News

Central PA

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.