Ron Pollock

(717) 556-1026

jt@optimaladr.com

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Hon. Jeannine Turgeon (Ret.)

Mediator/Arbitrator

Hon. Jeannine Turgeon (Ret.) is a Mediator/Arbitrator with Optimal Dispute Resolutions with a unique focus on resolving family law and other civil matters. Judge Turgeon served for more than 28 years as a judge for the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas where she authored more than 1,000 opinions and handled jury and nonjury trials in criminal, juvenile, civil (business disputes, real estate, contract disputes, malpractice) and other complex litigation issues as well as orphans court. She is well known throughout the Commonwealth for her expertise in divorce, custody and support matters. She takes a holistic approach to achieve mutually agreeable resolutions involved in these high-conflict and sensitive matters. Judge Turgeon seeks to utilize her experience to assist individuals and businesses to resolve their disputes outside the courtroom as a skilled mediator and arbitrator.

Throughout her career, she has worked to improve courts’ family law systems including:

  • Chairperson of the Family Law Section of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges
  • Chairperson of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Domestic Relations Rules Committee which is tasked with drafting statewide rules and advises the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on matters related to divorce, child support, custody, paternity, protection from abuse and related issues
  • Founding Member of Pennsylvania’s Joint State Task Force on Parenting Coordination where she drafted statewide rules and standard parenting coordination agreements and orders for high-conflict custody cases
  • Member of the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Family Violence Task Force, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) Protection from Abuse Database Project Advisory Committee
  • Produced first educational video on supervised visitation which explains role of non-professional or family member appointed to supervise visitations
  • Administrator of Dauphin County Family Court Division

Judge Turgeon has devoted her professional life to providing justice for all including:

  • Revising standard civil jury instructions into “plain English” as a member and Co-chair of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Suggested Civil Jury Instruction Committee
  • Significant role in revising Rules to permit jurors to take notes during trials
  • Organizing “Meet Your Judges” events for citizens to learn about the court system and ask questions to judges

Judge Turgeon is passionate about diversity and inclusion and gained significant insights from her early career experience including:

  • Intern for Hon. K. Leroy Irvis (Ret.), the first African American to serve as Speaker of the House in any state legislature in the U.S. since the reconstruction era
  • Law Clerk to Hon. Genevieve Blatt (Ret.), the first female elected to statewide office in 1955 when she was elected Secretary of Internal Affairs and then appointed to the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
  • Secretary-clerk for former State Treasurer Grace M. Sloan, the first female State Treasurer in Pennsylvania
  • Secretary for Hon. C. Delores Tucker (Ret.), former Director of Women’s Division of Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee, the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic State Committee, the first female African-American cabinet officer in the U.S.; chair of the Democratic National Committee Black Caucus; the founding President of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Non-Violent Change, the first African-American to serve as President of the National Federation of Democratic Women
  • Member of the Joint Pennsylvania Trial Judges Task Force of Gender Fairness in Courts where she also served as chair for one term.
Publications

“Mediation and Arbitration: Best Practices During COVID-19” The Pennsylvania Lawyer. (March/April 2021)

“Evaluating Credibility of Witnesses – Are We Instructing Jurors on Invalid Factors?” Co-Authored with Aldert Vrij, Ph.D. Journal of Tort Law (2019). Reading Lies: Nonverbal Communication and Deception, Annual Review of Psychology. (January 2019)

“Parenting Coordination in Custody Cases Returns to Pennsylvania.” The Pennsylvania Psychologist. (October 2018)

“Permitting Jurors to Ask Questions During Trials: One Solution to the Problem of Curious Jurors Conducting Electronic and Social Media Research.” The Pennsylvania Lawyer. (January/February 2017). National Center for State Courts Jur-E Bulletin. (January 13, 2017)

“The ‘Attached’ Family Law Lawyer and Judge – The Importance of ‘Attachment’ in Custody Cases.” Co-authored with Ashley Milspaw, Psy.D. The Pennsylvania Lawyer. (June 2015)

“Avoiding Tweeting Troubles, Facebook Fiascos and Internet Imbroglios – Adapting jury instructions for the age of social media.” The Pennsylvania Lawyer. (September/October 2014). National Center for State Courts Jur-E Bulletin. (October 2014)

“Training DVD Helps Person in Charge of ‘Supervised Visitation’.” National Office of Child Support Enforcement Child Support. (August 2012)

“Improving Pennsylvania’s Justice System Through Jury System Innovations.” Co-authored with Prof. Elizabeth Francis. Widener Law Journal. (2009)

Significant Opinions
Commonwealth v. Miller, Joseph – double capital murder trial with subsequent issue on “mental retardation” and voiding death penalty, June 2003

Rideout v. Hershey Medical Center – matter involving parents’ right to removal of medical treatment, constitutional rights of privacy and liberty interests, December 1995

Nardella v. Datillo – matter that involved a priest who engaged in a sexual relationship with a parishioner causing emotional injuries; permitted pre-complaint discovery, discovery of mental health records and clergy-communicant privilege issues, September 1996

Tagouma v. Investigative Services – involved claims against a private investigator for intrusion upon seclusion, invasion of privacy and abuse of legal process, May 2009

Rapp v. Rapp – divorce matter involving equitable distribution, overall distribution, alimony ($1.2M annual income), counsel fees and rental credit issues, 2014

Jacob v. Shultz-Jacobchild support matter that involved a sperm-donor father, indispensable party, November 2006

Durbin v. Durbin – divorce proceeding that involved equitable distribution, engagement ring as “marital property,” valuation issues expense of assets sale, February 2005

WTD v. TL f/k/a TD – proceeding involving the right of abusing spouse to obtain alimony pendente lite (APL), support guidelines, deviation and short duration of marriage, June 2017

F.B. v. M.R. – child and spousal support involving income and earning capacity, validity of foreign divorce decree and U.S. immigration issues including affidavit of support, October 2013

Wagner v. Wagner – child and spousal support that involved calculation of income, imputed income, retained earnings, perquisites (monthly net incomes of $137K, $159K and $118K), deviation from guidelines, allocation/tax consequences, arrears and attorney fees, June 2012

Loney-Heck v. Heck – support matter that involved income calculation, alimony or equitable distribution as income and gifts not income, March 2005

Perrotti v. Meredith – support matter that involved alimony pendente lite (APL), common law marriage and entitlement, September 2004

Pitts v. Tate – support matter involving enforcement and IRS tax intercept program, November 2005

Eisenhour v. Eisenhour – divorce matter involving marital settlement agreement (MSA), protective orders, breach of oral MSA, divorce code (termination of property rights and res judicata), statute of limitations, promissory estoppel. unjust enrichment and lack of personal jurisdiction, August 2016

Tuzzato v. Tuzzato – divorce matter involving the college expenses provision of MSA, December 2014

Eugene v. Eugene – divorce matter involving MSA alimony obligation, enforcement and doctrine of legal impossibility, March 2014

Stelter v. Stelter – alimony matter involving petition to modify, double dipping and pension income, July 2013

Kauffman v. Kauffman – equitable distribution matter which found that overall distribution of marital estate 85%-15% in husband’s favor was equitable since marriage was only three-and-a-half years long, July 2001

Bretz v. Bretz – divorce matter involving a 32-year marriage, alimony modification, changed circumstances and voluntary reduction of income, June 1999

Wiebner v. Wiebner – divorce matter involving bankruptcy discharge, valuation and overall distribution, June 1998

Professional Career

Judge, Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas 12th Judicial District, 1992-2020

Pennsylvania Bar Institute – educational presentations, 1981- to date

Partner, Davis & Turgeon, 1986-1991

Partner, Campbell, Spitzer, Davis & Turgeon, 1981-1985

Associate, Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall, 1979-1981

Adjunct Professor, Widener University School of Law

Education

National Judicial College, University of Nevada

University of Pittsburgh School of Law, J.D., 1977

 Chatham College, B.A., 1974

Recognitions

Exemplar Peace Keeping and Social Justice Award, IIPT Harrisburg Peace Promenade, 2018

Dauphin County Bar Association’s Women in the Profession DIVA Award, 2016

Pennsylvania Bar Association Plain English Committee’s Clarity Award, 2016

Pennsylvania Psychological Association’s Public Service Award, 2013

The Patriot-News Editorial Board’s “Sunshine Award”, 2012

Agape–Satyagraha Peace Maker Award, Certificate of Recognition for Promoting Peace and Conflict Resolution, 2011

Dauphin County Commissioners’ Certificate of Recognition for Do the Write Thing and Promoting No Violence and Cultural Awareness, 2010

The Harrisburg Sesquicentennial Commission Living Legacy Series, Chosen as One of 150 Living Legacies, 2010

Heinz-Menaker Senior Center’s Lift Every Voice Award, 2010

Memberships

Pennsylvania Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Suggested Standard Civil Jury Instructions Committee

Vice-Chair and member, 2004 – 2020

Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, 2019, 2020

Pennsylvania State Trial Judges Conference: Judicial Security Committee, Executive Committee, 2008-2016; Chair, Family Law Section, 1996-2000

William W. Lipsitt Inn of Court, Masters Member, 2011-2018

Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission, 2003–2009

Central Pennsylvania Judges and Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers and Judges, Co-Chair