Central PA

penn state

Sandusky Secures PCRA Hearing

By Max Mitchell |

Convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky has been given the chance to try and prove that prosecutors and the judge who presided over his investigating grand jury withheld pertinent information from his defense team.

Taxi Co.’s Unfair Competition Suit Against Uber Survives

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Pared down to the single issue of whether Uber made false representations to the public that Philadelphia's taxi companies weren't guaranteed to be insured while on the road, a federal judge has allowed the cab companies' unfair competition lawsuit against Uber to move forward.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane departs after her preliminary hearing Nov. 10, 2015, at the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown.

Kane Aide Gets Jail Sentence, Plans to Appeal

By Lizzy McLellan |

An aide to Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has been sentenced to three to six months in jail, and also a fine and community service, for violating a protective order.

Lobbying Work Caught in Middle Of Pennsylvania Budget Impasse

By Gina Passarella |

Government affairs professionals in Pennsylvania expressed pure frustration when talking about the state's budget impasse, when they were willing to talk about the sensitive issue at all.

penn state

OAG Appeals Dismissal of Charges Against Ex-PSU Admins

By Max Mitchell |

The Office of Attorney General has asked the state Superior Court to reconsider its decision to toss numerous charges against the three ex-Penn State administrators accused of covering up sex abuse at the hands of serial child molester Jerry Sandusky.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane speaks during a news conference Aug. 12 at the State Capitol in Harrisburg.

State AG Kane Says Agents' Testimony Not Protected Speech

By Lizzy McLellan |

State Attorney General Kathleen Kane and her chief of staff have asked a federal district court to dismiss the civil case brought against them by two special agents from her office, arguing that the grand jury testimony behind their retaliation claims was not protected speech.

Bill Cosby

Cosby's Attorneys: Oral Nonprosecution Agreement Enforceable

By Lizzy McLellan |

Attorneys for Bill Cosby have struck back against the Montgomery County district attorney's contention that the comedian is seeking "special treatment" from the courts, arguing that the comedian's oral nonprosecution agreement with a former district attorney is enforceable.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) presenting a judicial nominee during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. July 29, 2014. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Rand Paul Consultant's Pa. Election Law Challenge Falls Flat

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A Texas-based consultant seeking to circulate nominating petitions in Pennsylvania for presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, has lost his constitutional ­challenge of the state's election laws.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane

Pa. House Takes Step Toward Impeaching Kane

By Ben Seal |

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has begun to move toward impeachment proceedings against Attorney General Kathleen Kane. The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution that would authorize the committee to investigate Kane's ­conduct in office.

Stay Lifted in Spanier's Suit Against Freeh

By Max Mitchell |

After nearly two years on hold, former Penn State President Graham Spanier will be able to move forward with his defamation suit against Louis Freeh and his investigation group, but Spanier may not directly sue his former employer for breach of contract.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane

Agents in Shuttered Probe Sue Kane, Chief of Staff

By Gina Passarella |

Two Office of Attorney General agents have sued state Attorney General Kathleen Kane and her chief of staff, alleging the agents' reputations were harmed when Kane explained publicly that she wouldn't prosecute five black Philadelphia politicians the agents investigated because the investigation was racially motivated.

insurance policy

Insurer in Legal Mal Bad-Faith Case Wants Federal Venue

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

An insurance company sued for denying coverage to a law firm hit with a legal malpractice lawsuit is attempting to have the bad-faith litigation moved from the Blair County Court of Common Pleas to federal court.

Pair of Pa. City Officials Plead Guilty in FBI Probes

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Two officials from Pennsylvania cities, one from Allentown and another from Reading, have pleaded guilty to corruption charges in parallel campaign-finance investigations conducted by the FBI.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane departs after her preliminary hearing Nov. 10, 2015, at the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown.

Pa. Senate Committee Eyes Limits on Kane's Job Functions

By Max Mitchell |

What conduct might constitute "reasonable cause" to remove state Attorney General Kathleen Kane from office remains in a legal gray area, ethics attorneys testified Tuesday before a Senate special committee investigating Kane's job functions in the wake of the loss of her law license.

Dominguez v. Yahoo, PICS Case No. 15-1617 (3d Cir. Oct. 23, 2015) Ambro, J. (9 pages).

If an administrative agency issues a declaratory ruling while a case is pending, the Third Circuit can vacate and remand, to permit the district court to reconsider in light of the declaratory ruling. Decision granting summary judgment to defendant vacated in case in which plaintiff seeks damages in the amount of $13.9 million.

Kane's Statements Focus of Sandusky Hearing

By Max Mitchell |

The judge overseeing the appeal of convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky has given the state attorney general a week to show the court why statements she made Wednesday do not implicate the grand jury that investigated Sandusky.

penn state

Judge Halts Sex Assault Discipline Against PSU Student

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A Syrian national who was suspended from Penn State under the university's months-old investigative process for campus sexual-assault allegations can now return to class, a federal judge has ruled, nullifying the risk of his deportation.

Emergency personnel work at the scene of a deadly train derailment May 13 in Philadelphia.

Amtrak Derailment MDL Established in Philadelphia

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The federal Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has given the go-ahead to centralize all claims stemming from the May derailment of Amtrak train 188 in Philadelphia-based federal court.

Bars Urge Rule Change on Marijuana Industry

By Gina Passarella |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court should adopt an amendment to the Rules of Professional Conduct to allow for lawyers to ethically represent clients in the medical marijuana industry, ethics committees of the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia bar associations have jointly recommended.

Judge Rejects 'Highly Confidential' Designation of Freeh Documents

By Max Mitchell |

Pepper Hamilton will not be able to claim that all documents at issue in the dispute between the NCAA and the family of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno are "highly confidential," a court of common pleas judge has ruled.

Harrisburg

DC Firm Wins Bid in Harrisburg Incinerator Litigation

By Gina Passarella |

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has gone out-of-state to hire a law firm that could potentially sue those who advised the city of Harrisburg in what turned out to be a financially devastating retrofit of the city's incinerator.

penn state

PSU, Frat Seek to Move Hazing Suit to Centre County

By Max Mitchell |

Penn State and other defendants in a hazing suit filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas are seeking to transfer the case to Centre County.

ABA, DOJ Weigh in on Luzerne Defender Office

By Max Mitchell |

The government and several national legal organizations have thrown their support behind two indigent defendants who are arguing before the state Supreme Court that the low funding levels of the Luzerne County Public Defender's Office constituted a deprivation of their right to effective counsel.

DA Sues Centre County Officials, Alleging 'Power Play'

By Max Mitchell |

The Centre County district attorney who was accused of forging a judge's signature has sued several attorneys and county officials involved in what she alleges was a "power play" against her.

Evidence of Lawsuits Denied in Wax Explosion Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A woman who was severely burned when a jar of body wax exploded in her hand cannot introduce evidence of other wax-related lawsuits in her case against the manufacturer, a federal judge has ruled.

gavel, scale, and law book

'Kids-for-Cash' Figure Agrees to $4.75M Settlement

By Max Mitchell |

Robert J. Powell, the former co-owner of two private juvenile-detention facilities at the center of the Luzerne County "kids-for-cash" scandal, has agreed to pay at least $4.75 million to settle his portion of a civil suit brought by a class of juvenile plaintiffs.

penn state

PSU Administrators Ask Superior Court to Toss Charges

By Max Mitchell |

Attorneys representing three former Penn State administrators accused of covering up the acts of convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky argued Tuesday the prosecution should be dismissed because they were not properly represented by counsel during grand jury investigations.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane

Sources: Criminal Charges for Kane Expected

By Lizzy McLellan and Max Mitchell |

Sources have told The Legal that state Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane is expected to be criminally charged.

Alternate Fuel-Tank Designs Discoverable in Daimler Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has allowed a plaintiff to conduct discovery on alternate fuel-tank designs in the case of a man who burned to death in a fire caused by a fuel tank rupture on a truck manufactured by Daimler subsidiary Freightliner.

New Trial Set in Med Mal Case Over Barred Expert Report

By Lizzy McLellan |

A Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas judge has granted a new trial in a medical negligence case over an expert report that was excluded from the case, but referenced in testimony.

Bar Code on Envelope Violates Debt-Collection Act

By Ben Seal |

Following a Third Circuit ruling last year finding a debtor's account number on the outside of an envelope violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a Pennsylvania federal judge has ruled embedding that number in a bar code is equally problematic given the advent of smartphone bar-code readers.

Harrisburg

Grand Jury: Ex-Harrisburg Mayor's Corruption Included Vampire Kit

By Max Mitchell |

A former mayor of Harrisburg has been charged with allegedly siphoning public funds from civic projects, including the retrofitting of the city's incinerator, to purchase a host of artifacts and memorabilia, such as a vampire hunting kit, that he allegedly planned to use for a museum.

Justices Deny Bid to Get Freeh Report Documents

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has declined to hear a Penn State alumnus' bid to access documents related to the Freeh report that had been received by the former Pennsylvania secretary of education.

gavel, scale, and law book

Justices Take Up Luzerne County Public Defender Funding Suit

By Lizzy McLellan |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is allowing an appeal from an ousted Luzerne County chief public defender over the amount of funding provided to his former office, from which he was dismissed two years ago.

Fracking Water Transportation Falls Under FLSA Overtime Rules

By Gina Passarella |

Two trucking companies that make deliveries to natural-gas drilling sites in Pennsylvania cannot escape the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime rules because their transport of water within the state is not so integral to interstate commerce to fall under any overtime exemptions outlined in the federal Motor Carrier Act.

Longtime Prosecutor to Head Dilworth White-Collar Team

By Gina Passarella |

Linda Dale Hoffa, a longtime prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the state Attorney General's Office, will soon join Dilworth Paxson to co-lead the firm's corporate investigations and white-collar practice.

Ex-Husband Off Hook for False Sex Ad, for Now

By Max Mitchell |

An ex-husband, who allegedly falsely advertised online that his ex-wife was offering to provide sexual services, did not owe his ex-wife a sufficient duty to establish liability for negligent infliction of emotional distress, a court of common pleas judge has ruled.

penn state

Former Student Sues PSU, Frat Over Hazing

By Max Mitchell |

Penn State is once again being accused of failing to act in the face of allegations of sexual misconduct, this time in a case of student hazing.

penn state

Sandusky Accuser Appeals AG's Decision Not to Prosecute

By Max Mitchell |

An alleged victim of convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky is appealing the state attorney general's decision not to prosecute his case.

medical malpractice

Appeal of Earlier Order Allowed in Consolidated Litigation

By Lizzy McLellan |

The state Superior Court has jurisdiction to hear all appeals regarding separate judgments in consolidated medical malpractice litigation, even though one of the judgments predated the others by almost two years.

Jury Sides with Doctor on Failure-to-Diagnose Lawsuit

By Lizzy McLellan |

A Dauphin County jury sided with the defendant in a medical malpractice case involving a patient's internal hernia and subsequent bowel transplant.

Shredded paper series - confidential

Insurance Employees' Thoughts Privileged in Bad-Faith Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has refused to compel discovery of documents detailing State Farm employees' mental impressions after a bad-faith case was filed against the insurance company.

insurance policy

Widow Beats Insurance Carrier's Criminal Exception Claim

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A 25-year-old man who died after passing a truck on his motorcycle in a no-passing zone wasn't committing a crime at the time of the accident, so his wife can collect on his life insurance policy, a federal judge has ruled.

Parties Spar Over Alternative DUI Testing at Arguments

By Max Mitchell |

A lawyer representing a Luzerne County attorney who declined chemical testing for allegedly driving under the influence argued before the state Supreme Court that motorists suspected of DUI should be given a choice of being tested for blood alcohol content.

Former Foster Child Is a Ward Under Auto Policy

By Lizzy McLellan |

A 19-year-old man who had been the foster child of an insured family should be considered a ward of that family for the purposes of insurance coverage, the Superior Court has ruled.

Justices Mull Damages Requirement in Defamation Suits

By Lizzy McLellan |

Attorneys for a newspaper publisher and a pair of plaintiffs alleging defamation were at odds before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Harrisburg last week over the constitutional requirements to make a defamation case.

High Court Eyes 'Normal' Practices Under Farming Law

By Lizzy McLellan |

In its first bout with the Right to Farm Act, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments May 5 over the use of biosolids as a normal farming practice.

patent stamp

Fed. Judge Awards $1M in Electrical Fitting Patent Dispute

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A Scranton-based electrical fittings manufacturer has won a million-dollar damages award on summary judgment in a long-fought patent dispute with a rival company.

Tech Exec Gets Out of Business Dispute Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

An executive at a tech company got out of a lawsuit over a soured business deal after he got the declaration of a lawyer struck.

penn state

Personnel Changes Won't Disrupt PSU Officials' Prosecutions

By Max Mitchell |

A few behind-the-scenes changes in the criminal cases against the three former Penn State administrators accused of covering up the crimes of convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky will not likely disrupt the prosecution or delay the cases, several court watchers told the Law Weekly.

PSU Trustees Seek Freeh Docs to Weigh Liability, Future Litigation

By Max Mitchell |

A cadre of Penn State trustees say they need full access to Freeh report source materials not only to monitor the university's civil liability for child sexual-abuse claims, but also to evaluate the possibility of instituting a future lawsuit over the report itself.

Corporate Counsel Denounce Disclosure in Paterno Case

By Max Mitchell |

The Association of Corporate Counsel is concerned with what it claims will be a serious erosion of the attorney-client privilege in Pennsylvania if a recent decision in Paterno v. NCAA is allowed to stand.

Ex-Hostage May Sue Captor's Psychiatrist

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A woman held at gunpoint by her husband while she attempted to move out of the family home may proceed with her case against her husband's psychiatrist.

gavel

Centre County Courts 'in Turmoil'

By Max Mitchell and Lizzy McLellan |

In Centre County, a spate of lawsuits involving jurists, attorneys and county officials has created a contentious atmosphere, after several controversial open records requests opened a can of worms.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane

Justices Rule Against Kane in Grand Jury Leaks Case

By Max Mitchell and Hank Grezlak |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has denied state Attorney General Kathleen Kane's efforts to throw out a potential prosecution against her for allegedly leaking confidential grand-jury information.

Judge Won't Modify Broad Protection Order in Paterno Suit

By Max Mitchell |

A broad protection order barring disclosure of pretrial discovery materials will stay in place in the Paterno v. NCAA suit, the judge overseeing the case has ruled.

insurance policy

Superior Court Upholds $2M Bad-Faith Verdict

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A $2 million bad-faith verdict—including roughly $1.5 million in punitive damages—against an insurance company in a property ownership dispute originating in Lackawanna County has been affirmed by the state Superior Court.

Diagnosis Starts Clock for Filing Asbestos Claim

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The state Superior Court has ruled the statute of limitations for an asbestos-related wrongful-death claim begins to run at the time of a diagnosis of illness.

A Push by Some for Looser State Rules Over Referral Fees

By Gina Passarella and P.J. D'Annunzio |

A media report earlier this month about law firm emails that purport to show former Justice Seamus P. McCaffery, and not his wife, may have been the one to refer out certain cases while on the bench, has again raised questions about Pennsylvania's comparatively lax referral-fee rules.

gavel and book

Federal Judge Rules on Post-'Tincher' Products Liability

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

In one of the first federal opinions to address the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's November decision that retooled products liability law in the state, the judge decided to send the claims for negligence and strict products liability to trial.

verdicts and settlements

Sewer Fees Not Required at Widow's Unoccupied House

A judge in Lackawanna County has decided in favor of the defense in a case involving sewer fees for an uninhabited house.

Judge Deletes Two Cybersecurity Class Actions

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has dismissed two data breach class actions—filed by plaintiffs whose personal information was hacked from a payroll company—because no apparent identity-theft-related crimes occurred as a result.

Federal Claim Tossed in Suit Over Student's Death

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Municipal entities cannot be held liable in a wrongful-death case for creating dangerous circumstances that the plaintiffs claim led to a high school student being struck and killed while crossing a highway to get to his bus stop, a federal judge has ruled.

patent stamp

Jawbone Maker Counterclaims OK'd in Infringement Suit

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The maker of Jawbone activity trackers, which has been accused of infringing on another company's patents, has brought a counterclaim for inequitable conduct on the patent holder.

penn state

PSU Administrators' Prosecutions on Hold

By Max Mitchell |

The prosecution of three former Penn State administrators for allegedly covering up the crimes of convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky will remain on hold pending the appeals of a ruling from January denying the defendants' bid to drop the case.

Former Worker Quashes University's Subpoena

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A former University of Scranton police officer has persuaded a federal judge to keep the school from subpoenaing her current employer for her records.

fracking

In First Crack at Fracking Issue, Judge Sides With Driller

By Gina Passarella |

A federal judge, in a case of first impression involving fracking in Pennsylvania, took a literal definition of "adjacent" when determining whether a gas company's compression sites should be lumped together when looking at potential Clean Air Act violations.

Dauphin County Aims for One Judge Per Family

By Lizzy McLellan |

Culminating a multi-decade effort, Dauphin County has opened a designated family court, with three judges dedicated to family court cases.

Nelson Brown's Big Drop in Head Count Raises Questions

By Max Mitchell |

In a little more than the past year, insurance boutique Nelson Brown Hamilton & Krekstein has gone from roughly 75 attorneys to now around 25, leading to questions about the firm's long-term future.

Attorney Fees in Patented App MDL Denied

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The chief judge of the Western District of Pennsylvania has denied attorney fees to a bank that had been accused of violating another company's patent in its banking app.

settlement

McCord Pleads Guilty to Two Counts of Extortion

By Gina Passarella |

Former state Treasurer Rob McCord, 55, pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of extortion related to his attempts to secure campaign contributions for his 2014 gubernatorial bid.

penn state

NCAA-Penn State Settlement Turned on Court Ruling

By Max Mitchell |

When an en banc panel of the Commonwealth Court ruled in April 2014 that the consent decree the NCAA levied against Penn State, which included a $60 million penalty, might not have been properly entered into, the lead attorney in the case knew he was about to be slammed with discovery demands.

Corman Releases Discovery Docs in NCAA Suit

By Max Mitchell |

Calling upon the NCAA to conduct an investigation into how it imposed a consent decree against Penn State, state Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre, released nearly 5,000 pages of documents uncovered while his suit against the college athletics governing body was being litigated.

Supreme Court to Eye 1806 Law in Oil and Gas Case

By Lizzy McLellan |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to consider a case in which the heirs to a Centre County property were stripped of their oil and gas rights because of an "arcane" and outdated tax assessment law.

Case Over Fired Open Records Officer Set for En Banc Hearing

By Lizzy McLellan |

The Commonwealth Court has scheduled a March en banc session to hear arguments over Gov. Tom Wolf's dismissal of the executive director of the Office of Open Records.

U.S. Gov't Fails to Get Out of Nuclear Cleanup Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The federal government has failed in its attempt to get out of a multimillion-dollar suit over the cleanup of a radioactive waste disposal site in central Pennsylvania, even though it already agreed to pay the state $10 million a decade ago, under a federal judge's order.

Signing a contract

Centre County DA Accused of Forgery, Alleges Conspiracy

By Max Mitchell |

An embattled district attorney who has been accused of forging a judge's signature is claiming that she is the subject of a conspiracy.

verdicts and settlements

Contractor Entitled to Mechanic's Lien

By Lizzy McLellan |

A Lycoming County judge has decided that Linde Corp., a contracting company, is entitled to a mechanic's lien of more than $216,000 for work it performed on a water withdrawal facility, despite the defendants' claim that the owner of the property did not approve the work.

Jury in Murder Case Not Swayed by Facebook, Judge Rules

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The case of a convicted accomplice to murder was not prejudiced by social media posts made by the victim's friends and family, a Lackawanna County judge has ruled in an apparent case of first impression.

Obermayer Rebmann Caught Between Client, Litigation Funder

By Gina Passarella |

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel has asked a Pittsburgh federal judge to decide whether the firm's client or a litigation funding company is owed certain money from the client's underlying settlement.

penn state

NCAA, PSU to Settle $60M Dispute, Repeal Sanctions

By Max Mitchell |

Parties on both sides of a dispute over the validity of a consent decree the NCAA imposed against Penn State announced the sanction will be repealed under a proposed settlement agreement.

Luzerne County Defender's Termination Suit Can Proceed

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Luzerne County Chief Public Defender Albert J. Flora Jr.—who, before being forced out, had sued the county for underfunding the office—can continue with his previously dismissed wrongful-termination suit, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has ruled.

Out-of-Contract Agreements Tossed From Motel 6 Trademark Trial

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Texas law would bar a reference to promises made outside of a written franchise agreement in a trademark dispute brought by Motel 6 against owners of a hotel in central Pennsylvania, so those owners can't refer to alleged extra-contractual promises at trial in Harrisburg, a federal judge has ruled.

Drilling Contamination Case Narrowed Against Cabot

By Gina Passarella |

A Pennsylvania federal judge has significantly curtailed the claims in a suit over allegations oil and gas drilling led to the contamination of a Susquehanna County township's water supply.

Court Denies Access to Judge's Email on Sandusky Case

By Max Mitchell |

The Commonwealth Court has denied a right-to-know request for an email a former supervising grand jury judge sent a prosecutor regarding his opinion of the prosecution of convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky.

Bucknell Student's Defamation Claim Against Lawyer Survives

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A federal judge has dismissed all claims made by a former Bucknell student against the university following the 2010 internal student conduct proceeding stemming from an accusation that he had assaulted a female student. His claim against the woman's lawyer, though, has survived.

Fracking, Penn State Topped Commonwealth Court Agenda

By Lizzy McLellan |

The Commonwealth Court in 2014 took on several issues of national importance.

Pa. Justices Take on Noncompete Agreement Case

By Lizzy McLellan |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a first-impression case that defined employers' obligations to an employee signing a noncompete agreement.

Pa. Supreme Court Takes Up Attorney's Breath-Test Appeal

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments over whether an attorney, who declined to undergo a chemical test following his arrest for allegedly driving under the influence but offered to alternatively take breathalyzer and urinalysis tests, should have his driver's license suspended for one year.

Class Arbitration Question Certified to the Third Circuit

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Classwide arbitration is a murky area of law and a federal judge in Pennsylvania has certified one of its threshold questions—whether district courts or arbitration panels are supposed to decide which one will determine if a given contract allows for arbitration of classwide claims—as an interlocutory appeal to the Third Circuit.

Union Violated Law by Discouraging Volunteer Firefighters

By Lizzy McLellan |

A firefighters' union was in violation of labor law provisions when it told volunteer firefighters to refrain from responding to fires in the Chambersburg Borough, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

Superior Court Waives Defective Complaint in Foreclosure Case

By Max Mitchell |

The state Superior Court has waived the appeal of a mortgage foreclosure action in which a bank's complaint was verified in possible violation of the rules of civil procedure.

Benefits Denied in Noose and 'N-Word' Case

By Max Mitchell |

The Commonwealth Court has found that expert reports were insufficient to warrant an award of workers' compensation benefits for the only black female worker at a Carlisle, Pa., foundry, despite reports of one co-worker using "the N-word," another making disparaging comments about women and a noose being hung in an office.

NCAA Fights for Broad Protection Order in Paterno Suit

By Max Mitchell |

The NCAA is citing its ongoing spat with state officials in a separate case as evidence that a protection order in Paterno v. NCAA should limit pretrial disclosure.

Court Recording Devices Raise Concerns in Monroe County

By Max Mitchell |

Attorneys in Pennsylvania are once again concerned about the use of audio equipment in courtrooms possibly recording confidential conversations between attorneys and their clients.

High Court to Consider Reasonable Suspicion for Sobriety Test

By Lizzy McLellan |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on reasonable suspicion to perform sobriety tests in a York County DUI case.

verdicts and settlements

Jury Awards Damages To Injured Driver With UIM Coverage

By Lizzy McLellan |

A Centre County jury has awarded $400,000 to a man who was injured in a car accident outside of Nittany Mall.

Fed. Judge Sends Spanier, Freeh Suit Back to State Court

By Max Mitchell |

A federal judge has remanded a potential defamation suit against Louis J. Freeh to state court, effectively ending for now Freeh's attempts to have the federal court take up the case.

Justices Ponder Eligibility for Benefits During House Arrest

By Lizzy McLellan |

Following arguments last Tuesday in Harrisburg in Chamberlain v. UCBR, the state Supreme Court is tasked with deciding whether a person under house arrest can be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.

lynn

Lawyer for Lynn Attacks Child Endangerment Conviction

By Max Mitchell |

The attorney representing the first Catholic Church administrative official convicted of endangering the welfare of children abused by other priests argued Tuesday before the state Supreme Court that the conviction should not stand because the official did not have any supervisory interactions with the children.

Pa. Justices Urged to Bar Informed Consent in Med Mal Cases

By Max Mitchell |

For at least one state Supreme Court justice, the issue of whether informed consent forms should be barred from strict medical malpractice suits comes down to the idea that a plaintiff cannot consent to negligent treatment.

pa map

'Kids-for-Cash' RICO Case Moved to Middle District

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A federal judge in Pittsburgh has moved a RICO suit stemming from the "kids-for-cash" judicial scandal to Scranton, where the events underlying the case took place.

Gas Pipeline Doesn't Violate Landowners' Rights

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The construction of a natural gas pipeline on private property by a utility company does not infringe upon the landowners' rights, a Lycoming County judge has ruled.

verdicts and settlements

Decedent's Wife Awarded in Perry Co. Dram Shop Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The wife of a man who was killed in a collision with a drunken driver has been awarded $2.5 million in her dram shop case by a Perry County jury.

penn state

State Officials Say NCAA Collaborated on Freeh Report

By Max Mitchell |

Newly released emails show the NCAA collaborated with the Freeh Group in the lead-up to the release of the Freeh report, according to state officials involved in the dispute over the $60 million consent decree the athletic body levied against Penn State University.

Jury box..Photo by Jason Doiy.2-9-11.054-2011

$2.5M Awarded in Perry County Dram Shop Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The wife of a man who was killed in a collision with a drunken driver has been awarded $2.5 million in her dram shop case by a Perry County jury.

Ballard Spahr Fills Chief Marketing Role With Wilmer Hire

By Gina Passarella |

Ballard Spahr's chief marketing position, which had been vacant for more than a year, has been filled by Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr Director of Business Development Timothy John H. Delaney.

Insurance Carrier Off the Hook for Teen's Suicide

By Max Mitchell |

An insurance carrier will not have to be financially responsible for the suicide of a 16-year-old living with her mother and her mother's gun-owning boyfriend, a common pleas judge has ruled.

Cephalon Reverse-Payment Issue Debated Post-Actavis

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Thirty lawyers and a federal judge wrestled with the question of whether the U.S. Supreme Court introduced a new threshold for plaintiffs to reach when they challenge the payments made by major pharmaceutical companies to generic drugmakers in order to keep the cheaper drugs off the market.

/image/pa/300_pics/asbestos-article.jpg

Justices Take Case on 'Any Exposure' Asbestos Theory

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments over whether an "any exposure" causation theory should have been prohibited in an asbestos case against Ford Motor Co.

Traffic Court

Judge Denies Post-Trial Motions in Traffic Court Case

By Gina Passarella |

The federal judge who oversaw the corruption trial of several former Philadelphia Traffic Court officials indicted in a ticket-fixing scheme has denied motions for acquittal or a new trial filed by the four judges who were found guilty of the lesser charges filed in the case.

State Won't Need to Review Feds' Files on Charged Driller

By Max Mitchell |

Although the ExxonMobil subsidiary the state attorney general last year charged criminally for violations related to fracking can subpoena federal investigators for Brady material, a Lycoming County judge has ruled that state prosecutors will not need to review the federal government's investigative files on the company.

Justices Deny NCAA's Bid to Resolve $60M Consent Decree Case

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has denied the NCAA's bid to have the justices strike down a Commonwealth Court ruling that questioned the validity of the $60 million consent decree the athletic body levied against Penn State University.

gevel in a courtroom

Gender Requirement Trumps Seniority in Lackawanna County

By Lizzy McLellan |

Lackawanna County did not violate a collective bargaining agreement when choosing to hire a female detention officer over 12 senior males, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

McCaffery's Seat Likely to Stay Empty Through 2014

By Max Mitchell and Lizzy McLellan |

The state Supreme Court seat left empty by former Justice Seamus P. McCaffery will likely remain vacant until next year's election, political and legal sources who spoke with the Law Weekly said.

Overall Pennsylvania Bar-Passage Rate for July Test Dipped

By Max Mitchell |

Although some schools saw passage rates for the Pennsylvania bar exam drop by around 10 percentage points, the overall passage rate for the Pennsylvania bar exam's July test saw only a slight drop over last year.

construction

Subcontractor Could Be on Hook for Construction Death

By Lizzy McLellan |

After waiving its immunity under the Workers' Compensation Act, a masonry subcontractor may have to reimburse the general contractor for a $3.1 million settlement owed after the death of the subcontractor's own employee at the construction site, now that the state Superior Court has decided that parts of an indemnification contract are valid as clear agreements.

Superior Court Kicks Auto Case to Centre County

By Max Mitchell |

The state Superior Court is using the recent ruling in Bratic v. Rubendall to allow defendants to transfer a motor vehicle case from Philadelphia to the Centre County Court of Common Pleas.

penn state

$60M NCAA, PSU Consent Decree Dispute Continues

By Max Mitchell |

Although seemingly resolved a month ago, another dispute has arisen between the NCAA and state officials over the $60 million consent decree the athletic body levied against Penn State University. This time the NCAA wants the state Supreme Court to get involved.

Courts Split on Class Arbitrability in Energy Cases

By Gina Passarella |

In the wake of a Third Circuit ruling as to whether the court or the arbitrator determines if a case is suitable for class arbitration, two district judges in the Middle District of Pennsylvania split on how to apply the ruling to separate putative class cases involving the same energy company.

gavel

Partition Case Reinstated Due to Immunity Question

By Max Mitchell |

The Commonwealth Court has reinstated a personal injury suit against a school because the record lacked sufficient information about how an accordian-style partition was secured to school property to justify the application of governmental immunity.

Justices Take Up Whether Juries Should Determine Biosolids Use

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on whether juries should be able to determine if spreading a fertilizer made from recycled sewage sludge, known as biosolids, constitutes a "normal agricultural practice."

picture of man hands signing contract

Berks Judge Rejects Nursing-Home Arbitration Agreement

By Hank Grezlak |

A trial judge has ruled an arbitration agreement a Reading, Pa., nursing home made a resident's family sign was unconscionable because it was so one-sided and violated public policy.

Drunk Driving

Judge Rules Insurers Can't Keep Plaintiffs' Records in Crash Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Insurers of defendants in a drunken-driving accident case must destroy or return the plaintiffs' confidential records at the conclusion of the litigation, a Pittsburgh judge has ruled.

Energy Company Wins Lease Extension

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A change-of-ownership provision in an oil and gas lease saved a contract extension made by the energy company's predecessor, a federal judge has ruled in an issue of first impression for Pennsylvania.

gevel in a courtroom

Two Turnpike Defendants Offered ARD

By Max Mitchell |

State Attorney General Kathleen Kane has offered two defendants in the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission corruption case accelerated rehabilitative disposition in exchange for a dismissal of charges.

gavel

Montco Clerk Files $100 Mil. Suit Against Big Banks

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Three months after a federal judge entered declaratory judgment for the Montgomery County recorder of deeds in a class action case she brought against the private mortgage recording service called MERS, she has filed suit against the big banks that used that service.

Fraud Claim in $40 Mil. Energy Dispute Gets Green Light

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A claim of fraud in a $40 million business dispute brought by a pipeline contractor against a natural gas company has survived a motion to dismiss in federal court along with a claim for punitive damages.

AmerisourceBergen Denied Attorney Fee Coverage

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

AmerisourceBergen is not entitled to coverage from its insurance carrier for attorney fees incurred because of a Massachusetts qui tam suit, the state Superior Court has ruled.

Discovery of Doctor Reviews Halted to Address Privilege

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Based on an insurer's position that there is no case law to refute its claims that its physician reviews are privileged, a Lackawanna County judge has stayed an order compelling discovery of those documents pending the outcome of an appeal.

Parties Spar Over Court's Role in Insurance Liquidation Process

By Max Mitchell |

An attorney representing the Pennsylvania insurance commissioner argued before the state Supreme Court that when considering a rehabilitator's plan to liquidate an insurance carrier, the courts should defer to the experts.

Lawyer Argues Before Justices That MRI Use Should Be Tax-Free

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Counsel for a radiology practice argued before the state Supreme Court last week that medical equipment, including MRI and CT machines, software and the electricity used to power the equipment, qualify for the manufacturing exclusion under the Tax Reform Code.

Involuntary Plaintiffs Are Subject to Counterclaims

By Max Mitchell |

A party joined in a case as an involuntary plaintiff is not immune to counterclaims brought by a defendant, the state Superior Court has ruled.

penn state

Spanier Asks AG to Turn Over Purported Emails

By Max Mitchell |

The attorney for former Penn State University President Graham B. Spanier is pointing to the Moulton report as reason to believe that prosecutors have access to several emails pertaining to the three former university administrators facing charges related to the handling of the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal.

Judge Uses Act 13 Ruling to Deny Drilling Project

By Max Mitchell |

Relying on the state Supreme Court's recent interpretation of Act 13, a Lycoming County judge has denied an energy company's bid to construct an oil and gas well pad in the county.

Superior Court Says Application of UIM Rejection Is Unclear

By Max Mitchell |

Although the language of an insurance clause rejecting underinsured motorist coverage was legally sufficient, it failed to specify whether the cancellation applied to subsequent policies, the state Superior Court has ruled.

Superior Court Revives Malicious Prosecution Case

By P.J. D'annunzio |

The state Superior Court has revived a malicious prosecution suit brought by a couple that had been accused of stealing gasoline from a Schuylkill County minimart.

Debt collection

No Fees for Non-Admitted Lawyer in Debt Collection Case

By Gina Passarella |

While the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides for attorney fees if a debt collector violates the law, those fees can't be paid to a non-admitted attorney who, while claiming to have acted in only a consulting capacity, did more than local counsel, a Pennsylvania federal judge has ruled.

Prisoner's Ejaculation Suit Can Proceed

By Gina Passarella |

A Pennsylvania federal judge has denied prison officials' motions for summary judgment in a civil rights suit by a prisoner who was denied medication to treat retrograde ejaculation because of the prison's policy that ejaculation is forbidden.

gavel

State Justices Take Up Third Circuit's Privilege Question

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The state Supreme Court has agreed to review the question of whether an allegation of sexual misconduct against a teacher by a former student—made outside of a "quasi-judicial" proceeding—counts as a privileged communication.

patent stamp

Pair Can't Get Punitives Vacated After Settlement

By Gina Passarella |

A Pennsylvania federal judge has denied the request to vacate $2.25 million in punitive damages against two former heads of a medical supply company who argued they settled the underlying patent infringement cases post-verdict and the judgment was hurting their chances of obtaining new employment.

pa map

Defendants May Now Have Easier Time Changing Venue in Pa.

By Max Mitchell |

The uphill battle defendants faced when trying to get their cases moved from a plaintiff's chosen venue has been leveled somewhat thanks to the state Supreme Court's decision last month in Bratic v. Rubendall, according to attorneys who spoke with the Law Weekly.

verdicts and settlements

Defense Contractor Settles Following Collision in Kuwait

By Max Mitchell |

According to court documents, on Nov. 19, 2009, Brian Mark Patton, a 37-year-old Pennsylvania resident who worked as a corrections officer but was serving a tour of duty as a reservist for the U.S. Navy, was driving an SUV along a two-lane road in Kuwait with David Morgan, who was also a corrections officer serving a tour of duty, as passenger.

Third Circuit Sets FMLA Return-to-Work Standard

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A Reading Hospital office worker's Family and Medical Leave Act claim has allowed the Third Circuit to set a standard for when an employee's right to return to work is triggered.

Justices Deny Rohm and Haas' Appeal in Brain-Cancer Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The state Supreme Court has declined to hear a brain-cancer-cluster case against Rohm and Haas that was initially dismissed, but revived later by the state Superior Court.

Archer & Greiner Sues Client for $1.15 Mil. in Fees

By Gina Passarella |

New Jersey-based Archer & Greiner has sued a Pennsylvania-based client in federal court for more than $1.15 million in alleged unpaid legal fees.

drilling

Justices to Eye Estoppel by Deed in Oil and Gas Cases

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on whether a lease entitles an oil and gas company to a 62-acre property, despite the fact that the lease was entered into when the landowners only had title to half the property and payment only covered 31 acres.

Attorney to Lose Driver's License Despite Breath-Test Consent

By Max Mitchell |

An attorney who declined to undergo a chemical test following his arrest for allegedly driving under the influence will still lose his driver's license for a year, even though he offered to alternatively take breathalyzer and urinalysis tests, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

penn state

Freeh Asked to Show Cause to Move Suit by Spanier to U.S. Ct.

By Max Mitchell |

The federal judge presiding over Louis J. Freeh's attempts to remove a possible defamation case against him from state to federal court has ordered Freeh to show why the federal court has jurisdiction to take the case.

settlement

Pa.'s Ban on Political Contributions Struck Down

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Pennsylvania's law barring corporations and associations from making political contributions, which had been in direct conflict with Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, has now been permanently enjoined.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

State Police to Fight U.S. Justice Department Sex Bias Suit

By John L. Kennedy |

A recent federal court ruling that the FBI engaged in gender discrimination in its physical fitness requirements should help the Pennsylvania State Police defend its standards against a July 31 complaint by the Department of Justice, legal experts said.

Jury May Eye Fault of Docs Who Settled in Med Mal Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Even after several doctors in a medical malpractice suit settled with the plaintiff, jurors could weigh their liability along with the remaining defendants in the case, a Carbon County judge has ruled.

picture of man hands signing contract

Lawyer's ERISA Claim Against Former Firm Tossed

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A lawyer's suit against The Webb Law Firm in Pittsburgh alleging that he was misclassified as an independent contractor while he worked there was tossed by a federal judge.

Fired ROTC Teacher's Claims Stand Against School District

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

An ROTC teacher who was fired from a Pennsylvania public school sued the district after a school board member divulged the teacher's name on a blog over the advice of the board's solicitor.

penn state

Federal Judge Won't Stop Spanier Prosecution

By Max Mitchell |

A federal judge has dismissed ex-Penn State University President Graham Spanier's suit seeking to have the prosecution against him dropped.

Football

Football Head-Injury Case Against High School Survives

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Sheldon Mann took two major hits in one high school football practice and is now described in court papers as "incapacitated."

Girl Wrestles Attorney Fees From School District

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The rural Pennsylvania school district that had to allow a girl to wrestle on a boys' team after she brought a suit in federal court now has to pay more than $70,000 in attorney fees to cover the cost of the girl's legal representation in the case.

Property Owner May Be Liable for Fatal Motorcycle Crash

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A man who briefly owned a property in between sheriff sales could be held liable for a fatal motorcycle crash that occurred on the property during that time, a Northampton County judge has ruled.

penn state

Freeh Seeks Federal Court's Help in Spanier Suit

By Gina Passarella |

Louis J. Freeh has filed an action for declaratory judgment in federal court, seeking an interpretation of the federal removal statute after a state court's ruling that it wouldn't force former Penn State President Graham B. Spanier to outline his claims against Freeh in a possible defamation lawsuit.

Steven F. Gadon

Spector Gadon Co-Founder Steven Gadon Dies at 82

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Steven F. Gadon, known not only for being the managing partner of Spector Gadon & Rosen, but also for his love of the Philadelphia Eagles, running marathons and his generous, warmhearted demeanor, died July 4 of pancreatic cancer at age 82.

Maker of Restasis Responds to Whistleblower Claims

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The pharmaceutical company Allergan said that qui tam claims against it are "defective" and "baseless," and should be dismissed, according to a response filed in federal court.

Gay Wedding Exchanging Rings

Third Circuit Deals Final Blow to Same-Sex Marriage Ban

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A Schuylkill County official, who tried to step in and appeal the historic decision issued in May allowing for same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania, has had her lawsuit thrown out of court by the Third Circuit.

In Mortgage Case, County Officials' Claims Set for Trial

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The recorders of deeds in Pennsylvania's 67 counties won declaratory judgment from a federal judge who ruled that Merscorp must create and record property transfers with the county offices.

penn state

Superior Court Won't Take Up Spanier's Defamation Suit

By Max Mitchell |

The state Superior Court has decided not to force Graham Spanier to file a complaint in the possible defamation action he has pending against Louis Freeh.

Justices Won't Hear Case Over Firm's Venue 'Ploy'

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will not hear arguments in a case in which a Butler County law firm was harshly criticized by the state Superior Court for what the court said was nothing more than a "ploy" to have the former client's legal malpractice action tried in the firm's home county.

patent stamp

Company Awarded $1.5 Mil. in Attorney Fees in Patent Case

By Zack Needles |

A company that was previously found to be in contempt of a federal judge's order to stop selling patent-infringing electrical wire connectors has been ordered to pay the plaintiff patent holder about $1.5 million in attorney fees after the parties could not reach an agreement on an appropriate amount.

insurance policy

Insurer Hit With $18 Mil. Punitive Damages Award

By Zack Needles |

More than 16 years after the litigation began and two years after the Pennsylvania Superior Court granted a new trial to a couple pursuing a bad-faith claim against their insurance carrier, a Berks County trial judge has levied $18 million in punitive damages and $3 million in attorney fees against defendant Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.

McCaffery's Lawyer Says Justice Cleared by FBI

By Gina Passarella |

An attorney for Justice Seamus P. McCaffery told a common pleas court judge Tuesday during arguments over whether the justice's defamation suit against The Philadelphia Inquirer should be kept alive that the FBI cleared his client two weeks ago in an investigation the attorney has said was spawned by the articles in question.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane

Kane: Moulton Report Finds Delays in Sandusky Probe

By Max Mitchell |

Senior leadership at the Office of Attorney General under Gov. Tom Corbett failed to promptly investigate and charge serial child molester Jerry Sandusky in 2010, a report issued Monday by Attorney General Kathleen Kane said.

Corbett Names 11 to Common Pleas Court Judgeships Statewide

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Gov. Tom Corbett on Friday announced 11 nominees for vacant seats on common pleas courts across Pennsylvania.

Court Awards Firm Bulk of Ex-Lawyer's Contingency Fee

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has tossed out an Allegheny County trial judge's award of nearly $15,000 in quantum meruit fees to Pittsburgh-based Meyer, Darragh, Buckler, Bebenek & Eck, but found that the firm may actually be entitled to quadruple that amount under its breach of contract claim.

Gay Wedding Exchanging Rings

Fed. Judge Throws Out Challenge to Pa. Same-Sex Marriage

By Hank Grezlak and P.J. D'Annunzio |

Pulling no punches, a federal judge has tossed out a register of wills's attempt to intervene in the case that saw Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriages ruled unconstitutional, calling it a "contrived legal argument."

penn state

NCAA's Federal Suit on $60 Mil. PSU Penalty Survives

By Max Mitchell |

A federal suit the NCAA filed against state officials involving the $60 million penalty the association levied against Penn State University for its handling of the Jerry Sandusky scandal has survived defendants' efforts to dismiss the case.

Hacker typing on a laptop with binary code in background

Pittsburgh Is Fertile Ground for Prosecution of Cybercrime Cases

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A pair of recent international cybercrime cases out of Pittsburgh—one against an organized conspiracy based in Russia and another against a hacking unit of the Chinese military—have been heralded as groundbreaking and likely forecast a focus on that kind of prosecution.

gavel, scale, and law book

Third Circuit Predicts Pa. Justices' View on Bankruptcy Issue

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The Third Circuit has disagreed with a U.S. district judge on predicting which course the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is likely to follow when interpreting the Pennsylvania Uniform Planned Community Act with regard to bankruptcy.

medical malpractice

Suit Against County Over Shaken-Baby Misdiagnosis Survives

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Claims against Lancaster County brought by the parents of an infant who was taken from them after a misdiagnosis of shaken baby syndrome have survived in federal court.

Kane's Top Deputy Leaving to Rejoin Ballard Spahr

By Gina Passarella |

A day after Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced First Deputy Attorney General Adrian R. King Jr. was leaving the office, Ballard Spahr confirmed he would be rejoining the firm as a partner in the business and finance and government relations practice.

Court Says President Judge Doesn't Control County Funds

By Zack Needles |

The Commonwealth Court has ruled that the president judge of the Bedford County Court of Common Pleas has no authority to withhold from the county treasury money in certain court-controlled funds, some of which was earmarked to reimburse the county for probation office payroll expenses.

Court Says Adverse Possession of Gas Rights Requires Drilling

By Zack Needles |

A Lycoming County trial judge has ruled that the only way a party can acquire a property's oil and gas rights by adverse possession is by showing it has engaged in actual drilling and production on the land.

Software Discovery Master Appointed in Trade-Secret Dispute

By Max Mitchell |

A trial judge has appointed a forensic expert to help determine whether a defendant must produce information about software that a plaintiff alleges contains trade secrets.

Pennsylvania Justices Won't Hear Judge's Beef With Former Partners

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has refused to hear arguments over whether an Allegheny County trial judge who is suing his former law partners over the distribution of their now-defunct firm's assets is entitled to an accounting of contingent fee cases that were resolved following the firm's dissolution.

chocolate

Purchasers File Notice of Appeal in Chocolate Price-Fixing MDL

By Zack Needles |

The chocolate price-fixing multidistrict litigation hasn't wrapped just yet. Nearly 20 supermarkets, pharmacies and wholesalers—including Safeway, CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens—have appealed a Middle District of Pennsylvania judge's ruling tossing 91 price-fixing cases filed against Hershey, Mars and Nestle, the makers of three-quarters of America's chocolate.

Attorneys Oppose Bill Proposing Tax on Legal Services

By Gina Passarella |

Once again, Pennsylvania lawyers are finding themselves caught in the crosshairs of legislation that would have a dramatic impact on the way they do business, and, according to many of those lawyers, would hurt their ability to compete with other jurisdictions.

Francis X. O'Connor

New PBA President Plans to Strengthen Bar, Expand Programs

By Max Mitchell |

The incoming Pennsylvania Bar Association president said that in the coming year he plans to make the state bar a more vital part of both the legal and general communities.

penn state

PSU, Paterno Family Set to Face Off Over Freeh Documents

By Max Mitchell |

Attorneys for the family of Joe Paterno and Penn State University are set to argue today whether Pepper Hamilton should be forced to turn over documents related to the creation of the Freeh report.

Court Upholds $10.5 Mil. Award to Woman in Car Accident Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The state Superior Court has upheld a $10.5 million award to a woman who was injured in a car accident caused by an out-of-control dump truck.

Superior Court Strips Heirs of Gas Rights Under 'Arcane' Act

By Zack Needles |

Acknowledging that its decision is "at odds with modern legal concepts" and may be viewed as "unduly harsh," the Pennsylvania Superior Court nevertheless found that it was bound to strip the oil and gas rights to a Centre County property from the heirs of the land's former owners who had reserved the subsurface rights when they sold the land in 1899 but failed to inform the county commissioners of the horizontal severance under an "arcane" and now-outdated tax assessment law from the early 1800s.

gevel in a courtroom

Lawyer Mourning Son Suspended for Neglecting Clients

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A bankruptcy attorney whose distress over the death of his 4-year-old son caused him to neglect his clients' cases has been suspended for a year and a day by the state Supreme Court.

Iranian Business Ties Allegations Are Political Speech

By Gina Passarella |

Pseudonymous letters sent to the U.S. government alleging a Kuwaiti-based government contractor was engaging in illegal business activity with Iran were political speech, a split Superior Court has ruled in ordering the trial court to apply a heightened standard in determining whether the letters' authors could be disclosed.

Pa. Supreme Court Hears Debate Over In-School Autism Coverage

By Max Mitchell |

The statute governing health insurance coverage for in-school treatment of autism spectrum disorders is unambiguous and bars appeal of a denial, an insurance carrier argued Wednesday before the state Supreme Court in Harrisburg, Pa.

Plaintiffs Urge Pa. Justices to Toss Out Statutory Damages Cap

By Max Mitchell |

An attorney for a plaintiff whose $14 million verdict was reduced to $500,000 urged the state Supreme Court to overturn two decisions that found statutory damages caps are constitutional.

penn state

Spanier Asks Court to Preserve His Bid to End Prosecution

By Zack Needles and Max Mitchell |

Ex-Penn State University President Graham Spanier argued in a brief filed Monday that his bid to enjoin prosecution against him should not be barred from federal courts because he has alleged bad faith on the part of the prosecutors.

scales of justice

Statutory Damages Cap Tops Supreme Court Arguments

By Max Mitchell |

Kicking off an oral argument session packed with first-impression issues, the state Supreme Court justices are set to hear arguments about the constitutionality of a statutory damages cap that slashed an injured student's $14 million verdict against the state to $500,000.

Justice Ronald Castille

Federal Judges Share Blame for Long Capital Cases, Castille Says

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

In the wake of a federal judge's criticism of federal defenders for "gaming" death-penalty cases, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille—an outspoken critic of the defenders himself—said some of the blame in relation to prolonged death-penalty appeals had to be placed on federal jurists as well.

Justices Broaden Standard for Warrantless Auto Searches

By Zack Needles |

In a decision that found the justices more deeply divided than a 4-2 split might suggest on its face, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has adopted the federal automobile exception to the search warrant requirement.

insurance policy

Third Circuit Question Over Bad-Faith Claims to Be Heard by State Justices

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether an insured tortfeasor can assign bad-faith claims against his insurance carrier to the injured plaintiff.

Federal Judge Critical of Defenders in 20-Year Capital Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A death-penalty case that has been in the appeals process for nearly two decades has prompted a judge to deliver sharp criticism of federal defenders for prolonging capital cases.

Neck Injury

Judge Curbs Defense Seeking Multiple Exams of Plaintiff

By Max Mitchell |

Defendants may not require multiple physical examinations of plaintiffs in cases where different doctors treated separate orthopedic conditions, a Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas judge has ruled.

penn state

Dive Into PSU Sanctions Shows Breadth of Judicial Discretion

By Max Mitchell |

A Commonwealth Court decision questioning the consent decree between Penn State and the NCAA that imposed $60 million in monetary sanctions over the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal exemplifies the broad discretion of judges in determining what issues should be considered, attorneys and court watchers told Pennsylvania Law Weekly.

Superior Court Sends Question of Biosolids Use to Jury

By Max Mitchell |

The question of whether or not spreading a fertilizer made from recycled sewage sludge, known as biosoilids, on a York County farm constitutes a "normal agricultural practice" should be left to a jury, the state Superior Court has ruled.

Lawyer/Jury

Court Rules Trust Can't Litigate Without Lawyer

By Max Mitchell |

A trust will follow the same rules as estates and corporations when it comes to determining whether an attorney is required to initiate or fight litigation, an Adams County Court of Common Pleas judge has ruled.

verdicts and settlements

Jury Finds Loose Lug Nuts and Near-Crash Caused Injuries

According to the plaintiffs' pretrial memorandum, on Dec. 14, 2011, Perseberanda Espinal Santos brought her 2002 Ford Explorer to an Aamco Transmission Center in Easton, Pa., that is owned by defendant Zrams Inc.

County Can't Cut Row Offices Without Government Study

By Max Mitchell |

A home rule charter county cannot seek to abolish elected offices and move them to appointed positions without first electing a government study commission to examine the proposed changes, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

© Valeriy-Fotolia

Recusal in Med Mal Case Denied as Attempt to 'Judge Shop'

By Max Mitchell |

A Columbia County Court of Common Pleas judge won't recuse himself from overseeing a medical malpractice suit that involves a man whom the judge had prosecuted in his former role as district attorney.

penn state

Court Slates Hearing on NCAA Sanctions on Penn State

By Max Mitchell |

The Commonwealth Court has called for a hearing on the validity of the $60 million fine that Penn State University agreed to pay to the NCAA under a consent decree.

Divorce decree, gavel and folder shot on warm wooden surface

Judge Seeks to Lessen Child Support That Exceeded Wages

By Max Mitchell |

A Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas judge has attempted to strike a balance between finding a delinquent father in contempt for willfully violating a child support order and being lenient because the payments exceeded the father's earnings.

Cases Transferred Between Firms Not Assets Under UFTA

By Zack Needles |

In a case of first impression, a Lehigh County trial judge has ruled that billable hour and contingency fee matters transferred from one firm to another are not "assets" under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.

Judge Outlines Expert Testimony in Zometa Cases

By Gina Passarella |

A Pennsylvania federal judge has largely followed how other courts have ruled on Daubert motions in tailoring the testimony that will be allowed in three cases against Novartis Pharmaceuticals alleging the drug Zometa caused jawbone necrosis.

Senate Hearing Eyes State Role in Training of Pa. Defenders

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Five decades after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Gideon v. Wainwright decision, Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation that fails to assist counties in fulfilling the ruling's mandate, state Sen. Stewart J. Greenleaf, R-Montgomery, told colleagues Tuesday at a state Capitol hearing on criminal defense for the indigent.

Med Mal Attorney Appeals Nearly $35K in Sanctions

By Max Mitchell |

A White and Williams attorney has filed an appeal of nearly $35,000 in sanctions leveled against him by a Northampton County Court of Common Pleas judge.

'Extreme Sanction' Against Pro Se Plaintiffs in Drilling Suit Denied

By Gina Passarella |

A federal magistrate judge declined to impose the "extreme sanction" of striking revised expert reports filed by plaintiffs who were at times litigating pro se in a case against oil and gas companies over allegations the drilling tainted the plaintiffs' water supply and devalued their land.

Close up of a Smartphone Camera

Trial Court OKs Warrants for iPhones, Facebook

By Zack Needles |

A Lackawanna County trial judge has ruled that search warrants seeking information contained on a homicide suspect's iPhone and Facebook account were not overbroad.

Group of happy business people in a meeting at office

GCs Want Firms to Be Extensions of In-House Departments

By Zack Needles |

The era in which clients viewed outside counsel as wise oracles whose advice was accepted without question is over. Today, in-house lawyers said, they expect outside counsel to act as de facto members of their legal departments, approaching matters in a way that's consistent with their company's business philosophy and strategic goals.

penn state

Spanier Sues Kane in Federal Court to Stop Prosecution

By Max Mitchell |

Ex-Penn State President Graham Spanier has taken to the federal courts to continue battling criminal charges of covering up sex abuse committed by Jerry Sandusky.

Panel Quashes Challenge to Judge's Administrative Duties

By Max Mitchell |

The state Superior Court is the wrong court to hear a challenge regarding a judge's administrative duties, the intermediate court has ruled.

penn state

Spanier Arguments 'Inaccurate,' 'Disparaging,' Prosecutors Say

By Max Mitchell |

Prosecutors have taken strong issue with arguments made by ex-Penn State President Graham Spanier, which they characterized as "inaccurate" and "gratuitously disparaging."

Industrial plant at night

Experts Get Green Light in Federal Coal Plant Lawsuit

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Two expert witnesses, one for a coal-fired power plant and one for the people who allege that it polluted the surrounding area, will be allowed to testify about their air modeling reports, a federal judge has ruled.

Jury box..Photo by Jason Doiy.2-9-11.054-2011

Juror Bias Danger Results in New Medical Malpractice Trial

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A prospective juror in a medical malpractice case may be removed for cause because his or her spouse is a patient of the defendant doctor, five of eight members of a state Superior Court en banc panel agreed.

City Not Liable for Handcuffed Man Crashing Police Cruiser

By Max Mitchell |

A woman will not be able to recover damages from the city of Philadelphia because the police cruiser that rear-ended her was not driven by a police officer, but instead by a handcuffed man in police custody.

Pa. Justices Deny County's Appeal of Injured-Inmate Case

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has decided not to consider whether an inmate can hold a county liable for injuries he suffered due to the alleged negligence of another inmate on a work detail.

Lawyers Say DUI Case Is Novel, Not a Game-Changer

By Zack Needles |

Pennsylvania defense lawyers said the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's refusal to take up an appeal of the Superior Court's ruling that the accuracy of alcohol breath tests in highest-rate DUI cases must be determined at trial has taken much of the steam out of what once looked like it could be a game-changer for DUI law.

documents

No Privilege Protection for Defunct Corporations, Trial Judge Rules

By Zack Needles |

An Allegheny County trial judge has ruled that attorney-client privilege does not extend to corporations that are no longer in business.

Rental Company Not Covered by Lessee's Insurance in Accident Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A construction equipment rental company cannot be indemnified by its lessee's insurer in a case where a man was run over by a track loader that the company rented out, the state Superior Court has ruled in a decision related to a case that had originally resulted in a $20 million verdict.

Directly above photograph of an application for a visa.

U.S. Supreme Court Deals Final Blow to City's Immigration Law

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from the city of Hazleton, Pa., in its bid to save its laws restricting rental housing for illegal immigrants that were struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

U.S. Supreme Court building

High Court Declines To Hear Ciavarella's Appeal of Sentence

By Zack Needles |

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied former Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr.'s petition for appeal of his 28-year sentence for his involvement in the "kids-for-cash" scandal.

Nonprofit University Partner Denied Tax-Exempt Status

By Max Mitchell |

A nonprofit that partnered with a university to construct, lease and operate student housing is not tax-exempt because it does not qualify as a purely public charity, a Monroe County Court of Common Pleas judge has ruled.

chocolate

Chocolate Makers Unwrap Victory in Federal Court

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The makers of three-quarters of America's chocolate—Hershey, Mars and Nestle—got a federal judge in Harrisburg, Pa., to toss 91 cases claiming that the companies fixed prices between 2002 and 2007.

settlement

Pa. Contribution Ban Challenged By Pro-Democratic 'Super PAC'

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A Pennsylvania state law that bars political committees from taking contributions from corporations or organizations, like labor unions, for political purposes is directly at odds with Citizens United, a Washington, D.C.-based "super PAC" argued in its challenge to the measure.

partnership

Owner of Closely Held Corporation Must Use Derivative Action to Sue Director

By Max Mitchell |

An individual owner of a closely held corporation may not directly sue a director over alleged breach of duty to the company, the state Superior Court has ruled, holding that under Pennsylvania law such an action should be pursued as a derivative action on behalf of the corporate entity.

Medical Costs

Delay Damages Apply to Future Medical Expense Awards

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled in a case of first impression that delay damages may be added to jury awards for future medical expenses.

Accident Reenactment Photos Protected From Discovery

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Photographs of an accident reenactment prepared by Predator Trucking LLC and an insurance adjuster's report were each prepared for litigation and are protected from discovery under the work-product exception, U.S. District Judge Sylvia Rambo of the Middle District of Pennsylvania has ruled.

verdicts and settlements

Portable Toilet Products Liability Case Ends in Accord

A man who was rendered quadriplegic when two of his relatives accidentally tipped over the portable toilet he was using in an attempt to play a practical joke on him has settled with the toilet's manufacturer and installer, as well as the two relatives, for a total of $5 million.

operating room

Monroe County Jury Will Hear Emergency C-Section Claim

By Max Mitchell |

Can a cesarean section that was allegedly forced due to a car accident 12 days before it was scheduled be considered a serious bodily injury?

toilet

Toilet-Tipping Prank Results in $5 Mil. Settlement in Sullivan County Court

By Zack Needles |

A man who was rendered quadriplegic when two of his relatives accidentally tipped over the portable toilet he was using in an attempt to play a practical joke on him has settled with the toilet's manufacturer and installer, as well as the two relatives, for a total of $5 million in the Sullivan County Court of Common Pleas.

divorce decree

Installment Land Contract Not 'Sale' Under Separation Agreement

By Zack Needles |

In what it called "a hybrid action raised under a divorce caption, couched in declaratory judgment terms and requesting monetary damages," the Pennsylvania Superior Court found that a divorced couple's separation agreement did not require them to evenly split the down payment they received pursuant to an installment land contract for the sale of their home because the contract itself did not constitute a sale.

criminal defendant

Convicted Defendants Can Still Contest Liability in Civil Cases

By Max Mitchell |

In an issue of apparent first impression, a man convicted of killing his son will have the chance to present comparative negligence arguments in the subsequent wrongful death and survival civil proceedings.

gavel, scale, and law book

Third Circuit Tosses Senior Deputy AG's Retaliation Claim

By Max Mitchell |

A former senior deputy attorney general's case alleging retaliation for exposing alleged financial waste has been thrown out by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Harrisburg

Legal Malpractice, Bad-Faith Case Moved From Phila. to Dauphin

By Max Mitchell |

A firm's reference on its website to an office in Exton, Pa., accommodating "its clients in Philadelphia and the surrounding Delaware Valley" does not show that the firm had enough business in the city to keep a legal malpractice case in Philadelphia courts, the Superior Court has ruled.

Cynthia Baldwin

Question Over Baldwin Testimony Persists in Wake of Ruling

By Max Mitchell |

Despite a ruling denying motions to preclude Cynthia Baldwin, the former Penn State general counsel, from testifying against three ex-university administrators in a criminal case stemming from the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal, the question of whether she will ever take the stand is still very much up in the air.

Judge Awards Family Of Man Killed in Auto Accident

The family of a man who died in a fiery crash on Interstate 78 has been awarded a verdict of $2.2 million in a nonjury proceeding before a federal judge in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

School BUs

Students Entitled to Bus Service at Both Parents' Homes

By Zack Needles |

The Commonwealth Court has ruled in a case of first impression that a school district is required under Pennsylvania's Public School Code to provide a student whose parents are divorced or separated with bus transportation to and from separate stops near each parent's home, even if they're both located in the same district.

Justices Will Not Hear Case Over Electricity Supply Sources

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has declined to take up a case over whether electricity distribution companies may purchase default electricity generation service for their customers from a single source.

gavel

Federal Judge Puts Girl on Boys' Wrestling Team

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A junior high school girl who was barred from joining a scholastic boys' wrestling team has won a preliminary injunction against her Harrisburg, Pa.-area school district in federal court.

Fed. Judge Awards $161K in Attorney Fees in Drilling Case

By Zack Needles |

A federal judge has awarded about $161,000 in attorney fees to an environmental conservation organization that refused to allow oil and gas drilling on a tract of land it sold to another environmental conservation organization.

Bucks Jury Clears Doctor in Heart Disease Death

James F. Ivers Jr., as administrator of the estate of his wife, Teresa D. Ivers, sued doctors Joseph Kipp, Lisa E. Miller and Vanita Treat, along with the Village of Newtown Medical Center, Richboro Family Care Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Medical Specialists Association and Holy Redeemer Health System after Teresa Ivers was found unresponsive in a parking lot.

Luzerne Jury Awards $540,000 in Botched- Circumcision Case

On May 5, 2009, plaintiff Shirlee Miller delivered her first child, Robert West, at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. On the third day of hospitalization, West underwent a circumcision procedure, which was performed by Dr. Govindbhai Kachhadiya, according to the plaintiffs' pretrial memorandum.

gavel

House Arrest Not 'Incarceration' Under Unemployment Law

By Max Mitchell |

A man under house arrest will be eligible for unemployment benefits after the Commonwealth Court ruled that house arrest does not qualify as "incarceration" under the Unemployment Compensation Law.

lynn

Lynn Decision May Complicate Prosecution of PSU Officials

By Max Mitchell |

A recent ruling in the state Superior Court could narrow the chances of conviction for three former Penn State administrators accused of covering up sexual abuse perpetrated by Jerry Sandusky, according to several attorneys who spoke with the Law Weekly.

Judge Bars, for Now, Testimony in Penn State Hearing

By Mark Scolforo |

A judge on Tuesday directed prosecutors and lawyers for three former Penn State administrators to make their cases in writing as he weighs claims that the defendants' legal rights were so badly violated that charges they covered up child sex-abuse allegations should be thrown out.

Police Must Meet Tow Threshold Before Inventory Search

By Max Mitchell |

Lawfully immobilizing a vehicle on a finding its driver is unlicensed does not provide reason to perform an inventory search, a divided state Supreme Court has ruled.

Ciavarella

Judge Finds Ciavarella Liable for Nonjudicial Conduct

By Zack Needles |

A federal judge has ruled that former Luzerne County Judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. is liable for nonjudicial conduct that deprived juveniles of their right to an impartial tribunal.

$2.2 Mil. Verdict in Federal Case Stemming From Fatal Crash

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The family of a man who died in a fiery crash on Interstate 78 has been awarded a verdict of $2.2 million in a nonjury proceeding before a federal judge in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Justices Say Child's Videotaped Testimony Admissible

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that a young girl's videotaped statement that her father sexually abused her is admissible.

Shares Tax Excludes Out-of-State Banks' Pre-Merger Assets

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld the First Union rule, which provides that when an entity is formed through the combination of a Pennsylvania bank and an out-of-state bank, the out-of-state bank's pre-merger value is not to be factored into the six-year average share value calculation under the shares tax provision of the Pennsylvania Tax Reform Code.

Could Baldwin's Role Doom Case Against PSU Officials?

By Max Mitchell |

If three ex-Penn State administrators facing charges stemming from failing to properly deal with reports of child sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky are found to have appeared before a grand jury without proper advice of counsel, their testimony could be incurably affected and even tossed, several white-collar defense attorneys have said.

Employer's Lawyer Can't Have Ex Parte Contact With Employee Docs

By Zack Needles |

The Commonwealth Court has ruled that an employer's attorney is not entitled to have ex parte contact with a workers' compensation claimant's treating physicians, even if those physicians are employees.

Circumstantial Evidence May Authenticate E-Communications

By Max Mitchell |

Circumstantial evidence may establish the authenticity of disputed text messages and emails, a Lebanon County judge has ruled, even without direct evidence.

Justices Rule Irrevocable Trust Is Not a Will Substitute

By Zack Needles |

The state Supreme Court has ruled that while an irrevocable trust can be a living trust under the Realty Transfer Tax Act, a trust that provides for distributions to beneficiaries other than the settlor before the settlor's death does not qualify.

Sunshine Act Permits Closed-Door Informational Meetings

By Zack |

The state Supreme Court has refused to issue a bright-line ruling banning government agencies from conducting closed-door meetings for information-gathering purposes under the state's Sunshine Act.

Drunken Driver Settles Dram Shop Action With Bars

By Gina Passarella |

Plaintiff Jason Mercado settled for $5.65 million with Pub 570 of East Stroudsburg, Pa., and for $950,000 with Sticks N Stones Bar & Grill of East Stroudsburg. He became quadriplegic after driving drunkenly and crashing his car into a tree.

Jury Finds No Evidence of Phantom Vehicle in UM Case

On April 15, 2009, plaintiff Alexander Umana, 35, a lawn care salesman, was preparing to make a left turn at the intersection of Shillington Road and Revere Boulevard in Berks County, the plaintiff's pretrial memorandum said

Settlement Reached Following Worker's Degloving Injury

An aluminum production factory worker who suffered a degloving and partial amputation of several fingers after his hand was sucked into a paint applicator machine has agreed to settle his claim with the machine's alleged manufacturer and installer for $800,000.

Renounced Money From Trust Counts as Medicaid Offset

By Max Mitchell |

A woman's decision to renounce money obtained through the dispersal of a trust can be considered a transfer of assets that can affect her eligibility for Medicaid's medical assistance long-term care program, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

Renounced Money From Trust Counts as Medicaid Offset

By Max Mitchell |

A woman's decision to renounce money obtained through the dispersal of a trust can be considered a transfer of assets that can affect her eligibility for Medicaid's medical assistance long-term care program, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

Jones Denies Interlocutory Appeal in Gay-Marriage Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The first challenge brought against Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage won't take a detour to the Third Circuit.

Court Finds Judge Improperly Issued Permanent Injunction

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled that a trial judge erred when he issued a permanent injunction immediately following a preliminary injunction hearing.

For Schutjer Bogar, Bankruptcy Was 'Best Thing'

By Zack Needles |

When the principals of Harrisburg-based firm Schutjer Bogar spoke to The Legal in February, the mood was somber and the future of the firm was bleak.

Worker Fired for Cornrows Wins Discrimination Suit

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A housekeeper at a hotel in the Poconos who was fired after wearing her hair in cornrows won $25,000 in damages after she brought a racial discrimination case.

Judge Allows Insurer's 'Bad-Faith Setup' Defense

By Zack Needles |

A federal judge has allowed an insurer to move forward with its affirmative defense alleging the attorneys for the plaintiff in an automobile accident case perpetrated a "bad faith setup" in an attempt to garner a punitive damages award.

Bid for Girls' Wrestling League Tossed

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A federal judge closed the door to the possibility of a statewide women's wrestling league when he denied the Pennsylvania Wrestling Club's bid to intervene in a civil rights action filed by a junior high student who is barred from joining her school's all-boys wrestling team.

Pa. Supreme Court Eyes Forum Issue in Legal Mal Case

By Max Mitchell |

Moving a legal malpractice case from Philadelphia to Dauphin County would require the state Supreme Court to relax the standards of forum non conveniens to such a degree that case transfers would become the norm throughout the state, the plaintiffs counsel in Bratic v. Rubendall argued before the high court Tuesday.

No First Amendment Right for Online Impersonators

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled that online commenters have no constitutional right to falsely attribute nonsatirical postings to someone with a direct connection to the subject matter.

Jury Finds for Defense in Auto Accident

By Max Mitchell |

A Pike County jury found that a passenger of a vehicle involved in a collision on snow-covered roads did not suffer serious injuries as a result of the accident.

Jury Screening Question Highlights Supreme Court Arguments

By Max Mitchell |

A case that promises to have lasting effects on the state's statutory employer law is expected to highlight the state Supreme Court's oral argument session that kicks off today in Harrisburg.