My advice to lawyers and CPAs is to prepare your clients for the prospect of a business divorce. A business relationship is no different than a marital one; people change, circumstances change, and people grow (and don't grow) in different directions. And by "preparing for a business divorce," I am referring to the need to create an operating agreement from the outset of a business relationship to address the following issues, if and when they arise.
Former Penn State University President Graham Spanier made good Wednesday on his long-promised defamation suit against Louis Freeh over the Freeh report's allegations that Spanier dragged his feet in addressing sex-abuse claims against Jerry Sandusky.
Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Robert J. Colville announced Tuesday that he plans to forgo fundraising in his run for a seat on the Superior Court.
In the matter of M.P. v. M.P., 54 A.3d 950, the Pennsylvania Superior Court clarified the extent of authority of a parent who enjoys sole legal custody over a child.
With 2014 dubbed the "year of the data breach," questions loom over corporations for 2015: When will it happen to us? Are our security measures adequate? Will we be prepared for the fallout? The law is hurrying to keep up with the rapid pace of these leaks and attacks, and it is difficult to predict how data breach scenarios will play out in the future. Here is a snapshot of what we might expect to see this year in this area of the law.
The Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board has filed charges against Philadelphia Municipal Court Judges Dawn Segal and Joseph J. O'Neill and former Municipal Court Judge Joseph Waters for their alleged roles in fixing cases for campaign donors of Waters.
The Legal will be presenting a group of Pennsylvania luminaries with Lifetime Achievement Awards this year. Our focus in selecting this group of noteworthy individuals was to represent the figures who have helped to shape the law in Pennsylvania, whether through their work on the bench, assisting those in need of legal services, building a firm or any other means. We sought to honor attorneys who have had a distinct impact on the legal profession in the state.
Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams got out of a suit challenging a new state law that forbids convicts from causing "mental anguish" to victims by speaking about the crime, but Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane wasn't let out.
Philadelphia businessman and political fundraiser Samuel G. Kuttab has pleaded guilty to his role in the case-fixing scheme perpetrated by former Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Joseph Waters.
As part of The Legal's upcoming Professional Excellence Awards supplement, the three finalists for Attorney of the Year have been named.
Attorneys for a Philadelphia death-row inmate who was granted a reprieve from Gov. Tom Wolf last week have asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to deny a request by the city's district attorney to nullify the reprieve.
The judge presiding over an unsettled civil suit against convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky has defended his decision to keep the case in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
Law firm human resources departments and associate development professionals are often tasked with teaching corporate counsel what great client service really means to general counsel and in-house counsel. Having attended many general counsel programs over the years, I have broken down the qualities of a great lawyer who provides great client service into nine attributes.
A mediation yesterday in a discrimination suit brought by a law professor against Duquesne University was unsuccessful, according to a filing in the case by the mediator.
Even with all the focus on fraud, many businesses are still not effectively evaluating and responding to their fraud risk. There is still a mindset from many management and business owners that fraud happens at other businesses, not theirs. This very mindset can enhance the opportunity for fraudulent activity to occur at a business. If management and owners are not considering fraud, they may be sending the impression to a potential fraudster that there is a limited chance of getting caught, increasing the likelihood of fraud.
Pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 227.1, the parties to a case must file post-trial motions before filing an appeal after the trial or risk waiver of issues on appeal. Although the rule reflects longstanding and standard procedure, evidently there has been some dispute as to what precisely triggers the application of the rule, and that is the issue raised and ruled upon in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court case of Newman Development Group of Pottstown v. Genuardi’s Family Markets, 617 Pa. 265.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane today outlined the arguments she is expected to make when her challenge to the authority of the grand jury investigation that eventually recommended she face criminal charges is heard before the state Supreme Court.
Each year, we at The Legal take a look back at all the lateral moves in Pennsylvania in an effort to determine the 10 most important lateral hires of the previous year. Profiles of the top laterals and details about each move will be included in our Top Lateral Hires of 2014 supplement, scheduled to be published in The Legal on Feb. 24.
The Legal is seeking nominations for its 2015 Best Legal Departments contest, honoring the best in-house legal departments in Pennsylvania. Nominations can come from anyone. In last year's Best Legal Departments, published as part of the Professional Excellence Awards supplement, we honored departments in categories such as Community Service, Diversity, Innovation, In-House Management and Litigation.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane's lawyer blasted Thursday's release of a grand jury report that outlined findings leading the grand jury members to recommend that she face criminal charges in connection with allegedly leaking grand jury secrets.
The grand jury that recommended Attorney General Kathleen Kane be charged criminally for allegedly leaking grand jury secrets has also recommended that the state General Assembly create a crime-fraud exception to the Shield Law for journalists.
Major retailers, including Urban Outfitters, JCPenney, Apple and CVS, breathed a sigh of relief last month as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that warehouse employee time spent passing through security screenings is noncompensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act, in Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, No. 13-433.
The CEO and chairman of the board at NOVA Bank were indicted on Friday for attempting to defraud the government’s TARP—Troubled Asset Relief Program—to the tune of $13 million, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia.
Last spring, The Legal took the opportunity to honor some of the most important figures in the history of the legal profession in Pennsylvania with Lifetime Achievement Awards, and to single out an Attorney of the Year, whose work in the previous year had a distinct impact on the law and the profession in the state.
The NCAA's bid to have its dispute over a $60 million penalty it levied against Penn State University aired in federal court has been tossed.
In order to have a successful relationship with your law firm employer, it is important to understand the firm's organizational culture. Simply put, culture is the way a law firm does things, how the members of the firm think, feel and act.
Gov.-elect Tom Wolf has named Philadelphia attorney Denise Smyler to lead the Pennsylvania Office of General Counsel. Wolf also said Thursday that Harrisburg attorney Pedro Cortes is his pick for secretary of State.
The trial over whether a $60 million sanction against Penn State University should go to the NCAA or into state coffers has been pushed back nearly a month.
Did you know that the United States is the only developed country not to offer paid maternity leave as part of a federal policy? I certainly didn't.
After pleading guilty to accepting a $2,000 Tiffany bracelet as a bribe, former Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Thomasine Tynes has been sentenced to prison.
In your capacity as a corporate or transactional attorney, you have probably represented clients seeking your advice about the sale of their business. The first, and most important, question to ask: Is the business ready for sale? Business owners often decide to sell before they give thought about preparing for the sale.
Jane C. Orie, former state senator and sister of former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, has been disbarred on consent in Pennsylvania.
Many people play poker for fun with friends or competitively, but if one wishes to organize a league, tournament or a game that is more than simply a few hands of cards among friends, one must ensure he does not run afoul of the law. If one is interested in organizing a formal poker game, be sure to consider the below when doing so.
A Potter County judge has denied Pepper Hamilton's motion to preclude documents related to the creation of the Freeh report from the suit between the family of Joe Paterno and the NCAA.
During the 2014 Philadelphia Bar Association Bench-Bar Annual Conference in Atlantic City, N.J., the law practice management committee hosted "Creating and Maintaining a Diverse and Inclusive Law Practice for All."
A day after a group of lawyers and a state senator called for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and Attorney General's Office to disclose the substance of some 4,000 emails between the two bodies, a court reform organization has called for a special master to conduct a review.
The state Supreme Court has named Judge Margaret T. Murphy as the new administrative judge of the First Judicial District's Family Division, taking over for Administrative Judge Kevin Dougherty.
Major retailers including Amazon, Urban Outfitters, JCPenney, Apple and CVS are watching with extreme interest as the U.S. Supreme Court deliberates Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, which involves claims of unpaid wages associated with hourly warehouse employees' time spent in security screening lines at the end of work shifts.
As the world now eyes the newest case of Ebola in the United States with a New York doctor contracting the illness, Reed Smith has been advising a range of clients on a host of legal questions stemming from Ebola.
Diversity was a big topic at this year's Philadelphia Bar Association Bench-Bar Annual Conference in Atlantic City, N.J. As the chair of the law practice management committee, I had the privilege to host "Creating and Maintaining a Diverse and Inclusive Law Practice for All."
A Lancaster, Pa.-based thermal technology company is settling False Claims Act allegations for $965,000, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia.
Former state Sen. Robert J. Mellow, who is a defendant in the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission corruption case, has been nolle prossed.
Dilworth Paxson has added Thomas S. Wyatt as a partner in the firm’s corporate and business department.
The uptick in wage-and-hour litigation has been well documented over the years. The reasons for the prevalence of such litigation vary, with some blaming politicians looking to score points with unions and others pointing fingers at overzealous plaintiffs attorneys. The economic downturn and stalled recovery for many in this country is also a likely contributing factor in the rising volume of such legal actions. Regardless of the reasons, the fact remains that this nation has federal and state laws in place that govern employee pay.
Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo E. Strine Jr. said in a speech this afternoon at Temple University's Beasley School of Law that judges must avoid political pressures to dispense justice equitably.
According to a recent article by the Washington Post, as of August, the Federal Trade Commission has brought 57 cases against companies over data security. This year, there has been a particularly heavy focus on privacy and security with respect to mobile apps.
A Philadelphia court administrator who according to officials stole $78,000 from the system, has been formally charged by the city District Attorney's Office.
In business and in life, we often are tasked with planning menus and serving food for events. That could include anything from events for our children’s sports teams to office lunches, holiday gatherings or special occasions. At Furia Rubel, we’ve noticed that event planners often fail to ask one of the most important questions: Are there any food allergies of which we should be aware?
Former football players who have questioned the terms of the settlement reached this summer with the NFL over head injuries asked the federal judge handling the case to push back the deadline for opting out of the settlement.
With the regulatory changes created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, many physician practices are considering whether this is the time to rethink the business of health care by either bringing in strategic or financial partners or aligning with health care institutions.
A Centre County judge said he will allow to proceed the lawsuit by the estate of Joe Paterno against the NCAA, but with 16 former plaintiffs stripped from the case.
As every lawyer knows, the statute of limitations is the death knell for any case if the deadline it sets to bring a lawsuit is missed.
The widow of a police officer shot and killed in the line of duty has sued the gun shop purportedly responsible for selling to a straw purchaser the firearm that killed the officer.
DLA Piper has named Carl M. Buchholz as the new office managing partner in Philadelphia.
The Office of General Counsel has hired Ballard Spahr to represent it in defending a lawsuit by the owners of proposed Foxwoods Casino, who are trying to recover the $50 million application fee paid to open a casino in Philadelphia.
More than a month after his exoneration on fraud charges related to the Philadelphia Traffic Court ticket-fixing case, Chester County Magisterial District Judge Mark Bruno's judicial suspension has been lifted.
DLA Piper's Philadelphia office has fluctuated over the years when it comes to attorney head count, with about 40 lawyers of the firm's 4,000 attorneys currently working in the city.
Eight months after Duane Morris announced plans to create a Shanghai office, the office has formally opened for business, the firm has announced.
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.
Graham Spanier would like to be able to look into the state citizenship of Louis B. Freeh and his former firm to see if attempts to remove Spanier's possible defamation case to federal court pass the diversity test.
Growing up in Scottsdale, Ariz., where there are countless beautifully manicured golf courses and endless sunshine, one would assume that I would know even a little bit about the game of golf. To the contrary, I did not have the slightest idea how to hold a golf club, much less how to execute a successful swing. I convinced myself that, as a young associate, I was too busy to take on a hobby as challenging, complex and detail-focused as golf. To the contrary, golf is exactly what I have been searching for to serve as a relaxing counterbalance to the demands of my professional life.
Earlier this summer, The Legal asked the Pennsylvania legal community to submit nominations for our annual Lawyers on the Fast Track. The nominations came pouring in, dozens upon dozens of them, all demonstrating the impressive work being done by young lawyers across the state. These are the 2014 Lawyers on the Fast Track.
The entrepreneurs we counsel frequently ask what they can do to protect their ideas from being poached. They want to know whether they have contractual rights to their ideas and whether there is any paperwork they should use to protect their rights, particularly in conversations with investors. A nondisclosure agreement, or NDA, while necessary in some instances, may not be effective or appropriate in the early or even middle stages of a business relationship between an entrepreneur and an investor.
Signaling that the National Collegiate Athletic Association and state officials are hashing out a settlement regarding the $60 million penalty the NCAA levied against Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal, both sides are seeking to postpone proceedings in federal court.
A Philadelphia judge has dismissed former Philadelphia Housing Authority executive director Carl R. Greene's defamation suit against two newspapers.
Ballard Spahr has added a real estate practice to its year-old New York City office with the addition of the former general counsel of real estate investment firm The Ashforth Co.
The NAACP has defeated the city of Philadelphia's policies—both written and unwritten—for advertising in the airport.
Another law firm representing former NFL players in the litigation over head injuries has asked the federal judge handling the case to make the data underpinning the recently reached settlement available to all of the dozens of lawyers in the case.
A federal judge in Philadelphia has denied the motion to dismiss racketeering charges filed by five of the 10 Ironworkers union members who were indicted in February for allegedly intimidating people into using union labor.
As a legal marketer, I am constantly reading articles for lawyers about business development. Common titles are "Biz Dev for Lawyers," "How to Be a Law Firm Rainmaker," "How to Bring Business to Your Law Firm," "Using Social Media to Grow Your Book of Business," and so on. While everyone is pushing the acquisition of new business, how about focusing on the low-hanging fruit–the clients who already trust you with their business.
The co-owner of two juvenile detention facilities at the heart of the "kids-for-cash" judicial corruption scandal in Luzerne County has sued the other co-owner, that person's former law firm and several others in a RICO action alleging he has suffered millions in damages because of the defendants' alleged wrongdoing.
Tucker Arensberg has added a former Mifflin County Court of Common Pleas president judge, causing the firm to revive its inactive outpost in Lewistown, Pa.
Cheryl Krause has been confirmed to the Third Circuit by a unanimous vote of the Senate on Monday night.
A dispute has erupted in Paterno v. National Collegiate Athletic Association over which documents can be disclosed to the public.
The first group of objectors has emerged to the revised proposed settlement in the NFL concussion litigation.
After questions arose from former state prosecutors and the Pennsylvania State Police commissioner regarding two victims of Jerry Sandusky being abused in late 2009, state Attorney General Kathleen Kane has indicated she misspoke.
One of the most basic legal principles is that statutes of limitations establish the timeframes in which a civil suit can be brought in a given case and any attempt to bring suit outside of that timeframe will inevitably result in the case being dismissed. For example, the statute of limitations for a personal injury matter is two years from the date the injury is, or should be, discovered, and, for the most part, bringing a personal injury matter beyond that two-year deadline will be cause to dismiss the claim.
The weather has broken, and with warmer weather comes the summer business season. In past blogs, I have discussed employee theft and general red flags related to this problem. In this blog, let’s focus on red flags of employee theft, specifically in retail environments.
RPRS Gaming, a minority owner in Philadelphia's SugarHouse Casino that includes among its investors attorneys Richard A. Sprague, Thomas Sprague, William Lamb and Stephen A. Cozen, has lost a battle to stop a second casino from being licensed in the city.
Procedural questions continue to arise regarding a trial court's ability to modify its orders. In general, a trial court, upon notice to the parties, may modify or rescind any order within 30 days after its entry, as long as no appeal from such order has been taken or allowed. This 30-day limitation is jurisdictional and cannot be waived by the parties, as in Borough of Media v. County of Delaware, 82 A.3d 509, 512 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2013), citing Maurice A. Nernberg & Associates v. Coyne, 920 A.2d 967, 970 n.7 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2007).
Trial has been set to begin early next year in the case involving the $60 million penalty the National Collegiate Athletic Association levied against Penn State University for its handling of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
It is an honor when your talents are respected enough that you are asked to serve on the board of directors for an organization. Your ego gets a little larger when you reflect on the fact that someone is asking you to be a steward for their organization. It is truly one of the highest compliments you can receive–as they are, in so many words, saying, "Please help me run my business."
Earlier this year, we asked law firms across the state to tell us what makes their litigation departments the best. We first conducted the Litigation Departments of the Year contest two years ago, in an effort to highlight the outstanding litigation work being done by Pennsylvania attorneys. In our first time going through the process, we were impressed by the submissions and faced a difficult task in selecting the finalists and winners. This time around, it was only more challenging to narrow down the firms to honor.
National Penn Bancshares was advised by Reed Smith attorneys in its deal announced Wednesday to purchase TF Financial Corp. for $138 million.
I cannot begin to tell you how often we start to work with clients on a website project, only to find out that their URLs were registered by the website development company, paid for by the website development company and are even controlled by the website development company. This is bad business.
A typical unemployment compensation matter is rather straightforward. The employer pays the unemployment compensation tax for each employee and the employee, if separated from employment through no fault of his or her own and if he or she has worked sufficient benefit weeks, applies for and receives benefits. This fairly typical scenario is significantly different when the employer is a not-for-profit entity.
It seems on almost a daily basis new allegations of fraud surface in the media. No surprise, given that all businesses are vulnerable to fraud. A fraud allegation is a serious issue and fraudulent behavior can create a multitude of problems for the company. These allegations should be probed and scrutinized, with the focus of the investigation being to identify information that supports or disproves the fraud allegations.
Can you say you are a lawyer if you haven't passed the bar?
The state Supreme Court has agreed that a person who, according to an appeals court opinion, threatened to "kill" a man and "feed him to the pigs" had engaged in assaultive behavior, even when the threats were not communicated to the intended target and no actions were taken to implement the threats.
Who among us in litigation doesn't welcome a good challenge? A way to think differently and a way to be strategic about how jurors will perceive a case from start to finish? Diversity in your trial teams offers just that. Being mindful about who your trial partners will be as you prepare the case and as you ultimately present it can bring that welcome—and valuable—challenge. Bringing our differences together forces us to process information more completely and consider perspectives we couldn't see so clearly without someone unlike us to point them out. Those are the challenges that can make trial teams stronger.
Robert K. Mericle, the builder of the two private juvenile detention facilities at the center of the Luzerne County "kids-for-cash" scandal, was sentenced Friday to one year in prison.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an order Friday accepting former state Sen. Vincent Fumo's resignation from the state bar.
How do you maximize productivity of staff that utilizes text messaging or instant messaging as the "normal" means of communication? Do you try to eliminate texting from the workplace? Or do you accept it as the reality of a younger generation and instead try to manage the impact to productivity and to the culture of the firm?
More than 1,100 professionals recently attended the Legal Marketing Association's annual conference (Twitter hashtag #LMA14) to collaborate, contemplate and commiserate about the opportunities and challenges inherent in legal marketing.
Danielle Ross, once Lackawanna County's sole guardian ad litem, was sentenced Wednesday to one year in prison after pleading guilty to a single count of attempted tax evasion, according to her attorney and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
In Garcia v. Google, a recently decided U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit case that has divided copyright scholars, plaintiff Cindy Garcia agreed to play a small part in what she was told would be an adventure film called "Desert Warriors." She was given four pages of the script, which pertained to her performance, but did not see the rest of the script. Sometime later, "The Innocence of Muslims," an anti-Islamic film, was released, featuring Garcia's performance with a voiceover in which she appeared to grossly denigrate the name of the prophet Muhammad. The video received substantial play on YouTube, inciting violent protests worldwide. Garcia began to receive death threats so serious she was forced to move.
Yesterday's ruling from the Commonwealth Court calling into question the $60 million fine that Penn State University agreed to pay the NCAA under a consent decree was "entirely without basis," an official with the NCAA said.
The federal suit ex-Penn State President Graham Spanier filed earlier this week seeking to have the prosecution against him dropped is barred by the abstention doctrine, state Attorney General Kathleen Kane said in court papers yesterday.