Last month we discussed Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearings. Specifically, we noted the Senate Judiciary Committee's failure to nail Gorsuch down on key antitrust issues, including issues he handled as an experienced antitrust lawyer and decided as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which we also wrote about.
I recently listened to several speakers who discussed their near death experiences (NDEs). Although the circumstances that led them to that moment in their lives differed (such as surgery, acute illness, or an accident), each one discussed the unique clarity he had before almost dying.
A successful law firm owner in his late-'60s asked me if I could prepare a formal valuation of his small personal injury law firm because he intended to retire and sell his firm. His law firm enjoyed an excellent reputation due to his 35 years of hard work in the community, combined with a continuous branding campaign via radio, highway billboards and church bulletin advertisements. He made a high six-figure profit every year. He was proud of his firm's accomplishments and considered himself financially successful. Unfortunately, he had just been diagnosed with inoperable cancer. He was the sole owner of the law firm and had no exit strategy in place. He asked for a proposal to provide the services he described. A few days later he was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance because his health deteriorated suddenly.
Parties often sign a Dispute Resolution Agreement (DRA) expecting that it will establish procedures before the dispute arises. But what if one party refuses to comply with the agreement, including, in particular, paying the necessary arbitration fees? Will the other party, having been frustrated in its attempt to arbitrate, be relieved of its obligations under the agreement?
Recently, our firm tried a wrongful death case against Caterpillar Inc. in Allegheny County regarding the death of a 28-year-old mining mechanic while performing inspection/maintenance procedures on a giant Caterpillar rock truck. Our case proceeded on the risk-utility theory, announced in Tincher v. Omega Flex, 104 A.3d 328, 389 (Pa. 2014). Specifically, it was our contention that the risk of death or serious injury far outweighed the utility of the design of the pressurized front cylinder/strut of the truck.