Latest News

gevel in a courtroom

Forced Aid to Terrorists Still Bars Asylum

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The bar on asylum to those who have given material support to a terrorist organization doesn't distinguish between voluntary and forced support, the Third Circuit has ruled in a case of first impression.

Judge Certifies False Claims Act Retaliation Issue

By Max Mitchell |

A federal judge has certified for immediate appeal the first impression issue of whether anti-retaliation provisions in the False Claims Act apply to an employee who filed a whistleblower suit against a former, unrelated employer.

Runners start the Philadelphia Bar Association’s 36th annual 5K Run/Walk after Chancellor Albert S. Dandridge III fires the starting gun.

Phila. Bar 5K Event Brings Out Judges, Children and Lawyers

By Manny D. Pokotilow |

On May 17, the 36th annual Philadelphia Bar Association 5K Run/Walk benefiting the Support Center for Child Advocates was held at Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. Approximately 1,200 people participated in the 5K Run/Walk, the 1 Mile Dash, the Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney Kids' Dash and the Caesar Rivise Team Competition.

Class Status Denied in Health Care Data Breach

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A Philadelphia judge has refused to certify a proposed class of roughly 200,000 individuals whose personal and health information was stored on a flash drive and allegedly lost by their health insurance companies.

Unraveling the Mysteries of 'Additional Insured' Rights

By John N. Ellison and Miranda A. Jannuzzi |

The legal status and rights of an "additional insured" are among the most misunderstood and incorrectly used concepts in the law. The Texas Supreme Court recently analyzed issues surrounding this concept and offered some guidance for those involved in transactions requiring the extension of additional insured rights and obligations. While each state has its own rules and requirements on this subject, the Texas court's guidelines can provide useful guidance to those who are looking to correctly provide this status to another party or obtain it themselves.

Joseph J. Connolly, Stevens & Lee Partner, Dies at 73

Joseph J. Connolly, a Philadelphia attorney with Stevens & Lee, died May 22 at the age of 73.

The Washington Redskins Might Be Getting Trademark Help

By Lawrence E. Ashery |

"I'll never change the name of the Redskins. You have my word on that." — Daniel Snyder, current owner of the Washington Redskins.

<b>REAL WORLD:</b> Students confer in Labaton’s New York office.

Law School Clinics Providing Unique Focus for Students

By Karen Sloan |

Enrolling in a clinical course wasn't an option when Joel Bernstein was a student at Brooklyn Law School in the early 1970s—lectures and seminars dominated the curriculum.

Richard Posner.

Circuits Are Split on Identifying Case Panels

By Zoe Tillman |

Judge Frank Easterbrook of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit prefers the element of surprise. At least for oral arguments.

National News

National News From The Legal Intelligencer

To view national news articles published in the print edition of The Legal Intelligencer, please click here.

People in the News - May 27, 2015 - Phila. Bar Meeting

This month's Philadelphia Bar Association board of governors meeting is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the 10th-floor boardroom at the bar association.

After Primary, No Chance of Racial Diversity on High Court

By Lizzy McLellan |

Pennsylvania's overwhelmingly white appellate court system saw a missed opportunity to add racial diversity to its highest court, despite having three openings and two experienced, black judicial candidates in the recent primary election.

Axiom Growing Office in Pa.

By Gina Passarella |

For the past couple of months, a 1,200-person alternative legal services provider has been quietly building up its team in a new location that serves Philadelphia, Wilmington, Delaware, and South Jersey.

Asbestos.

Shifts Seen in Asbestos Case Filings in Phila., Pittsburgh

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Judicial districts covering the state's two largest cities have shown differing trends in asbestos case filings over the past five years, according to court statistics. Filings have remained steady in Pittsburgh and have generally risen in Philadelphia.

Universities Are 'Peculiar Creatures' in World of Cybersecurity

By David Gialanella |

Cyberattacks targeting Rutgers University and Penn State University have brought the issue of cybersecurity close to home—but also served to re-establish that higher-education institutions are unique targets.

Left to right: Randy Evans and Shari Klevens, McKenna Long & Aldridge partners and Suzanne Badawi, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton partner

Five Tips for Avoiding Trouble as Replacement Counsel

By Randy Evans, Shari Klevens and Suzanne Y. Badawi |

Clients turn to replacement counsel when things do not go as planned. In such situations, clients must hire replacement counsel to pick up the pieces of the broken representation and "fix" the problems. That gives successor counsel the opportunity to be a hero by rescuing a problem representation and converting it into a win for the client.

New Partners Yearbook

New Partners Yearbook

The New Partners Yearbook features photos and profiles of the state's newest partners, whether they got there through promotion or through a lateral move.

James W. Cushing

Disability Benefits in a Divorce

By James W. Cushing |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court weighed in on how, or even whether, disability payments are divisible upon divorce in the matter of Yuhas v. Yuhas, 79 A.3d 700, 704 (Pa.Super. 2013).

gavel

Sheriff's Sale Notices

The third publication of the Sheriff's Sale mortgage foreclosure notices for the June 2, 2015, sale, which includes properties postponed from previous sales, are now available.

Samuel Stretton

Lawyers Must Be Attuned to 
the Amended Escrow Rules

By Samuel C. Stretton |

I am a new lawyer and I am concerned about the amendments to the escrow and financial recordkeeping requirements for lawyers. Is there a bottom line that I have to comply with?

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Legislative, Executive Action for Week of May 17, 2015

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of legislative and executive action for the week of May 17. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session June 1.

Centre County to Appeal Injunctions on Records Requests

By Lizzy McLellan and Max Mitchell |

A question of Right-to-Know Law procedure in Centre County is likely bound for the appellate courts, putting on hold several cases related to alleged improper contact between members of the judicial branch and the district attorney's office.

Judge Upholds Attorney Fees for Tax Lien Collection

By Max Mitchell |

The Commonwealth Court has rejected claims that amendments to the Municipal Claims and Tax Lien Act imposed unconstitutional new taxes by passing along legal fees to delinquent taxpayers.

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Who Is Responsible for Paying the Costs of College?

By Carolyn R. Mirabile |

Clients often ask about their responsibility for college education. In Pennsylvania, neither parent has a legal obligation to pay for their child's college education. But in some cases it may be worthwhile for a parent to agree to pay a portion of the cost.

Verdict Vacated Over Negligent Hiring Claim

By Lizzy McLellan |

A commercial real estate company was not liable for hiring a contractor who was found negligent after a multi-alarm warehouse fire, as the plaintiff failed to show evidence of negligent hiring, the Superior Court has decided.

Mind the Gap When It Comes to Balance Billing

By Susan Nanes |

When might a workers' compensation claimant who files in Pennsylvania but receives medical treatment in another state have to pay medical expenses over and above the statutory rates her medical provider receives?

Ariel N. Forbes

Oil and Gas Leases Signed Only by Lessors Still Enforceable

By Ariel N. Forbes |

It is common practice in the oil and gas industry for only the lessor to sign an oil and gas lease. This practice has led to disputes in Pennsylvania regarding whether a lease signed by the lessor alone is valid under the Pennsylvania Landlord and Tenant Act's statute of frauds.

People

Pa. Law Weekly - People in the News - May 26, 2015

Neil A. Morris of Offit Kurman was appointed as special police labor counsel for Doylestown Township in Bucks County.

verdicts and settlements

Architectural Firm to Pay College for Using Unlicensed Personnel

The Community College of Philadelphia was awarded $5.5 million in its suit against an architectural firm for using unlicensed personnel to work on the construction of a new campus facility.

Court Favors Surveyor Measurement in Taking Case

By Lizzy McLellan |

In interpreting a deed with contradictory definitions of a land parcel's boundaries, a split en banc panel of the Commonwealth Court has ruled in favor of the landowners who alleged a de facto taking of that property by a gas company.

With Three Seats at Stake, Partisan Battle Looms

By Lizzy McLellan and Max Mitchell |

Now that every party-endorsed candidate for Pennsylvania Supreme Court has secured a place on the November ballot, observers are expecting partisan support and outside money to play a major role in a historic race for three open seats.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Municipal Pensions in Crisis, Auditor General Says

By John L. Kennedy |

Pennsylvania's two state-level pension systems, the State Employees' Retirement System and the Public School Employees' Retirement System, are enormously underfunded and starting to strain the state budget, according to Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, whose office in January updated the status of municipal pension systems.

What Clients Want From Lawyers: A Blueprint for Your Practice

By Stacy West Clark |

I have been a law firm marketing consultant for over 20 years and during that time I have spoken to hundreds of your clients. I know what they want. Plain and simple, if you want to grow your practice, follow this blueprint.

People in the News - May 26, 2015 - Weber Gallagher Adds Four

Joseph M. Manko, one of the founding partners of Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, was presented with the Compass Award from Philadelphia Outward Bound School on May 6 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Wolf, Business Groups Trade Barbs Over Drilling Tax

By John L. Kennedy |

It started with a letter to lawmakers from a coalition of natural gas drilling interests and broader business associations. The letter said Gov. Tom Wolf's plan to impose an extraction tax on natural drilling in the Marcellus Shale would "set the commonwealth back instead of allowing the state to grow its economy, jobs and provide Pennsylvanians with lower energy bills."

Stephen Packman

Bankruptcy Work Changing Amid Filing Declines

By David Gialanella |

Bankruptcy counseling—referred to by one attorney as "an industry in consolidation"—has always been a cyclical business, but the steady, years-long decline in new cases has required lawyers to rethink their practices to some extent.

Former Bloomberg Correspondent Drops Pregnancy Bias Suit

By Zoe Tillman |

A former Washington correspondent for Bloomberg has dropped a discrimination and retaliation suit that accused the company of illegally firing her after she took maternity leave.

merger

Reed Smith to Open in Frankfurt

By Gina Passarella |

Reed Smith is set to open an office in Frankfurt, Germany, on June 1 with the addition of seven lawyers from four different firms. The new location, which will focus heavily on the financial services industry, will be managed from the firm's 10-year-old Munich office.

Justice Ronald Castille

Castille Wins The Legal's Attorney Of the Year Award

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Editor's note: Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille was named Attorney of the Year at The Legal's Professional Excellence Awards dinner Wednesday. His fellow finalists were U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III of the Middle District of Pennsylvania and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius chairwoman Jami Wintz McKeon.

Alabama Law Applies in Tylenol MDL Death Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Alabama law, which allows for uncapped damages, will apply in the case of a woman from that state who allegedly died from liver failure after taking Tylenol, a federal judge has ruled.

Cross-Border Rulings Set Path for Massive Nortel Asset Split

By Gina Passarella |

It took two judges in two different countries, with the assistance of some beefed up courtroom technology, to decide the question of how the approximately $7.3 billion in Nortel Networks assets should be split between the bankrupt company's three international estates.

Appeal Denied in Defunct Company Privilege Lawsuit

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The state Supreme Court has declined to hear arguments on whether a former in-house lawyer for a defunct business entity can invoke attorney-client privilege to keep from submitting subpoenaed documents in a suit against it.

U.S. Virgin Islands.

Why Is There a Tropical Paradise in the Third Circuit?

By Ghalib Mahmoud |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit heard oral arguments last week on the island of St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. A three-judge panel traveled to the islands to hear matters arising from the islands themselves in order to best accommodate the travel burden of arguing counsel. The court hears oral arguments in the U.S. Virgin Islands twice a year, usually once in December, and once in either April or May. Oral arguments are conducted in St. Thomas during even years (e.g., 2014, 2016), and in St. Croix during odd years (e.g., 2013, 2015). The kind and number of cases heard all depends on the docket before the court and the confidential decision-making process of the judges.

People in the News - May 22, 2015 - Sutton Joins Montgomery McCracken

Gregory W. Sutton joined Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads as a partner in the Philadelphia office.

Attorney John Burris, center, representing Teresa Sheehan, accompanied by fellow attorneys Ben Nisenbaum, right, and Leonard J. Feldman, speaks outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, March 23, 2015, after the court heard arguments in San Francisco v. Sheehan case.

Officers Immune in Shooting of Mentally Ill Woman

By Zoe Tillman and Marcia Coyle |

Police officers who shot a mentally ill woman armed with a knife are immune against claims that they failed to accommodate her health issues, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.

<b>‘OBAMACARE’:</b> Pending <i>King v. Burwell</i> ruling will help cement the chief justice’s legacy.

US Supreme Court Has Much Left on Its Plate

By Marcia Coyle |

As the Roberts Court enters the final stretch of its 10th term, the outcomes in a handful of cases could define that court for years to come.

Jeffrey Campolongo

When Employee's FMLA Leave Is Over, the ADA Kicks In

By Jeffrey Campolongo |

Having just returned from speaking at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute's 21st annual Employment Law Institute, the No. 1 question on the mind of employers was how to deal with an employee's request for leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act once the employee's Family and Medical Leave Act leave has expired. The answer, like most reasonable accommodation issues, is it depends. Courts throughout the country have consistently held that unpaid leave is a form of reasonable accommodation. Unpaid leave may be an appropriate reasonable accommodation when an individual expects to return to work after getting treatment for a disability, recovering from an illness, or taking some other action in connection with his or her disability.

Custody of child

50/50 Physical Custody: Does One Size Fit All?

By Julie A. Auerbach |

The current trend in the Pennsylvania courts is to use 50/50 physical custody as the starting point when developing custody schedules for children of separated parents.

Professional Excellence Awards Slideshow

By Photos by Nanette Kardaszeski |

The Legal Intelligencer's annual Professional Excellence Awards Dinner was held on May 20, at which the Attorney of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award winners, and the Legal Departments of the Year were honored. The following is a slideshow from the evening.

vote sign

Wecht Tops Supreme Court Primary

By Max Mitchell |

Primary results for the state Supreme Court race are in, and Superior Court Judge David N. Wecht was the highest vote-getter, followed by fellow Democrats Superior Court Judge Christine L. Donohue and Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Kevin M. Dougherty.

Philadelphia City Hall building at night

Out of Dozens, 15 Judicial Candidates Win Dem Primary

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Voters on Tuesday selected 12 Democrats from a crowded field of candidates for the 2015 Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to progress to November's general election.

St. Joe's Sued for Softball Team's 'Sexually Charged' Hazing

By Gina Passarella |

A softball player at Saint Joseph's University has sued the school for Title IX violations stemming from allegations of a "sexually charged" hazing culture within the women's softball team.

Citigroup Keeps Its Arbitration Win

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A win for Citigroup Global Markets in arbitration will stand since a federal judge dismissed a challenge to it, finding that her court didn't have jurisdiction.

Fun, Free Apps to Keep You Organized and Stress-Free

By Judy Stouffer |

It's no wonder everyone seems tethered to an electronic device these days. We multitask more than ever. Keeping all the balls afloat between work, home, school, family, friends, professional associations and volunteer organizations is a true balancing act. Software applications can help keep us organized, proficient and stress-free, unless you're stressing over the best app to choose. With so many great, free apps out there, ease of use and convenience always top my list.

People in the News - May 21, 2015 - St. Hill Elected to PILCOP Board

Jenai St. Hill, an associate in Reed Smith's commercial litigation group, was elected to serve on the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia's board of directors.

Marie Lihotz

Associate's Forced Representation Unconstitutional

By Michael Booth |

A New Jersey judge's decision to force a criminal defendant to go to trial while being represented by a partner's associate because of the partner's scheduling conflict amounted to the deprivation of the defendant's Sixth Amendment right to counsel of his choice, a state appeals court ruled May 15.

L-R Jay Abt and James Haug

After Fight, Lawyers Team Up in Fallen Tree Case

By Kathleen Baydala Joyner |

Two sets of lawyers who fought over who would be in charge of representing a man paralyzed by a fallen tree have secured $2 million in settlements since deciding to work together on the case.

Benefits and Pitfalls of Communicating With the Media

By The YL Editorial Board |

In the wake of the Amtrak tragedy, lawyers from our community found ways to express themselves in traditional and social media. Some gave expert analysis to media outlets. Some offered heartfelt prayers on Twitter. And, yes, some attorneys solicited clients on their Facebook pages.

Collection of $1M Fine Against Lawyer Again Sought

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

After having been put on hold for several months, efforts to resume collection against Nancy Raynor, an attorney sanctioned by a Philadelphia judge for nearly $1 million for eliciting banned testimony about smoking in a medical malpractice case, have picked up again.

Hagens Berman Fights Court Interviews of Thalidomide Clients

By Gina Passarella |

A federal judge has denied Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro's request to stay interviews of 31 of the firm's clients to determine whether they are knowingly dismissing their thalidomide-injury cases, but not before the law firm filed a petition seeking a writ of mandamus with the Third Circuit seeking the higher court's intervention.

merger

Cohen & Grigsby Elects New President and CEO

By Max Mitchell |

Christopher Carson has been elected president and CEO of Cohen & Grigsby, the firm has announced.

Montco Courts to Open Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas on Tuesday announced the creation of a mortgage foreclosure diversion test program aimed at helping residents who face the threat of eviction to stay in their homes.

Directly above photograph of an application for a visa.

Creative Solutions in Wake of Scarce Slots for Foreign Professionals

By Michelle T. Kobler |

Foreign nationals that seek employment in the United States must receive the appropriate work-authorized status to do so. Most employers support their foreign workers through a nonimmigrant (temporary) visa known as the H-1B. This visa allows companies to employ people in a "specialty occupation" in the United States while the visa is valid. A specialty occupation is one that normally requires a bachelor's degree for entry into the occupation.

People in the News - May 20, 2015 - 100th Anniversary of Workers' Comp

Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young partner Valentino F. DiGiorgio III was appointed to the boards of directors of Independence Hospital Indemnity Plan and Independence Health Group.

JPMorgan Claims Six Ex-Employees Poaching Clients

By Charles Toutant |

JPMorgan Chase Bank has sued six former wealth managers who quit en masse to join competitor Morgan Stanley and are allegedly soliciting their $2 billion base of former clients to follow them.

April 24, 2015 - Graniteville, South Carolina, U.S. - Georgia Regents College of Nursing students pose for a photo in front of five empty chairs, signifying the five Georgia Southern University nursing students who were killed in a car crash near Savannah, Ga., on Friday, April 24, 2015. In addition to sending a photo, the students plan to collect funds to send to Georgia Southern's student government association, which will decide how it is allocated.

Suits Filed in Ga. Truck Crash That Killed Nursing Students

By R. Robin McDonald |

The parents of three of the five Georgia Southern University nursing students who were killed in a horrific crash on Interstate 16 last month have filed suit over the wrongful deaths of their daughters.

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Don't Allow 'Rambo' Attorneys to Rule the Courtroom

By Ronald L. Hicks |

"Real heroes don't die, they just reload."

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

Amtrak Derailment

This series of articles examines the legal issues surrounding the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia.

 Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky co-founder Robert Mongeluzzi, left, and Thomas R. Kline of Kline & Specter announce Monday the launch of litigation against Amtrak in federal court in Pennsylvania.

'Indescribable Horror' of Amtrak Derailment Prompts Suits

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A cluster of lawsuits against Amtrak stemming from last week's derailment that injured over 200 people and killed eight has been filed in Pennsylvania.

Pfizer Wins Right to See Expert Report in Similar Birth-Defect Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Lawyers bringing the case alleging that Zoloft caused birth defects in babies born to women who took the antidepressant have to turn over the report that their expert produced in similar litigation over Prozac, the federal judge handling the case has ruled.

Small, Midsize Firms Adapt to Increased Scrutiny

By Max Mitchell |

Editor's note: This is the fourth installment of a series examining the shift in law firm business models and the issues law firms must address to remain competitive in a new age of providing legal services.

Toomey Submits Blue Slip, but Will Restrepo Get a Hearing?

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

After a dustup earlier this month over the delay in moving Luis Felipe Restrepo, a federal trial judge in Philadelphia, up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, gave his OK to the Judiciary Committee to schedule a hearing.

Pension Reform Bill Sets Stage for Budget Fight

By John L. Kennedy |

Last week, the state Senate approved public pension reform legislation, SB 1, with a 28-19 vote, setting the stage for what is virtually unanimously expected to be a contentious budget battle between the General Assembly and Gov. Tom Wolf.

Senate Approves Measure to Legalize Medical Marijuana Use

By John L. Kennedy |

Legislation that would legalize the use of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions cleared the state Senate last week and is now before the state House of Representatives. A spokesman for the House Republican Caucus said there is no timetable for considering the bill.

A group of death penalty opponents hold a vigil outside St. Francis Xavier College Church hours before the scheduled execution of Missouri death row inmate Russell Bucklew Tuesday, May 20, 2014, in St. Louis.

Q&A: Is Capital Punishment Near a 'Tipping Point'?

By Tony Mauro |

Robert Dunham became executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in March at a time of escalating debate among policymakers and the public over capital punishment.

Tom Brady

New Hampshire School Introduces 'Deflategate' Class

By Karen Sloan |

Michael McCann spent May 11 in eager anticipation. The National Football League was expected to announce its decision in the "Deflategate" scandal at any minute, and the University of New Hampshire School of Law professor was preparing to offer commentary to "Sports Illustrated," where he serves as a legal analyst.

People in the News - May 19, 2015 - White and Williams Seminar

Attorney Joana Gaizelyte-Lacy, an associate with Leonard, Sciolla, Hutchison, Leonard & Tinari, was named of counsel.

Protecting Against Cyberattacks on Colleges and Universities

By Peter F. Vaira |

Colleges and universities are increasing targets for cybercrime operators. Rutgers University and Fairleigh Dickinson University were both recently hit in cyberattacks. Both schools' networks were shut down for nearly a day. In 2014, Indiana University and the University of Maryland were victims of cyberattacks. Indiana had 146,000 records exposed and Maryland had 300,000 records exposed. Colleges and universities face cybersecurity challenges similar to those faced by government and major commercial institutions.

Alan Nochumson

Bank Fails to Adhere to Condition Precedent in Loan Documents

By Alan Nochumson |

One of the most oppressive tools available to commercial lenders is what is called a warrant of attorney. Most commercial loan documents contain a provision known as a warrant of attorney, which allows such lenders the ability to enter a judgment of record against their borrowers and guarantors, as the case may be, by simply filing a complaint alleging a default under the loan documents and then demanding a confessed judgment of an amount certain.

Accepting Nominations for Lawyers on the Fast Track

By Ben Seal |

If you have a deserving colleague, associate or protégé under the age of 40, nominate them to be a 2015 Lawyer on the Fast Track.

VerdictSearch 2014 Verdicts

VerdictSearch Top Pennsylvania Verdicts of 2014

View the top verdicts and settlements as reported by VerdictSearch for 2014, including charts, case summaries, settlements, as well as break-out charts for specific categories.

Court Backs Denial of Coverage in Fatal Dirt Bike Crash

By Lizzy McLellan |

A homeowner's insurance carrier was within its rights to deny coverage to a man who provided the use of a dirt bike—and, allegedly, alcohol—to a 19-year-old who was fatally injured when he crashed the vehicle, the Superior Court has ruled.

Order on ADR Provision Is Not Immediately Appealable

By Lizzy McLellan |

An order over the application of an alternative dispute resolution provision is not immediately appealable as of right, the Superior Court has ruled.

Legislative Action for Week of May 11

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of legislative action for the week of May 11. Members of the General Assebmly are set to return to session June 1.

Sam Stretton

Lawyers Cannot Allow Technology to Outpace Ethics

By Samuel C. Stretton |

I often take my computer or tablet to a seminar or court. I get the password for the Internet. I obviously take notes, but I also check email during the seminar. Should I be doing this?

vote sign

Unions, Lawyers Among Top Spenders in Big-Money Primary

By Lizzy McLellan and Max Mitchell |

In what is shaping up to be the most expensive Pennsylvania Supreme Court race in history, the largest donations have come from lawyers, unions and lawyer-funded political action committees.

verdicts and settlements

Bicyclist Gets Settlement After Collision With Truck

By Lizzy McLellan |

A bicyclist has recovered $2.6 million in a settlement with various defendants following a 2012 crash with a mattress store truck.

verdicts and settlements

Jury Awards Drone Maker in Patent Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

An American drone maker has won $7.8 million in damages from a French competitor that infringed on its patents.

Dave Dambreville

Defining Terms of an Insurance Policy After 'Rourke'

By Dave Dambreville |

The language of an insurance policy must be clear and specific in order to effectuate the intent of the insurer and insured. Failure to sufficiently define key terms and conditions of a policy in a plain and unambiguous way can have the effect of broadening the scope of coverage of the insurance policy. For best practices, insurers should be advised to specifically define each term that may have an impact on the scope of coverage of their policies.

gavel

No Blanket Arbitration Award Over SEPTA Police Sick Pay

By Max Mitchell |

The Commonwealth Court has upheld an arbitrator's "narrow" awards for SEPTA police officers who challenged their sick leave amounts.

David G. Mandelbaum

Doing Environmental Due Diligence for the Right Reasons

By David G. Mandelbaum |

U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recently decided motions in a case among successive owners of a property with an environmental problem. Her opinion in CSX Transportation v. 2712 Investors, Civil Action No. 14-7148 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 29, 2015), provides some useful reminders of very basic propositions about environmental due diligence in real estate transactions and the litigation that follows when things go wrong.

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Limitations on Cross-Examination of Lay and Expert Witnesses

By Daniel E. Cummins |

The most important tool provided to a litigant to test the credibility of parties, witnesses and expert witnesses at trial, and thereby challenge the truth of the adversary's claims, is the right to conduct a thorough and cutting cross-examination.

Attorney Asks Superior Court to Enforce New Punitives Trial

By Max Mitchell |

Counsel for a disabled woman who won a $3 million verdict against the group home that was caring for her has filed a motion to "enforce stare decisis" in an effort to get the common pleas judge to proceed with a new trial on punitive damages.

Pa. Law Weekly -- People in the News -- May 19, 2015

Neil A. Morris of Offit Kurman was appointed as labor counsel for Plainfield Township in Northampton County.

How Extracting a Text Message Could Change Your Case

By Daniel F. Mitsakos |

The scene opens with three teenagers in a car. The driver is shifting her eyes back and forth between the roadway and her smartphone as she approaches an intersection. As the driver taps out a text message, a pickup truck comes into view headed toward the same crossroads. The driver runs the stop sign and the rest is left to the viewer's imagination.

settlement

Phila. Court of Common Pleas Candidates Mostly Self-Funded

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

Candidates for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas who raised substantial amounts for their campaigns in the latest reporting cycle were largely self-funded, according to campaign finance reports.

Third Circuit Rules To Uphold Federal Porn Regulations

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Federal regulations requiring producers of pornographic material to keep records of their models' ages doesn't violate the First Amendment, but the warrantless searches they authorize do violate the Fourth Amendment, the Third Circuit has ruled.

Third Circuit Upholds Federal Porn Regulations

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Federal regulations requiring producers of pornographic material to keep records of their models' ages don't violate the First Amendment, but the warrantless searches they authorize do violate the Fourth Amendment, the Third Circuit has ruled.

Pa. Justices to Eye Reversal of $2.5M Verdict in Man's Fall

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments over whether the state Superior Court properly tossed a $2.5 million verdict awarded to a man who fell 40 feet from an electrical transmission pole after his lanyard detached from a ladder.

Frank D'Amore

When You Should Pick Up the Phone (and Not Text or Email)

By Frank Michael D'Amore |

We surely are communicating at record levels in our 24/7, always-on-demand world. As hard as this is to believe for some, many readers of this column can recall the days when one could go home at night and be fairly confident that there would be no interaction with colleagues or clients until the next day (or more, if a weekend were ahead). Yes—no texts, email, cellphones, voicemail, or, as archaic as this seems—not even an answering machine in existence; unless someone came to your home or happened to reach you live on the phone, you were off-limits.