgh Fair Housing Partnership - Know Your Rights Family Law and Fair Housing Law + Featured Speaker + Pittsburgh PA - December 2005 PATLA +Chicken Soup For the Trial Lawyers Soul +Pittsburgh, PA + March 2006 The Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County - 7th Annual Civil Trial Practice Symposium + Speaker - Pittsburgh, PA + April 2006 Pennsylvania Bar Institute + 16th Annual Auto Law Update + View From the Bench + Speaker - Pittsburgh, PA - December 2006 American Association of Legal Nursing Consultants + Voir Dire, Jury Selection and Jury Charge + Speaker + Pittsburgh, PA + March 2007 Allegheny County Bar Association - The Dependency Rules: Everything You Need to Know + Presenter + Pittsburgh, PA + October 2007 Pennsylvania Bar Institute + Annual Auto Law Update + View From the Bench + Speaker - Pittsburgh, PA + November 2007 Pennsylvania Bar Institute + Preventing Nightmares: Preserving Issues and Avoiding Waiver at Trial and on Appeal + Speaker + Pittsburgh, PA + April 2008 Materials Science and Technology 2008 Conference and Exhibition + Expert Testimony + Speaker- Pittsburgh, PA - October 2008 Pennsylvania Defense Institute + Bad Faith Litigation + Speaker + Annapolis MD +October 2008 Pennsylvania Bar Association - Mid-Year Meeting - Fair and Impartial Courts + Presenter + St Thomas, USVI + February 2009 Pennsylvania Bar Association Mid-Year Meeting + Civil Litigation 2009: Case Law Highlights and Other Topics (1st Pa. Koken Trial ) + Presenter + St Thomas, USVI + February 2009


Pennsylvania Supreme Court Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee Voting Member (appointed by Supreme Court) - February 2001 + January 2008

Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges Secretary - July 2004 + July 2005; Treasurer + July 2005 + July 2006; Second Vice-President - July 2006 + 2007; First Vice-President - July 2007 - present; President Elect + July 2008 + present; President + (to be served July 2009 - July 2010)

National Conference of State Trial Judges Co-Chair - Membership Committee, June 2008 + present. PCSTJ Delegate to NCSTJ/ABA Convention, 2005 + present. Pennsylvania Liaison + May 2007 - present Judicial Mentor Program - May 2008 + present

Pennsylvania Bar Association Member - Long Term Planning Committee + July 2008 + present.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas + Technology Committee + April 2004 - present

Children's Rooms in the Courts Advisory Committee + a project of the National Council of Jewish Women + June 2008 +present

Court and Community Collaboration Committee (Subcommittee of statewide Balanced and Restorative Justice Implementation Committee) + December 2000 - 2007

Pennsylvania Council of Chief Juvenile Probation Officers - Balanced and Restorative Justice Implementation Committee + July 2001 + 2007

Children's Cabinet + Allegheny County Mental Health/Department of Human Services + December 2000 - 2007

Allegheny County Bar Association + Speakers Bureau + October 2001 + present

Allegheny County Probation Office Balanced and Restorative Justice Implementation Work Group + July 2002 - 2007

Duff's Business Institute + Legal Studies Advisory Committee + May 2003 + 2006

Brighton Heights Citizens Federation Board + November 2000 - November 2002


American Bar Association + 1992 - present Pennsylvania Bar Association + 1992 - present Allegheny County Bar Association + 1992 + present Pennsylvania Bar Institute + 1994 - 2000 Defense Research Institute + 1994 - 2000 Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association + 1994- 2000 Western Pennsylvania Federal Bar Association + 1996-2000

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 30, 2009 18:50
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