Rule *32.2 Disposition of Pleadings.
(a)Failure to Answer a Petition. If the respondent fails to file an answer to a petition, the Court may enter a decree granting the prayer of the petition.(1)
(b) Failure to Reply. If the petitioner fails to file a reply to an answer which contains new matter, the averments of fact set forth under new matter shall be deemed admitted and the case will be [at issue] ripe for disposition.
[(c) Failure to File an Answer to Preliminary Objections. If the petitioner fails to file an answer to preliminary objections raising questions of jurisdiction, the averments of fact set forth in the preliminary objections shall be deemed admitted and the case will be at issue on the preliminary objections. ]
(c) Disposition of Preliminary Objections.
(1) The Assigned Judge shall rule on the preliminary objections. If no judge has been assigned, the Administrative Judge, at the request of any party in interest, shall assign a judge, on a rotation basis, to rule on the preliminary objections.
(2) Preliminary Objections raising questions of fact. Averments of fact raised in preliminary objections shall be deemed admitted if no answer is filed. If an answer is filed which denies averments of fact raised in preliminary objections, the Assigned Judge may schedule an evidentiary hearing.
(3) Preliminary Objections which may be disposed of as a matter of law. If no issues of fact are raised by the preliminary objections and answer, the Assigned Judge shall dispose of the preliminary objections as a matter of law, and shall deem all averments of fact in the pleading to which the preliminary objections have been filed to be admitted for the purpose of ruling on the preliminary objections.
(4) Oral argument on preliminary objections may be scheduled at the discretion of the Assigned Judge.
(d) Joinder of Issue. No formal joinder of issue is required.
(1) Issues of Fact. Issues of fact will not be heard on the argument list. Except as otherwise provided by Rules *77.1 and *104, when an issue of fact is raised by the pleadings, the Administrative Judge, upon the written request of any party, may refer the matter to a Master, to the Auditing Judge if an account is to be filed, or to a Hearing Judge.
(2) Issues of Law. [When the pleadings are closed, any party in interest may order the matter on the argument list. Averments of fact in the pleading to which preliminary objections raising questions of law have been filed shall be deemed admitted for the purpose of the argument.] Pleadings that are closed shall be disposed of in conformity with Rule *32.2(c)(1), (3) and (4), dealing with disposition of preliminary objections.
(1) If an answer is filed which raises issues of fact, either petitioner's counsel or respondent's counsel should write to the Administrative Judge and request that the pleadings be assigned to a Hearing Judge for disposition.