News

Central PA

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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-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, gavel and folder shot on warm wooden surface

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Firm Settles With Former Client, Attorney for No Money

By Zack Needles |

After losing what was at the time its largest client and going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Harrisburg-based firm Schutjer Bogar & Bartel has settled litigation against the client and one of the firm's former attorneys, with no money changing hands.

Freeh Fires Back at Spanier's Notice of Defamation Claim

By Max Mitchell |

Louis Freeh, who led an investigation into Penn State's handling of child sex-abuse reports in the Jerry Sandusky scandal, has fired back at former university President Graham Spanier's writ of summons paving the way for a potential defamation suit.

$2.5 Mil. Settlement Proposed in Kids-for-Cash Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Youths who were locked up in the Luzerne County "kids-for-cash" scandal have filed a joint proposal for a $2.5 million settlement with the facilities in which they were sentenced to serve time.

In NCAA Case, No Standing for Sponsor Of Endowment Act

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

State Senator Jake Corman, R-Centre, can't intervene in litigation between the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Corbett administration over sanctions leveled against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal, a federal judge has ruled.

Middle School Principal's Text Did Not Breach Confidentiality

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A middle school principal should not have been suspended for sharing news of her exoneration in a school district investigation related to a harassment complaint because she was not obligated by district policy to keep the exoneration confidential, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

Justices Rule Railroad Must Share Costs of Bridge Removal

By Max Mitchell |

The Public Utility Commission has the power to charge a railroad company for demolishing a structure near the railroad line that the company uses but does not own, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

Medical Center Settles Wrongful-Death Claim for $2.4 Mil.

By Max Mitchell |

Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center recently agreed to settle a medical malpractice wrongful-death suit for $2.4 million in Dauphin County. The plaintiff alleged that the hospital failed to properly diagnose a woman's vulvar cancer.

Pa. Superior Court Upholds Sandusky Conviction

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has denied serial sex-abuser Jerry Sandusky's bid for a new trial.

Sale of Bath Salts Doesn't Warrant Punitives Against Store Owner

By Max Mitchell |

A plaintiff may not seek punitive damages against a store owner for selling synthetic compounds commonly referred to as bath salts, even if the seller knows the buyer may use the substance in a harmful way, a Monroe County Court of Common Pleas judge has ruled.

Justices to Mull Idle, Unheard Threat in Parole Violation Case

By Max Mitchell |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to hear argument on whether threatening to kill a man and feed him to pigs constitutes assaultive behavior if the threats were not communicated to the intended target and no actions were taken to implement the threats.

Lehigh Co. Jury Sides With Mother, Child In Med Mal Case

A Lehigh County jury has awarded more than $4 million to a mother who suffered a vaginal laceration and whose daughter suffered a severe brain injury during delivery.

County Must Answer Allegations of Inmate Negligence

By Max Mitchell |

An inmate on a work detail can be considered a public employee, the Commonwealth Court has ruled, in a decision that could open the door to liability against a government entity for injuries that may stem from these work assignments.

Pa. Justices to Mull Applicability of DUI Sentencing Laws

By Max Mitchell |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will consider whether a provision that guides sentencing defendants convicted of driving under the influence is mandatory, or if it is an optional provision that can be disregarded at the court's discretion.

Judge Bumps Up Lodestar by 50 Percent in Awarding Fees

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A federal judge had sweeping praise for a million-dollar settlement, a third of which went to attorney fees, in a Fair Labor Standards Act suit that was based on an unusual and complex employment contract.

Powell Law Firm Must Pay Back Defaulted Loans, Court Rules

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The law firm of one the key figures in the Luzerne County "kids-for-cash" scandal - attorney and businessman Robert J. Powell - must pay back multiple business loans plus interest and attorney fees, totaling in the millions, as a result of the loans going into default, the state Superior Court has ruled.

GMAC Lawyers Hit With Sanctions in Dealership Litigation

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A federal judge has imposed sanctions on lawyers for GMAC, the bank that acts as the financial-services arm of General Motors that is now called Ally Financial, as requested by a pair of now-defunct car dealerships that had won a $4 million jury verdict in 2009 against the bank.

Using GPS While Driving Could Warrant Punitive Damages

By Zack Needles |

A Lackawanna County trial judge has ruled in a case of first impression that a driver who gets in an accident while using a GPS device may be found liable for reckless indifference and subject to punitive damages, but only if the plaintiff can prove the driver had completely diverted his or her attention away from the road.

Jury Sides With Accused Instigator Of Parking Lot Fight

By Kelly Flynn |

A Dauphin County jury has ruled in favor of the alleged instigator of a parking-lot altercation that resulted from a long-standing feud between the two involved men.

Judge Enters Verdict, Including Punitives, Against Insurer

By Zack Needles |

A Lackawanna County trial judge has awarded a couple more than $2 million, including nearly $1.6 million in punitive damages, finding that an insurer's failure to timely process a title insurance claim constituted bad faith.

Justices Redefine Guardian Ad Litem Duties

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision earlier this month to alter the role of guardians ad litem in new procedural rules for custody cases should bring clarity to the role, several family law veterans said.

Corbett's Press Secretary to Join Harrisburg PR Firm

By John L. Kennedy |

Governor Tom Corbett's top spokesman is leaving to join a private communications firm in Harrisburg.

Lawyers Say Sandusky Cases Beginning to Settle With PSU

By Amaris Elliott-Engel and Zack Needles |

A 25-year-old has settled with Penn State for an undisclosed amount for the sexual abuse he experienced at the age of 13 by convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky in a shower, according to the plaintiff's lawyer, Tom Kline of Kline & Specter.

Lackawanna Judge Orders Hospital to Turn Over Event Reports

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A Lackawanna County judge has ruled that a hospital's event reports relating to a medical malpractice case are not immune from discovery.

Trucking Company Settles with Plaintiff In Accident Case

A disputed motor vehicle accident case between plaintiffs Aida and Max Gorman and defendant Robert O. Sharpe Jr., a driver with Northeast Transport Inc., ended in a settlement of $1.1 million.

Harassment Ruling On Facebook Post Is Upheld by Court

By Amaris Elliott-Engel |

Posting a sexually insulting comment on the Facebook social media network constitutes the crime of harassment, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled in upholding a teenage woman's criminal conviction.

Third Circuit Rules for Student Speech in 'I ♥ Boobies' Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Public schools don't have free rein to ban speech that they deem to be offensive, especially if the speech comments on a social issue, the Third Circuit ruled in a split en banc opinion in a case brought by two Easton middle school students who were suspended after wearing breast-cancer awareness bracelets that said "I ♥ boobies."

As Board OKs Sandusky Accords, What's Next in Coverage Fight?

By Ben Present |

The legal troubles faced by Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal took a big turn last month when reports surfaced that the university's board of trustees has agreed to pay $60 million to resolve a majority of claims Sandusky's accusers made against the school.