Latest News

Legionella Risks in Building Water Systems

By Paul R. McIntyre 
and Stephen E. Luttrell |

Well-publicized outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease over the last year have grabbed headlines and spurred regulatory action, highlighting potentially significant liability risks related to water quality in the hospitality, health care, senior housing, and commercial real estate sectors. To properly identify, evaluate, and mitigate such risks, the assessment and diligent maintenance of water quality in buildings is essential.

Settlement Negotiations and Public Disclosure Laws

By Diana A. Silva |

When negotiating a private settlement agreement, practitioners typically consider such negotiations to be confidential and privileged, not to be disclosed by the parties outside of the confines of the settlement discussions. In fact, most private mediation and settlement agreements contain specific confidentiality provisions, with each party expressly agreeing that the terms of the settlement are to be kept strictly confidential and not disclosed to any third party unless required by law. But, when settlement negotiations take place with a governmental agency, maintaining confidentiality both during and after settlement can be more problematic, as the content of the negotiations and documents exchanged may be subject to disclosure under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and state "sunshine" laws, including Pennsylvania's Right-to-Know Law and New Jersey's Open Public Records Act (OPRA).

The Duhig Rule—Interpretation of Mineral Interest Reservations

By Brian A. Lawton |

What happens when a deed is unclear and the parties to a transaction involving oil and gas interests are long deceased? How do the heirs to the parties involved resolve their disputes? This is a relevant issue courts and practitioners in Pennsylvania have faced for a long time. A recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision, Shedden v. Anadarko E&P, No. 103 MAP 2014, A.3d (Pa. 2016), applied the doctrine of estoppel by deed to an oil and gas lease, precluding the lessors from denying that the lease at issue covered the lessors' after-acquired interest in the oil and gas rights. Estoppel by deed may be further extended to resolve these thorny disputes.

Navigating the Presumption of Liability for Oil and Gas Operators

By Todd L. Normane 
and Christopher Salera |

For operators of conventional and unconventional oil and gas wells, the evolving framework of Pennsylvania's oil and gas law is set to turn "you break it, you bought it" into "it's broken and you were nearby, so you bought it."

EPA, Pa. DEP Take Aim at Oil and Gas Industry Methane Emissions

By Mark A. Lazaroff 
and George A. Bibikos |

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have introduced new programs and regulations intended to reduce methane emissions from operations within the oil and gas industry. This article outlines those initiatives and provides some brief perspective and a note about what to expect in the future.

Will Genomics Become Routine in Toxic Torts Causation Evaluation?

By Dean C. Seman |

The current state of causation evidence in toxic tort litigation has generated grumbles of unreliability, understandable controversy and the feeling of a jury crap shoot. Jurors are often left weighing statistical evidence containing large data gaps and speculative extrapolations versus sympathetic claims often involving debilitating or fatal diseases. However, the emerging advances in genomics, the ever-increasing compilation of genetic data and the lower costs of individualized testing has opened the door for the use of individualized genetic evidence to support and defend toxic torts with a level of unprecedented reliability.

Zika Virus: Challenges of Fighting a Recognized Hazard

By T.H. Lyda 
and Daivy P. Dambreville |

In recent months, news outlets from around the country have reported on the impending Zika virus outbreak expected to impact the United States this summer. The threat of a global Zika epidemic has even caused some to call for the cancelling of this year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The specter of plague has led to highly publicized debates within the federal government, while the legislature attempts to determine how much emergency funding will be required to quell a potential outbreak on a larger scale. With no vaccine to prevent a Zika infection, companies that make bug repellent are running factories near capacity as they anticipate surging demand. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is also expediting the approval process for alternate pesticides. In light of the significant trepidation caused by the potential Zika outbreak, many employers may be faced with situations where employees refuse to work (or travel for work) in areas affected by Zika out of fear of contracting the virus.

People in the News—July 25, 2016—Williams Cuker Berezofsky

Esther Berezofsky of Williams Cuker Berezofsky was a speaker at the women's health litigation conference on June 22 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

Responding to ‘Merger Wave,’ Feds Sue to Block Major Tie-Ups in Health Insurance Industry

The U.S. Department of Justice brought a pair of blockbuster antitrust cases Thursday against proposed multibillion-dollar acquisitions in the health insurance industry, setting up a major litigation clash in Washington as the Obama administration winds down.

Should Judges Delay Trials for Pregnant Lawyers?

As his wife went into labor last year, it never occurred to attorney Marc Daffner that the judge might deny his motion for continuance of a preliminary hearing. Daffner even took a humorous approach to the motion, joking that “defense counsel will be killed by his wife if he does not get to the hospital immediately.”

Bad-Faith Penalties for Delay in Gov't Payments Not Mandatory

By Max Mitchell |

A finding of bad faith against a government agency for failure to promptly pay contractors does not require a court to award a statutory penalty and attorney fees, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

insurance policy

Pa. Courts Disagree on Admissibility of UIM Policy Details

By Zack Needles |

In a ruling indicative of what attorneys said is a lack of uniformity across the state regarding UM and UIM evidence, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has broken with the Middle District over the admissibility of a plaintiff's underinsured motorist policy limits and premium amounts in a jury trial on damages.

'Distinct Harm' Needed for Retaliation Against Prosecutor

By Ben Seal |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has addressed multiple issues of first impression regarding criminal convictions for retaliating against a prosecutor or judicial officer. Any action taken against any individual in retaliation for the action of a prosecutor or judge is sufficient to sustain a retaliation conviction, the court held, but the infliction of "distinct harm" is a required element of the crime.

Group of happy business people in a meeting at office

PLW People In the News—July 26, 2016—Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel added Paul Troisi to its litigation department.

Ex-Fox Rothschild Lawyer Gets 6 Months for Insider Trading

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Former Fox Rothschild attorney Herbert K. Sudfeld was sentenced to six months in prison for insider trading and lying to federal investigators, in a display of leniency from the federal judge handling his case.

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby, right, arrives for a court appearance Feb. 3, 2016, in Norristown.

Cosby Seeks Seat at Accuser's Deposition in Castor Case

By Lizzy McLellan |

In litigation he is not a part of, Bill Cosby wants his lawyers to sit in on the deposition of the woman who has accused him of sexually assaulting her in 2004, Andrea Constand, in her defamation case against the former district attorney who chose not to prosecute Cosby in 2005.

Norma Shapiro

‘Trailblazer’ Judge Norma Shapiro Dies at 87

By Max Mitchell |

U.S. District Senior Judge Norma Shapiro, a pioneering woman judge, lawyer, bar leader and mentor, died Friday morning. She was 87.

Taylor Swift, left, arriving at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, right, arriving at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.

Kim Kardashian vs. Taylor Swift: The Legal Implications of the Snapchat Recording

On Sunday, Kim Kardashian West posted a recording of a conversation on Snapchat between her husband Kanye West and Taylor Swift that was allegedly recorded without Swift’s consent — a potential violation of California state law requiring both parties to consent to the recording of communications.

Bankruptcy for Philadelphia's Most Vulnerable

By Mary Anne Lucey |

Imagine you are a young mother and the sole provider for your family. A few years ago, your husband died violently and suddenly. You are still regaining your emotional balance and also struggling greatly due to the loss of his wages from his full-time employment. You are barely able to meet basic monthly expenses on your wages and then you are unexpectedly laid off from your job. You find work after five months, but this sudden disruption in income has demanded difficult financial choices and has destroyed your meager finances. You now face having your utilities shut off. Imagine that you have no idea where to turn for legal advice on how to handle your utility bills and other debts. Now imagine that because you live in Philadelphia and have an income below the federal poverty guidelines, you are able to unravel this tightly woven financial knot.

Josh J.T. Byrne

When Legal Malpractice Becomes a Disciplinary Matter

By Josh J.T. Byrne |

There is obvious overlap between legal malpractice and misconduct under the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct. However, there are important distinctions. The most important distinction is a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct may not be the basis of a legal malpractice claim against an attorney, but failure to provide competent representation can be the basis for disciplinary action.

Who Decides Your Fate, When You Can't?

By Mark Spencer |

After years of advocating relentlessly for the Latino community and people with HIV, it was Samuel Morales who needed help at the most dire of times.

stock exchange internet globe world

Fairness Opinions Often Fall Short of 'Fair'

By Patricia Farrell |

The high stakes of any merger or acquisition deal can quickly cloud the best business judgment of many corporate directors, leading them to make decisions that may benefit them but anger other stakeholders in the company.

Public Interest Calendar of Events

By The Legal Intelligencer |

• On July 28, the Philadelphia Bar Association's public interest section, law school outreach committee, is scheduled to host the last program in its "Summer Brown Bag Lunch Series," from noon to 1:30 p.m., at the Philadelphia Bar Association, 11th Floor Conference Center, 1101 Market St. The program will address complex litigation, appeals and technical support. The panel will feature representatives from the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Public Interest Law Center, Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project, National Clearinghouse on the Defense of Battered Women, and the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. This free series provides an opportunity for summer law student interns to meet public interest attorneys who are leaders in their field and learn about different types of public interest practice in the greater Philadelphia area.

People in the News—July 22, 2016—Blank Rome

Blank Rome associate James J. Quinlan was elected as the 21st president of the Brehon Law Society, a role that he will serve for a two-year term.

verdicts and settlements

Bank Agrees to Settle RICO Class Action Claims

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Zions First National Bank, sued for an allegedly fraudulent telemarketing scheme that resulted in unauthorized debits to bank consumers' accounts, has agreed to settle the RICO claims against it for $37.5 million.

verdicts and settlements

Passenger Injured in Truck Crash Receives $1.6M in Bench Trial

By Ben Seal |

An elderly woman injured when her vehicle was hit from behind by a U-Haul truck was awarded $1.56 million after a one-day bench trial in Philadelphia before Judge Ellen Ceisler.

Ailes Resigns From Fox News Amid Furor Over Carlson Suit

Roger Ailes, the Fox News chairman and CEO, has resigned from his post, effective immediately, the network’s parent company announced Thursday.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane

Kane, Prosecutors Aim to Bar From Trial Mention of Shuttered Probe, Porn Emails

By Lizzy McLellan |

As the criminal trial of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane approaches, each side is seeking to shape the evidence that can be presented.

Drivers’ Class Action Against Uber Over Wages Gets Green Light

A prospective class action in which Uber drivers alleged the company did not pay them wages, overtime, and made them cover their own expenses in violation of federal employment law has been allowed to move forward.

Turnpike Tolls Rising Again Amid Concerns Over Debt

By John L. Kennedy |

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) announced that it is increasing tolls for the ninth year in a row. The extra revenue is needed to help pay down a debt service that in 2017 will be at $573 million. That amount is about half of the $1.1 billion in tolls the PTC is expected to collect.

Not All Lawmakers Happy With State Budget

By John L. Kennedy |

Lawmakers are out of Harrisburg and back in their districts a comfortable four months before the November elections. Completing the budget just two weeks beyond the June 30 constitutional deadline is in stark contrast to last fiscal year when the budget impasse went nine months into the year.

Lawsuits Reinstated Against UPMC Over Hepatitis Outbreak

By Max Mitchell |

Several lawsuits have been reinstated against a Pittsburgh hospital, over claims that it failed to properly report to authorities the activities of a lab technician whose conduct eventually caused a multi-state hepatitis C outbreak.

Leonardo DiCaprio in

Big Law Firms Play Cameos in ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Forfeiture Case

Several major law firms handled funds stolen in a billion-dollar global money laundering scheme, according to federal prosecutors—money that was used to finance the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street” and pay for real estate, art, a $35 million private jet, and other luxuries.

Former Pa. Treasurer Hafer Charged in FBI-IRS Probe

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Former Pennsylvania treasurer Barbara Hafer, 72, was charged Thursday with concealing $500,000 in consulting fees from federal investigators looking into pay-to-play politics in the state’s government, the Harrisburg-based U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

Bennett Bricklin Opens Wilkes-Barre Office

By Lizzy McLellan |

Bennett Bricklin & Saltzburg is opening an office in Wilkes-Barre, with the addition of a defense litigator from Thomas, Thomas & Hafer.

Facebook Turns to Baker & McKenzie to Fight IRS Probe

By Ross Todd |

Baker & McKenzie is representing Facebook Inc. in its dispute with the IRS over the value of assets the company transferred to its Irish holding company.

Revisions of Pa.'s Oil and Gas Regulations Mired in Politics

By Stefanie L. Burt |

Over the past five years, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) has been working to revise and update the existing regulations related to surface activities associated with the development of conventional and unconventional oil and gas wells. The proposed rules, which were issued by a divided majority of the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission, are now mired in the political process, and the end result may be that portions of the proposed final rules may have to be substantially revised or rewritten.

Capitol Report

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative activity for the week of July 18. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to Harrisburg on Sept. 19, and members of the Senate on Sept. 26.

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Proposed Orders to Appoint Custody Evaluators

By Lynne Z. Gold-bikin |

In August 2010, the court approved Rule 1915.18 for what was called a "form of order directing expert examination and report." The rule is a general order and, while the rule requires certain things, it really is lax in what, respectfully, this article suggests.

Child Abuse Bill: A First Step, But Debate Must Continue

By The YL Editorial Board |

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved House Bill 1947, on April 12, which addresses childhood sexual abuse in both the criminal and civil arenas. The legislation would eliminate legal deadlines for the criminal prosecution of child abusers. Victims of childhood sexual abuse would also be afforded additional time to institute civil claims. Currently, Pennsylvania law extinguishes a litigant's right to file a civil claim for childhood sexual abuse at age 30. The proposed legislation would extend the statute of limitations to age 50 for a victim who suffered sexual abuse as a minor. The original bill included a controversial look-back provision, which would retroactively nullify the statute of limitations for expired civil claims.

Jeffrey Campolongo

Court Says No To Withholding Taxes on FMLA Settlement

By Jeffrey Campolongo |

Congratulations! You have somehow managed to convince a very reticent employer and their all-powerful counsel to finally settle that difficult Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) case with you. The only thing left to do is to get paid, right? Guess again. Until the parties can agree on how the settlement payment should be reported to the IRS, the settlement will remain in payment purgatory. There can be a "sticking point" in these situations if a plaintiff is paid by W-2, because the defendant is obligated to deduct applicable taxes, withholdings for Social Security and Medicare and its employer tax, whereas a plaintiff paid by Form 1099-MISC is responsible for all of these taxes.

Independent Contractor Misclassification: A Rising Tide

By Joseph E. Vaughan 
and Thomas R. Bond |

The U.S. Department of Labor has recognized the misclassification of employees as independent contractors as one of the most serious problems facing affected workers, employers and the entire economy.

Save the Tricks, and Maintain Your Integrity

By Samuel C. Stretton |

I am a young lawyer and I want to make a name for myself in litigation. Can I or my investigator mislead who we are? The litigation involves a house this person lives in with supposed problems. I want either myself or the investigator to pose as a potential buyer, can I do that?

Industrial plant at night

Climate Change for the Insurance Industry

By Key Coleman |

The burning of fossil fuels produces CO2 and other so-called greenhouse gases (GHGs) that scientists have linked to global warming and other changes in the Earth's climate. In just the last year, so-called carbon extractors and heavy users of fossil fuels have come under heightened scrutiny. Insurance companies should pay close attention to developments related to climate change and make certain that they remain proactive in the way in which they address risk to their respective organizations.

Pa. Trial Judge Clarifies Do's and Don'ts of Med Mal Discovery

By Zack Needles |

An Allegheny County trial judge has clarified his own 2009 decision on what is permissible in medical malpractice discovery, holding that it did not bar plaintiffs lawyers from utilizing materials like patient's slides and X-rays to jog a defendant doctor's memory regarding treatment, but it did place restrictions on questioning a treating doctor about the standard of care.

People in the News—July 21, 2016—Fine, Kaplan and Black

Roberta "Bobbi" D. Liebenberg, senior partner at Fine, Kaplan and Black, is set to be a recipient of the American Bar Association's 2016 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement award.

Bill Cosby

Cosby Appeals to Superior Court on Accuser Testimony Issue

By Lizzy McLellan |

Lawyers for Bill Cosby have, as promised, filed an appeal seeking to overturn the trial court's rejection of his bid to secure dismissal of criminal sexual assault charges against the comedian.

Kimberly Kitchen, 46, of James Creek, left, leaves the Huntingdon County Courthouse, in Huntingdon, Penn., with her husband, Edward, and her lawyer, Caroline Roberto, of Pittsburgh, Penn, after being found guilty of posing as an attorney for nearly a decade, on March 24, 2016.

Fake Pennsylvania Lawyer Sentenced to State Prison

By Ben Seal |

Speaking before a courtroom filled with members of her former law firm and others she duped in her county bar association, Kimberly Kitchen apologized Tuesday for a decade-long ruse in which she lied about being a lawyer.

Airbnb Hires Eric Holder to Craft ‘Stronger’ Anti-Discrimination Policy

Amid mounting allegations of bias in its home-sharing platform, Airbnb Inc. has hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. to help craft a “stronger” anti-discrimination policy aimed at eliminating “explicit racism and implicit biases,” the company said Wednesday.

Edward C. Fronczkiewicz Jr.

Urban Engineers' First GC Passes the Torch

By Lizzy McLellan |

A new general counsel has been named at Urban Engineers, as the company's first general counsel plans to retire in December.

Third Circuit Reignites Fireman's Defamation Case Over Photo

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The appeals court reversed itself Tuesday in a case that's been closely watched by media organizations and users of stock photos.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane arrives to be processed and arraigned on charges she leaked secret grand jury material and then lied about it under oath on Aug. 8, 2015, at the Montgomery County detective bureau in Norristown, Pa.

Fina's Retaliation Suit Against Kane Dismissed

By Ben Seal |

A retaliation lawsuit brought by Frank Fina and other former Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General employees against Attorney General Kathleen Kane has been dismissed for failing to show violations of the plaintiffs' First Amendment rights.

Trujillo Joins Chamberlain to Spearhead Growth in Phila.

By Lizzy McLellan |

Ken Trujillo, a Philadelphia litigator from Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis and a player in the local political scene, has left the firm to join Houston-based Chamberlain Hrdlicka and grow its Philadelphia presence.

penn state

PMA Wants Time-Barred Claims Out of PSU Coverage Dispute

By Max Mitchell |

The insurance carrier sparring with Penn State over whether it should cover more than $90 million the school paid to settle claims regarding sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky has asked a Philadelphia judge to preclude any evidence about claims the school paid that may have been barred by the statute of limitations.

How Will Artificial Intelligence Impact the Future of Paralegals?

By Harry A. Reichner |

After many false beginnings, artificial intelligence (AI) has made astonishing progress in the past few years. AI, sometimes referred to as cognitive computing, refers to computers learning how to complete tasks traditionally done by humans. Thanks to a versatile technique called "deep learning," large neural computer networks modeled on the architecture of the human brain, can be trained to do all kinds of tasks if given enough data.

The Philadelphia Association of Paralegals Calendar of Events

By The Legal Intelligencer |

People in the News—July 20, 2016—Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young

Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young counsel Joan E. Boros is scheduled to moderate a panel on the Retirement Income Industry Association's (RIIA) process and tools for determining retirement income needs during RIIA's 2016 Summer Conference July 18 and 19 in Salem, Massachusetts.

Former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor

Castor Becomes Kane's First Deputy, Settles With Sister

By Ben Seal |

Bruce L. Castor Jr., the solicitor general hired in March by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, has been selected to be the Office of Attorney General's first deputy. Castor will replace Bruce Beemer, who is set to become Pennsylvania's inspector general after repeatedly finding himself at odds with Kane and her closest advisers.

Former Wrestlers Trying to Bust Open WWE on Head Injuries

Scripted moves have led directly to CTE, the suit alleges, but promotion says it's just cheap heat.

Ballard Spahr offices in Washington, D.C. March 24, 2015. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Clients Oppose Ballard Suit Seeking Cut of Merger Money

By Lizzy McLellan |

Clients of Ballard Spahr want the firm's suit against them thrown out, arguing the law firm has no claim to a cut of the proceeds from a merger that resolved antitrust litigation Ballard filed on their behalf.

Energy and Environmental Law

By The Legal Intelligencer |

The Legal's Energy and Environmental Law supplement puts genomics, environmental crisis management and the Zika Virus in focus.

Judge Gives Green Light to Civil Suit Over Shooting by Gun Store Employee

By Max Mitchell |

A gun shop and its owner, whose son—an employee at the store—shot and killed a man, can be held civilly liable for the fatal shooting, a Pennsylvania judge has ruled

Property Damage Settlement Won't Bar 'Loss of Contract' Claim

By Max Mitchell |

A company's decision to settle its property damage claims with a defendant in a multi-party motor vehicle case does not mean the economic loss doctrine will bar the company from later pursuing a loss of contract claim, the state Superior Court has ruled.

People in the News—July 19, 2016—Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads

Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads added Stephanie K. Benecchi as an associate in the litigation department of its Philadelphia office.

Uber's Phila. Presence Spurs More Legislation, Litigation

By Ben Seal |

Eighteen months into two-year experimental licenses granted to Uber and Lyft to operate their ride-sharing services in Pennsylvania, the companies' presence in Philadelphia continues to be a point of contention as regulators and legislators attempt to bridge the gap between city and state laws.

In Latest Pitch to Indebted Associates, Orrick Promises Direct Help on Loans

By Nell Gluckman |

The race among Big Law firms to woo the best law school graduates continued Friday, with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe announcing that it will start helping its first-year associates pay down their student debt this year.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Judge William Pryor Jr.

11th Circuit Says Florida Prisons Must Offer Kosher Meals

By Katheryn Hayes Tucker |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled Friday that the State of Florida cannot deny kosher meals to devout Jewish prisoners.

Paul Spinelli, who took this Super Bowl 50 image in February, is one of several photographers suing the NFL and The Associated Press.

NFL, AP Can't Shake Photographers' Unfair Contract Suit, Judge Rules

A group of freelance photographers have sufficiently alleged that they were pressured into unfair contracts, Southern District Judge Robert Sweet ruled on Friday.

Christopher Carusone

Mistakes to Avoid When Evaluating an Adverse Commonwealth Procurement Decision

By Christopher Carusone |

Mark Twain once famously said: "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." The same can be said for corporate counsel tasked with evaluating an adverse procurement decision from a commonwealth agency.

The Statue of Liberty

Providing a Path to Legal Status is in America's Best Interest

By William A. Stock |

Last month, I wrote about the genius of the United States' immigration policy, in that it welcomed high-potential individuals who came to the United States as refugees or family-based immigrants. While it is often mentioned that Sergei Brin, co-founder of Google, was an immigrant, what is less known is that he entered as a child with his family, who were granted refugee status from Russia. At the time we made that admission decision, we had no idea what would become of young Brin.

Abraham J. Gafni

Waiving and Reviving the Right to Arbitrate Disputes

By Abraham J. Gafni |

Compelling arbitration is often of significant importance to one of the parties to a dispute. It is surprising, therefore, how often a party will unintentionally abandon a right that it was so intent on securing when the contract was first negotiated.

Peter F. Vaira

A Personal Tribute to Mike Kunz, Eastern District Clerk of Court

By Peter F. Vaira |

In 1982, Mike Kunz, clerk of court, was told by his secretary that there was an attorney on the phone who insisted on talking to Kunz. It was the prominent Philadelphia attorney, Harold Kohn. "Mike," said an exasperated Kohn, "I need your help." Kohn, who had become famous for bringing class action lawsuits against major electrical companies, was calling Kunz for his personal assistance in a case he had filed before Judge Edward Roy Becker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In the 30 years that followed, this type of call would not be unusual. There would be many Harold Kohns, many federal judges, many prosecutors, and ordinary citizens who would place similar calls and ask Kunz for help. They always received it.

The Consolidating Health Care Industry and Management Services Agreements

By Terry Silver |

The health care industry is consolidating at all levels. As such, it is important to understand direct-care practices are combining into single and multi-disciplinary practices at record rates.

Cozen O'Connor Founder Says Release of '28 Pages' Boosts 9/11 Suit

For Cozen O’Connor name partner Stephen A. Cozen, Friday’s release of 28 previously classified pages from the 9/11 report is an affirmation of what he has been arguing in court for 13 years—and may have come at just the right time.

The high court split 4-4 in June on the Obama administration's immigration policies, leaving in place a nationwide injunction.

Justice Dept. Urges the Supreme Court to Rehear Immigration Case

The U.S. Justice Department on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rehear a challenge to the Obama administration's plan to delay the deportation of nearly five million undocumented immigrants.

Obama Nominees Caught Between Judicial Dreams, Practice Realities

A plaintiffs lawyer in Honolulu. A civil litigator in Dallas. An attorney defending med-mal cases in Buffalo.

Two-Year J.D. Programs Catch On, With Some Missteps

Albany Law School is the latest to launch a two-year juris doctor program, and more than a dozen schools around the country now offer students the option to shave a year—and in some cases a year of tuition—off their legal educations.

Plaintiffs Bar Diversity Improves Slightly as Conversations Shift

By Lizzy McLellan |

While certain firms made individual gains in attorney diversity since last year, improvement in the number of minority and female trial attorneys remained sluggish from 2015 to 2016, based on The Legal's ninth annual survey examining diversity at the largest plaintiffs firms in the state.

Kimberly Kitchen, left, leaves the Huntingdon County Courthouse in Huntingdon, Pa., on March 24, 2016, after she was found guilty of posing as an attorney for nearly a decade. Kitchen was convicted March 24 on charges of forgery, unauthorized practice of law and felony records tampering in Huntingdon County.

A Pa. Lawyer Who Wasn't Faces Sentencing After Years of Deception

By Ben Seal |

Kimberly Kitchen's past began to unspool two years ago. Kitchen was, by all accounts, a generous member of the Huntingdon community whose volunteer work with charitable organizations made her a familiar face around town. She was also a forger who practiced law without a license, for which she was found guilty in March of two misdemeanors and a felony. As she prepares to be sentenced Tuesday, the Huntingdon County bar is picking up the pieces left behind by her ruse.

Bill Cosby departs after he learned at a preliminary hearing at Montgomery County Courthouse, in Norristown, PA, that the sexual assault case against him will move forward to trail.  May 24, 2016.

Cosby Can't Sue for Cooperation With DA

By Lizzy McLellan |

A federal judge has rejected Bill Cosby’s argument that cooperating with law enforcement can constitute a violation of a valid settlement agreement.

bankruptcy

Creditors Lose Standing to Pursue Debtor's Shareholders, Directors

By Andrew C. Kassner and Joseph N. Argentina Jr. |

One of the policies behind the ­bankruptcy process is bringing ­disputes regarding the debtor into one forum to avoid piecemeal litigation and ­dismemberment of the debtor's business and assets. For this reason, the Bankruptcy Code provides the bankruptcy trustee with the power to bring actions on behalf of creditors against third parties, the proceeds of which are returned to the bankruptcy ­estate for distribution to all creditors in order of priority.

Proposed 'Revenge Porn' Law Sparks Fresh Debate

A bill unveiled Thursday by Rep. Jackie Speier would crack down on so-called revenge porn. But some are wary it could run afoul of the First Amendment.

gavel

Sheriff's Sale Notices

The third publication of the Sheriff's Sale mortgage foreclosure notices for the August 2, 2016, sale, along with the July tax sales, are now available.

Attack in France Raises Security Concerns for Justices

For U.S. Supreme Court justices, summertime has meant travel time, with regular journeys to Europe to teach in summer law school programs in agreeable locales ranging from Salzburg to Siena. But as with the rest of society, security concerns are intruding on their serene tradition.

Torts and Track: Law Students Strive for Olympics

The road to Rio has been a rocky one for a group of law students and recent law graduates with Olympic aspirations.

Starship Technologies' robot.

Personal-Delivery Bots Pick Up Calif. Lobbyist as Startup Eyes New Market

By Cheryl Miller |

The robot invasion of California's sidewalks might not be that far off. Starship Technologies OU confirmed Friday that it's "definitely looking at California both for testing and future operations" of what the company calls a "personal courier." Starship recently retained the Sacramento lobbying office of Greenberg Traurig to help with the effort.

People in the News—July 18, 2016—Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel partner Victor Young served as co-chair for the second Leon H. Sullivan Community Hoops & Conference.

Stephen Cozen.

Cozen O'Connor Founder Says Release of '28 Pages' Boosts 9/11 Suit

By Gina Passerella |

The release of 28 previously classified pages from the 9/11 Commission report, says Steven Cozen, is an affirmation of what he's been arguing in court for 13 years—and it may have come at just the right time for his law firm, Cozen O'Connor.

How to Win Your New Business Pitch: Part Two

By Frank Michael D'Amore |

Last month, three recommendations were offered as to how a firm could improve its odds in winning a new business pitch. This month, three final tips are discussed.

Seven Reality-Based Marketing Questions You Should Be Asking

By Meg Charendoff |

In the latest issue of his occasional newsletter, my friend and colleague from the marketing world, Peter Darling of San Francisco-based Repechage Group, tells the story of a company—a midsized seller of high-end antiques—and its owner, who watches his sales decline, and feels his anxiety grow with every passing day.

Tylenol.

Judge Won't Ax Key Causation Report on Tylenol

By Max Mitchell |

The judge overseeing the Tylenol multidistrict litigation has rejected the over-the-counter drug manufacturer's bid to ax portions of a key report impacting a central controversy in the case.

Munich, Germany.

Pa. Firms Keep Eyes on Germany in Wake of Brexit Vote

By Lizzy McLellan |

In the wake of last month's Brexit vote, and in preparation for the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, some large Pennsylvania firms are looking to expand operations in Germany.

Signing a contract

Top Five Tips for Litigating Noncompete Agreements

By Cord Clayton |

When a key employee leaves a company, it can be traumatic for all concerned—the employer, the employee and even the new employer.

Hacker typing on a laptop with binary code in background

Cyberprivacy: It's Hard to Know What's Fair or Foul

By Leonard Deutchman |

The daily reports of the battle between Apple and the federal government to have Apple decrypt its iPhone are behind us now, but the lessons to be learned from that scrimmage are still fresh, and have not been in the least internalized. In this month's column, I will look at the matter and try to discern and discuss those lessons.

U.S. Supreme Court Tackles Series of Criminal Controversies

By Matthew T. Mangino |

The momentum for criminal justice reform, which was so promising in Congress early in the year, has fizzled out.

PCRA Can Cure Unconstitutional Mandatory Minimums

By Ben Seal |

A criminal defendant can use a timely filed Post-Conviction Relief Act petition to remedy an illegal sentence handed out under a mandatory minimum scheme found to be unconstitutional, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled.

Avoid being placed on inactive status.

By Samuel C. Stretton |

I practice in another jurisdiction, so I allowed my Pennsylvania law license to be placed on inactive status about 12 years ago. I recently saw that I am listed as administratively suspended. I don't understand how inactive status went to a suspension. Could you explain?

Gravity knife.

Pocket Knife an Illegal Weapon on School Grounds, Court Says

By Max Mitchell |

It's not only students who can get in trouble for bringing a pocket knife to school, parents too can face criminal charges, the Pennsylvania Superior Court said in a case of first impression.

Database Can't Determine 'Usual' Cost of Trauma Care

By Ben Seal |

An insurer cannot rely on an outside database to reduce reimbursement paid to a trauma care provider for an employee's injuries under the Workers' Compensation Act, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

State Budget Complete Two Weeks After Deadline

By John L. Kennedy |

Combining tax increases, loans and transfers, lawmakers sent Gov. Tom Wolf a revenue bill to go with an earlier approved spending plan. Wolf quickly signed the bill into law.

Capitol Report

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of July 11. Members of the House of Representatives are scheduled to return to Harrisburg on Sept. 19; Senate members on Sept. 26.

Abortion Restriction Bill Clears Senate Committee

By John L. Kennedy |

In the face of a renewed promise by Gov. Tom Wolf to veto the bill, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed along party lines HB 1948, which would amend the Abortion Control Act to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

For Gun Access, Involuntary Commitment Trumps Treatment Consent

By Ben Seal |

A Pennsylvania resident is prohibited from owning a gun by virtue of an involuntary commitment for mental health care, even if the commitment was preceded by consent to treatment, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

Boston Scientific headquarters in Marlborough, MA. Courtesy of Boston Scientific. (Photo by Warren Patterson).

Pelvic Mesh Likely to See Piecemeal, Not Global, Resolution

By Max Mitchell |

In the wake of a series of massive verdicts in cases over defective pelvic mesh, Boston Scientific is hammering out settlements, but, according to attorneys involved in the litigation, don't expect a global settlement in the MDL any time soon.

Faiza Saeed.

Cravath Elects Top M&A Partner Faiza Saeed as New Leader

By Julie Triedman |

Cravath, Swaine & Moore’s 89 partners have elected a new presiding partner, Faiza Saeed, to succeed C. Allen Parker, according to a person close to the firm.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady leaves federal court, in New York.

Tom Brady's Bid to Void Suspension in 'Deflategate' Rejected

By Mark Hamblett |

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s bid to win reversal of his four-game suspension over a conspiracy to deflate footballs—dubbed ‘Deflategate’—was rejected Wednesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Martin Shkreli

Trial Date Set in Shkreli, Greebel Criminal Case

Eastern District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto has set a trial date of June 26, 2017, in the criminal case against ex-pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli and attorney co-defendant Evan Greebel.

People in the News—July 15, 2016—Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel partner Walter W. Cohen was chosen by the Society of Attorneys General Emeritus to be the recipient of the Francis X. Bellotti Award.

verdicts and settlements

Court Finds Man Suffered Brain Damage From Teens' Assault

On March 31, 2012, plaintiff Ian Mitchell, a map designer in his 30s, was assaulted by a group of teenagers near his home, in Folcroft.

verdicts and settlements

Judge Approves Settlement in Egg Class Action

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A combined $8.4 million settlement between five defendants and direct purchasers and suppliers in national egg antitrust litigation has been approved by a federal judge.

Pokemon GO.

Pokemon Go Creator Catches a Privacy Letter from US Senator

By Cheryl Miller |

A U.S. senator with a history of probing tech privacy issues has asked the creator of the wildly popular Pokémon Go to detail what the company does with an array of information the mobile app collects from users’ phones.

L. Lin Wood, attorney in the Richard Jewell libel case. Wood argues the case at the Court of Appeals of Georgia.

Atlanta Lawyer Known for Tabloid Settlements Files Libel Suit on Behalf of Dr. Phil

By R. Robin McDonald |

Television psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Phil McGraw may be a bona fide celebrity, but his public figure status does not give tabloids carte blanche to smear him in print in order to sell newspapers, McGraw says in a $250 million lawsuit against the publisher of The National Enquirer and The Star.

People in the News—July 19, 2016—Reilly, Wolfson, Sheffey, Schrum and Lundberg

Reilly, Wolfson, Sheffey, Schrum and Lundberg added Joed Meck as bookkeeper and promoted Judy Reigle to office manager.

Reed Smith and Pro Golfer’s Caddie Forge Unique Sponsorship

Jason Day will tee off at The British Open on Thursday as the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world and with some of the best odds to take home the Claret Jug.

Merck sign, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey

Shakeup at Merck to Leave Legal Department Unrattled

By Lizzy McLellan |

Merck & Co. announced a number of changes to its research and development operations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey this week, but the company says the legal department will not be affected.

Sunoco Gets Eminent Domain for Mariner East Pipeline

By Ben Seal |

Sunoco's Mariner East 2 pipeline to carry natural gas through Pennsylvania is a public utility service with the ability to condemn property under eminent domain, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

Blank Rome Partners, Including Son of Firm Founder, Join Fox

By Gina Passarella |

Fox Rothschild has hired two longtime partners from Blank Rome who were conflicted out of their former firm after it acquired more than 100 partners and new practices from Dickstein Shapiro earlier this year.

Union League Member

Momjian, 'Giant' of Family Law Bar and Attorney to Celebrities, Dies at 82

By Max Mitchell |

Albert Momjian, a nationally known figure in family law, whose clients included celebrities Will Smith and Larry King, died Monday at the age of 82.

Why Police-Shooting Videos Sizzle on Social Media But Fizzle in Court

Viral videos of police shooting victims Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in their final moments have left much of the American public seething, saddened and convinced that deep-rooted racial bias led the officers to fire their weapons.

People in the News—July 14, 2016—Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young

The African American Museum in Philadelphia appointed Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young associate Shawn A. Hendricks to its board of directors.

Young Lawyers.Business of law

Top Five Lessons for New Attorneys Starting Out

By Tom Gushue |

I am approaching my fifth-year anniversary of becoming an attorney. As a new attorney, it can be very difficult ­adjusting to billable hours, dealing with demanding clients, and managing work stress. I have learned many valuable lessons in the past five years, and I'd like to share my top five lessons.

Row Over Hurricane Sandy Homes Must Be Decided in NJ, Federal Judge Rules

By Max Mitchell |

A dispute over a deal to provide prefabricated homes for victims of Hurricane Sandy should be transferred from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, a federal judge has ruled.

Ga. Justices Reboot Overdraft Fee Class Action Against SunTrust

The Georgia Supreme Court has revived a class action lawsuit challenging SunTrust Bank's debit card overdraft fees, siding with consumers over the bank's claims that allowing the suit would undermine the validity of contracts in the state.

Economic Factors Driving Increase in Nonlawyer Payment Inquiries

By Zack Needles |

As evidenced by a recent Pennsylvania Superior Court ruling invalidating an alleged fee-splitting arrangement between a law firm and an outside consultant, questions about the proper way for attorneys to pay nonlawyers who help generate business still arise frequently.

Judge Denies Duquesne's Bid to Toss Bias Claim Against Gormley

By Gina Passarella |

A federal judge in Pennsylvania has quickly denied Duquesne University's request that she reconsider allowing claims of retaliation and sex discrimination to proceed against new president Ken Gormley in a suit filed by a professor in the law school.

Judge Urges Doctor's Whistleblower Case Be Kept Out of Arbitration

By Max Mitchell |

A Philadelphia judge has urged the state Superior Court not to send to arbitration a doctor's whistleblower suit against Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals that alleges the health care company allowed a chiropractor to work there without proper credentials.

Justices to Take Rare Look at Peer Review Privilege Issue

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is set to consider whether peer review documents prepared by a health care facility's third-party contractor are privileged under the Pennsylvania Peer Review Protection Act.

GlaxoSmithKline headquaters.

Feds: Evidence Dispute Becoming 'Nonsensical' in Espionage Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Federal prosecutors say it would require a team of 18 FBI agents to implement the latest defense proposal for handling sensitive evidence belonging to GlaxoSmithKline.

'On-Call' Compensation Counts for Pension Calculation

By Ben Seal |

"On-call" service is included in the calculation of retirement benefits for Pennsylvania state employees, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

Ajay Raju, executive chairman and CEO of Dilworth Paxson. 2015. HANDOUT.

Changes at Dilworth: 'Identity Crisis' or 'Radical Vision'?

By Lizzy McLellan |

Dilworth Paxson's attorney head count has taken some noticeable hits in recent months, leading some to express concern for the firm's future, but its leader said he is encouraged by the shape Dilworth has taken since he began implementing a new strategy more than two years ago.

People in the News—July 13, 2016—Duane Morris

Duane Morris partner Paul Josephson of the firm's Cherry Hill, New Jersey, office was appointed New Jersey committee co-chair and to the board of directors of the Regional Plan Association (RPA).

Signage and a satellite dish grace the Univision Communications Inc. facility in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Univision Turns to Weil in Showdown With Cable Giant

By Jason Grant |

Spanish-language media titan Univision has hired New York-based Weil, Gotshal & Manges to press its case that Charter Communications is using its recent acquisition of Time Warner Cable to undercut the fees it must pay to Univision.

How to Capitalize on the Defend Trade Secrets Act

By Benjamin H. McCoy |

Recent developments in the intellectual property landscape have only served to enhance the value of trade secrets. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Alice v. CLS Bank International has led to an increasingly hostile patent marketplace.

Sid Steinberg

The FMLA Does Not Require a Warm Welcome Back to Work

By Sid Steinberg |

Must an employer engage in ­pleasantries and avoid critique of an employee's pre-Family and Medical Leave Act leave work performance when an employee returns to work after an FMLA leave?

Bill Cosby's defense team July 7, 2016, outside the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown. Pictured, from left, are Joseph Sarles,Christopher Tayback, Monique Pressley and Brian McMonagle.

Quinn Emanuel Withdraws From Cosby Criminal Case

Hours after withdrawing from Bill Cosby’s defense in the civil suits against the entertainer, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has pulled out of the criminal case.

Lawyers in Provigil Antitrust Case Argue Numerosity

Attorneys in reverse payment antitrust litigation over the sleep disorder drug Provigil faced questions from a federal appellate panel Tuesday on how small a class action can be.

handshake

Seeking NY Presence, Dilworth Partner Jumps to Montgomery McCracken

By Lizzy McLellan |

Dilworth Paxson lost another partner this week, when Michael J. Fekete of the Cherry Hill, New Jersey, office went to Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, in a move that was motivated in part by geographic footprint.

'I Could No Longer Live with Myself': Lawyers Reveal Their Struggles with Alcohol

Alcoholism is rampant in the legal profession. One in three lawyers struggles with a drinking problem, and that rate is worse than for physicians and other highly educated workers.

Family Law

The Legal's family law supplement covers paternity law, a new trend in international adoptions and child custody relocation in the digital age.

Unsealed Documents: Paterno Alerted to Sandusky Abuse in 1970s

By Max Mitchell |

Documents unsealed today show that several former Penn State football coaches either allegedly witnessed or heard reports of alleged abuse at the hands of convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky, but allegedly failed to report the abuse.

Paternity Law Is Changing With the Times–But Is it Too Much Too Fast?

By Craig B. Huffman |

Evolving standards of what constitutes a family are reflected in recent decisions in the Pennsylvania appellate courts. Determinations of paternity, i.e., who has parental responsibility for a child, typically involve two separate and distinct legal theories: the presumption of paternity and paternity by estoppel. These two theories of law are frequently confused although they serve very different purposes and should be analyzed separately.

The Pros and Cons of Reducing Divorce Wait Time

By Stephanie Stecklair |

Prior to the 1980 amendments of the Pennsylvania Divorce Code, parties were only able to obtain a divorce by establishing fault grounds under Pa.C.S. 23 Section 3301(a), i.e., desertion, adultery, cruel and barbarous treatment, bigamy, imprisonment for more than two years and indignities. We do not encounter many divorces that proceed under fault grounds because they require far more time and money to establish grounds.

Custody Relocation in the Digital Age

By Charles J. Meyer 
and Scott J.G. Finger |

Internet dating and networking programs such as Match.com, JDate, LinkedIn, and even Facebook, significantly increase the odds of a separated or divorced parent finding a new mate or a new job outside of his or her current geographical area. In order for that parent to move away to take the job, or to move forward with a new relationship, that parent must follow the procedure for a custody relocation as set forth in 23 Pa.C.S.A. Section 5337 and Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1915.17. Increased use of sophisticated technology by both parents and children has changed the way in which family law attorneys present relocation cases to the courts. Just as technology has made relocation a more likely event for a family, it may also make it easier for parents and children who live far apart to maintain their relationship and, therefore, easier for a parent seeking to relocate to present their case to the court.

Appellate Tips for Pennsylvania Family Lawyers

By Virginia Hinrichs McMichael |

You may be wondering why, as a family lawyer, you need appellate advice. After all, most of your cases settle. Of the cases that do go to trial, only a few of them are appealed to the Superior Court. So why worry about an appeal? Because you are likely to have an appeal to deal with sometime soon.

A Recent Trend in International Adoptions

By Kathleen M. Tana |

The area of adoption law, like other legal specialties, is subject to changes and trends. However, few areas of domestic relations practice are also subject to global influences and the shifting demands of international politics as is the field of international adoption law.

New Thoughts on Solving the Absentee Parent Problem

By Lawrence J. Persick |

Every family law practitioner has been there. The players are a little different each time but the roles are always the same. Usually it is a young mother complaining about a "dead beat dad" who is hardly in the picture. Sometimes it is a concerned grandparent who has been listening to the parent's heartache for far too long. Or it is a young father complaining about a mother with a mental health history who has walked out for the last time and left him to care for a young child alone.

People in the News—July 12, 2016—The Philadelphia Foundation

Anthony J. Conti became the chair of the board of managers of The Philadelphia Foundation, effective July 1.

Orrick's Peter Bicks leaves the Northern District of California during the Oracle v Google trial

Oracle Seeks to Revive Copyright Suit Against Google

Lawyers for Oracle America Inc. are seeking to revive the company's copyright lawsuit against Silicon Valley rival Google Inc., contending that the search giant withheld its plans to make Android apps available on laptops and desktops.

Snapchat Hit With Class Action Over Racy Content

By Ben Hancock |

Snapchat Inc., the developer of the popular image messaging app, was hit July 7 with a nationwide class action alleging that the company targets minors with sexually explicit content.

Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky

At Stanford Law, Two Schools of Thought on Persky Recall

By Karen Sloan |

The month-old campaign to remove Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky from the bench has divided the Stanford Law School community, with faculty and students lining up to voice support and opposition to the recall effort.

Fox News Suit Could Hinge on Disparate Arbitration Stances in NY, NJ

A sexual harassment suit filed against Fox News Network chairman and CEO Roger Ailes by former anchor Gretchen Carlson is influenced by varying climates in New Jersey and New York when it comes to arbitration agreements.

Alan Nochumson

Confessed Judgment Stricken Because of Inconspicuous Warrant of Attorney

By Alan Nochumson |

Most commercial lease and loan documents contain what is ­commonly known as a warrant of attorney.

Howard J. Bashman

Supreme Court Report Card: How Third Circuit Fared in 2015-16 Term

By Howard J. Bashman |

The U.S. Supreme Court's recently concluded 2015-16 term will likely be most remembered for Justice Antonin Scalia's unexpected passing, for the deadlocked cases and stymied ­confirmation process that followed, and for the court's unexpectedly liberal rulings in closely watched cases involving affirmative action in college admissions and abortion rights.

Lawyers Won't Be Replaced By Robots Anytime Soon

Employment data and experts agree that increasing technology may change lawyers' jobs, but not eliminate them.

Business handshake and business people

Notable Mergers, Departures Show Through in Pa. Firm Head Counts

By Lizzy McLellan |

While Pennsylvania's largest law firms maintained a steady head count overall in 2015, a number of firms experienced noticeable gains and decreases due to mergers, strings of departures or group moves, according to data reported by Legal affiliate The National Law Journal.

Formerly Suicidal Man Allowed to Own Guns, Judge Rules

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Jonathan Yox can't be prohibited from owning a gun simply because he was commited to a mental institution as a teenager, Judge John E. Jones III ruled Monday.

Mother Sues Central Pa. Prison Over Daughter’s Detox Death

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Claiming her daughter died because prison staff ignored her heroin withdrawal symptoms, a mother has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Lebanon County Correctional Facility.

Food Allergy Lawsuits Can Be a Tough Nut to Crack

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Legal experts and observers note food allergy lawsuits are difficult to prosecute because of the difficulty of proving that food servers should have known about a particular customer's risk for an allergic reaction.

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

Pa. OAG's Legal Tab for Retaliation Suits Passes $430K

By Ben Seal |

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General has run up a $436,065 tab fighting a series of lawsuits alleging various forms of retaliation on the part of Attorney General Kathleen Kane, chief of staff Jonathan Duecker and other members of the office.

‘A Bill That’s Come Due’: Lawyers Who Wore Badges Lament Shootings

In the wake of five police officers being shot to death in Dallas Thursday night and two years worth of mounting outrage and social unrest over the deaths of black civilians at the hands of police, attorneys with law enforcement backgrounds expressed dismay and sadness at recent events, lamented it could get worse after the Dallas shootings, and chalked up many of the deaths to a combination of stress, blind spots in training and for some, racial bias.

Exposure to Liability Mounts for DuPont in C8 Fallout

DuPont Co. saw its exposure to liability seem to grow in the wake of a bellwether mass tort case, as it faces a sea of lawsuits related to its dumping of chemically tainted water into the Ohio River, after a federal jury in Ohio this week awarded $5.1 million in compensatory damages to a man who developed cancer.

Bullying Lawsuits Across the US Spotlight Litigation Challenges

Bart Palosz, 15, shot and killed himself on the first day of school in 2013 after years of alleged bullying. In a wrongful death lawsuit against the town of Greenwich, Connecticut, and its school district, his parents claim the school did nothing to curtail the constant attacks on the socially awkward teen.

Williams & Connolly attorney David Kendall, left, sits behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a House hearing of the Select Committee on Benghazi, on Thursday, October 22, 2015.

Tough Words for Clinton’s Lawyers as FBI Drops Email Probe

By Susan Beck |

After a year of legal and political drama, Hillary Clinton finally appears to have evaded criminal prosecution by the U.S. Department of Justice for her handling of confidential government emails during her tenure as U.S. secretary of state. But her longtime lawyers at Williams & Connolly have come under scrutiny for suggested carelessness in the protracted investigation.

Screenshot on 7/6/16 off Youtube of the “legendary tv pitchman” Kevin Trudeau.

Infomercial Legend Kevin Trudeau Sells His Contempt Case to Supreme Court

By C. Ryan Barber and Marcia Coyle |

On the TV screen, Kevin Trudeau claimed to have cures for everything from hair loss to cancer, pitching products such as an addiction treatment method that was advertised to “work virtually 100 percent of the time.”

Adnan Syed enters Courthouse East in Baltimore prior to a hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016.  After spending 16 years in prison, Syed, convicted of murder, who was at the center of the podcast

Hogan Lovells Joins Adnan Syed's Pro Bono Defense Team

The defense team for Adnan Syed has brought on some Big Law assistance as it prepares for a new criminal trial, granted by a Maryland state trial court last week.

Reed Smith Washington, D.C. offices. November 12, 2014.

People in the News—Reed Smith—July 11, 2016

Reed Smith partner Carolyn P. Short was elected to membership into American Law Institute (ALI).

Jason Itkin of Arnold & Itkin. Courtesy photo.

In Risperdal Case, a Breakthrough Verdict?: Q&A With Jason Itkin

By Max Mitchell |

Q&A with Jason Itkin, an attorney with the Houston-based firm Arnold & Itkin, who won a $70 million award in Philadelphia for a boy who claimed drugmaker Janssen Pharmaceuticals failed warn that Risperdal, the antipsychotic drug the boy took to control his violent behavior, would lead him to grow breasts.

verdicts and settlements

Phila. Jury Finds Against Janssen in Latest Risperdal Trial

A Philadelphia jury hit Janssen Pharmaceuticals with a $70 million verdict in a case over the antipsychotic drug Risperdal. The case, which was the fifth to go to trial from Philadelphia's Risperdal-related mass tort program, resulted in the largest award out of that program by a factor of nearly 30.

verdicts and settlements

Jury Sides With Police Officer in Suit Against Suspect Over Crash

On March 6, 2014, plaintiff Shaun Smallwood, 32, a police officer, was driving on Cumberland Street, in Northeast Philadelphia, when a minivan struck his car, head-on.

People In The News—Pa. Law Weekly—July 12, 2016—McCausland Keen + Buckman

Glenn S. Gitomer, chair of the litigation department and shareholder of McCausland Keen + Buckman, was appointed chairman of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's discovery task force.

Pittston Poster Child for Under-Funded Pension Plans

By John L. Kennedy |

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the city of Pittston was short more than $230,000 of its minimum pension payment in 2015—the second consecutive year the city did not meet its pension obligation on time.

Bank Can't Shield Consultant's Documents From Discovery

By Ben Seal |

A bank cannot apply the work-product doctrine to a series of communications exchanged by a consultant it hired to operate an indebted construction company, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled.

Court OKs Legal Malpractice Case Over Estate Guidance

By Ben Seal |

A woman suing her former attorney for legal malpractice and breach of contract over advice that reduced her share of her husband's estate can proceed with her lawsuit, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled, despite the fact that she agreed to a settlement with the estate after obtaining new counsel.

Appellate Courts Prepare to Transition Interim Appointees

By Ben Seal |

Pennsylvania's appellate courts have grown accustomed to operating shorthanded. The Superior and Commonwealth courts have been working with five open seats, combined, for the past several months, and the state Supreme Court hasn't had a full complement of seven justices in nearly two years. Reinforcements are on the way.

vote sign

Volatile Political Climate Makes Judicial Retirement Vote Unpredictable

By Zack Needles |

In a year in which Pennsylvanians—still reeling from a wave of judicial and political corruption—will be casting their votes in controversial and hotly contested presidential, U.S. Senate and state attorney general races, the outcome of a November vote on whether to raise the judicial retirement age is anything but a foregone conclusion, political observers said.

A logo sign outside of facility occupied by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, in Somerville, New Jersey on May 31, 2015.

Risperdal Plaintiffs Gain Leverage in Wake of $70M Verdict

By Max Mitchell |

The $70 million verdict a Philadelphia jury levied against Janssen Pharmaceuticals on July 1 may not survive challenges that it is excessive, but the award was a definitive win for the plaintiffs in the Risperdal mass tort litigation, attorneys who work in the pharmaceutical arena said.

Kenneth Racowski

'Chocolate' Decision Confirms High Evidentiary Standard in Price-Fixing

By kenneth L. Racowski |

In In re Chocolate Confectionary Antitrust Litigation, 801 F.3d 383 (3d Cir. 2015), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld the district court's dismissal of claims alleging an international conspiracy to raise the price of chocolate candy bars by the three leading U.S. chocolate manufacturers.

Title IX and Student Behavior on Social Media

By Dina Leytes and Christine E. Weller |

As our digital presence and "real" lives become increasingly intertwined, schools must determine where their obligation to review and investigate harmful student behavior starts and stops. As an example, pursuant to Department of Education guidance, a school is considered to be on notice of a potential Title IX violation if a responsible school employee knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, about the alleged incident of sexual violence. This encompasses direct complaints from a victim as well as indirect notice from a member of the local community, on a social networking site, or from the media.

Own Up to Your Mistake and Give the Client Time to Consider a Settlement Offer

By Samuel C. Stretton |

I discovered my associate missed a statute of limitations on a small personal-injury case. I brought the client in and fully explained everything to the client and gave the client the letter telling the client that the firm was neglectful.

Angela Giampolo

The LGBT Community Takes on the NRA and Gun Control

By Angela D. Giampolo |

This quote went viral immediately after the Orlando massacre, and it is spot on.

Pa. Courts Address 'Unconscionability' in Business Contracts

By Louis A. DePaul and George Jiang |

Businesses seeking to sell goods or services to consumers frequently include provisions in consumer contracts that place limitations on liability or set out mandatory dispute resolution provisions.

Capitol Report

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative activity for the week of July 5. Members of the General Assembly are at the call of legislative leaders.

Daniel J. Siegel

Ex Parte Communications and Email: Ask Permission

By Daniel J. Siegel |

Consider the following scenario. Opposing counsel and you are having a candid email discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of your respective positions in an effort to narrow the issues that the judge in your case will need to decide. A day or two after the exchange, you receive a copy of an email from opposing counsel to the judge in which he writes: "Attached for your reading is an email string between me and adverse counsel which frames the discovery dispute and positions of each party. I'm supplying it now for your pre-hearing review, if you're able, because I plan to raise the dispute at the proceeding for your ruling then or later."

L-R Judge Vince Chhabria and Judge Paul Grewal. Article Size for website

Ex-Judge Grewal Gets Satiric Send-Off in Twitter TCPA Ruling

Not one month removed from the federal bench in the Northern District of California, former Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal is already a foil in one of his ex-colleague's opinions.

Katherine Forrest

Judge Sanctions DLA Piper Partner, Former Firm Associate

False testimony under oath and the violation of a direct court order not to interfere with the interview of witnesses by opposing counsel has led a federal judge to sanction a DLA Piper partner and a former attorney with the firm.

Business handshake and business people

People in the News—July 8, 2016—Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young

Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young partners Gregory D. DiMeglio and Michael P. O'Hare spoke at the Investment Company Institute's recent 2016 legal forum in Washington, D.C.

Lawyer Settles OAG Claims That He Misled Debtors' Families

By Gina Passarella |

A law firm that allegedly attempted to intimidate family members into paying off their loved ones' medical bills has settled civil charges levied against it by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General for $6,432.

Avoiding Unanimity Rule, Court Upholds Split Arb Panel's $15.7M Award

By Tom McParland |

In affirming a $15.7 million arbitration award in a real estate dispute, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that courts may infer consent to the majority decision of an arbitration panel when the parties agree to have two partisan arbitrators select a third, neutral arbitrator.

Bill Cosby's defense team July 7, 2016, outside the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown. Pictured, from left, are Joseph Sarles,Christopher Tayback, Monique Pressley and Brian McMonagle.

Cosby Loses Latest Bid to Derail Sexual Assault Trial

By Lizzy McLellan |

Bill Cosby, who faces charges for the alleged sexual assault of Andrea Constand in 2005, lost his most recent bid at having the charges against him dismissed, and will not get a new preliminary hearing.

As Merger Fever Continues, Phila. Market Is Hot

By Lizzy McLellan |

As law firms nationwide experience a record pace for mergers and acquisitions, Philadelphia-area firms have accounted for a significant share of the activity.

Bank to Settle RICO Class Action Claims for $37.5M

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Zions First National Bank, sued for an allegedly fraudulent telemarketing scheme that resulted in unauthorized charges to bank consumers’ accounts, has agreed to settle RICO claims against it for $37.5 million.

IRS Investigating Facebook Over Ireland Asset Transfer

By Ross Todd |

The Justice Department filed a petition on Wednesday to force Facebook to comply with records requests that probe whether the company undervalued the Ireland deal by billions of dollars.

Christian Petrucci

When an Interlocutory Order Is Not

By Christian Petrucci |

In the recent Commonwealth Court case of Department of Labor and Industry, Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Gerretz) No. 455 C.D.2015, the court ­addresses an issue somewhat unique to the workers' compensation practice—whether an order that is clearly marked "interim/interlocutory" and specifically provides on the face of the decision cover letter that "this interim/interlocutory order is not ­subject to appeal," is actually subject to appeal.

Businessman texting

Issues Affecting Distracted-Driving Motor Vehicle Litigation

By Christopher Marzzacco |

Why do motor vehicle crashes ­happen? Well, motor vehicle crash litigators will tell you that most crashes are caused by some type of driver distraction. So, from a litigator's point of view, it seems like everyone's ­driving distracted and these distractions cause serious damage.

Steven Davis leaves court on Tuesday October 13, 2015..101315 trailed by his attorney Elkan Abramowitz

Former Dewey Chairman Ordered to Pay Bank $400K

A state judge in Manhattan has directed former Dewey & LeBoeuf chairman Steven Davis to pay Citibank nearly $400,000 that his attorney said served as a capital contribution to the failed law firm.

Suit Over Patient's Suicide Can Proceed, Minus Punitives

By Zack Needles |

A wrongful death and survival suit can proceed against several health care organizations over a behavioral health patient's suicide, but the patient's estate will not be able to seek punitive damages, a Lackawanna County trial judge has ruled.

Flags of the European Union, of which the European Community is a pillar. The European Community won the right to proceed with its racketeering suit against RJR Nabisco.

Latin America Won't Escape Brexit Impact

By Monika Gonzalez Mesa |

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union has created a lot of uncertainty in the world, but there is little doubt that the economic and political ripple effects caused by the Brexit vote will do harm in Latin America.

People in the News—July 7, 2016—Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young

Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young counsel Peter L. Tsirigotis was part of the panel, "Navigating Hedge Fund Marketing Rules and Regulations," at Cap-Intro East held June 23 in New York.

Lawyer and Concert Promoter Admit to Scam

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A lawyer and his concert promoter client pleaded guilty in federal court to scamming investors out of money they claimed would be used to promote big-name artists such as Beyonce and Jay Z.

<b>ON THE DEFENSE:</b> Entertainer Bill Cosby faces allegations that he drugged and ­molested women throughout his career.

Cosby to Press for Confrontation as Due-Process Right

By Lizzy McLellan |

Bill Cosby is set to argue in court Thursday that criminal charges agsinst him should be dismissed, relying on an argument whose validity could hinge on a pending Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision.

penn state

Paternos Ask to Quash 1970s Sandusky Claimant Subpoenas

By Max Mitchell |

The family of the deceased Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who have alleged he was defamed in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal, have challenged subpoenas the NCAA sent out seeking information about victims who were alleged to have been molested by Sandusky in the 1970s.

Thomas Saylor, left, and Max Baer, right.

Court Sends Judicial Retirement Question to November Vote

By Ben Seal |

Pennsylvania voters are set to see a judicial retirement age ballot question again for the first time this November after the Commonwealth Court ruled Wednesday against a group of Senate Democrats challenging its delay.

Latent Defects and Implied Warranties in New Construction

By Harper J. Dimmerman 
and James M. Lammendola |

A three-judge Pennsylvania Superior Court panel, in the nonprecedential decision of Streiner v. Baker Residential of Pennsylvania, No. 1253 EDA 2015, filed June 9, recently affirmed a Chester County trial court judge's ­decision to award summary judgment to a home builder, holding that the homeowner's sales agreement for the newly constructed house disclaimed any implied warranty for ­ merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, reasonable workmanship or ­habitability and found that the disclaimer did not render the sales agreement unconscionable.

Time Clock

New Overtime Rules—Not the Holiday Present Employers Were Hoping For

By Brian J. Hoffman |

The Department of Labor's new overtime regulations become effective in December 2016, just in time for the holiday season. Suffice it to say, this will be viewed as "coal in the stocking" for many U.S. employers.

Advice for Young Lawyers: How to Maximize Your Conference Experience

By The YL Editorial Board |

In the life of a busy young lawyer, ­attending a professional conference is typically a significant investment of time and resources. It's easy to get lost in the sea of attendees and follow the agenda mindlessly, but we encourage young lawyers to take stock of the incredible ­learning, networking, and business development ­opportunities available at these conferences and consider adopting a proactive approach to preparing for, participating during, and following through after a conference.

Split Supreme Court Raises EPA Regulation Questions

By Katherine L. Vaccaro |

In the wake of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's passing on Feb. 13, the court has been attracting attention for its recent 4-4 decisions in some high-profile cases. Most notably, in United States v. Texas, the court split when reviewing the federal government's appeal from a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decision that halted certain parts of President Obama's immigration plan. The Supreme Court also voted 4-4 in three other cases over the past several months.

Vasilios J. Kalogredis

Interacting With 'Excluded' Individuals Could Mean Monetary Penalties

By Vasilios J. Kalogredis |

Federal health care programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, CHAMPUS, VA, etc. are prohibited from issuing payments for goods or services that are directly or indirectly provided by an ­individual or entity that has been deemed by the Office of Inspector General as "excluded." This article will explain what it means to be an "excluded" individual or entity and the negative effects a health care practice could suffer if it engages, employs, or consults with an excluded person or organization.

People in the News—Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young—July 5, 2016

Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young counsel Jana Landon was elected to the Center for Literacy's executive board.

Associate Salary Stratification More Likely in 'Buyer’s Market'

Since Cravath, Swaine & Moore upped the ante on associate salaries last month, others in the big law community have responded gradually, some going all-in and others devising region-specific pay scales. In the current market, industry watchers said, the salary game has changed, and most firms will need to take the more thoughtful approach.

Fees Could Become Bone of Contention in Aftermath of VW Accord

Plaintiffs lawyers have repeatedly made reference to the arduous negotiations that led to a $14.7 billion settlement agreement last week with Volkswagen A.G. over the automaker’s emissions scandal, but a more difficult road could be ahead over their fees.

Macy's Herald Square

Macy's Barred From Detaining Shoplifters, Demanding Damages

Macy's has been blocked from detaining suspected shoplifters and demanding they agree to pay damages before they are released.

Police Dashcam Videos Releasable as Public Records, Court Rules

A New Jersey appeals court on June 30 ruled that police video recordings taken from dashboard cameras are documents that must be released under the state's Open Public Records Act.

First Deputy Attorney General Bruce Beemer walks from a contempt hearing for Patrick Reese, a top aide to Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, on Dec. 7, 2015, at the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown.

AG Kane's First Deputy to Become Inspector General

By Ben Seal |

Bruce Beemer, first deputy in the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and an occasional thorn in the side of Attorney General Kathleen Kane, is leaving the office to become the state's next inspector general.

Exploited Children Can Sue Abusers, Appeals Court Rules

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

An appeals court has overturned a Philadelphia federal judge’s ruling that criminal restitution paid by a child pornographer to the girl he pleaded guilty to exploiting allowed him to escape a lawsuit from his victim.

Temple Promotes Law School Dean

By Karen Sloan |

JoAnne Epps will replace the school's ousted top academic.

Concept of success of a businessman

Dickie McCamey Opens California Office

By Lizzy McLellan |

Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote has opened a new office in a Los Angeles suburb, making for the firm’s first office on the West Coast.

Associate Salary Stratification More Likely in 'Buyer’s Market'

By Lizzy McLellan |

As firms adapt to new standards for associate pay, many of them are likely to adopt pay structures that vary by office location, consultants and recruiters said. And while that phenomenon is nothing new, they said, client pressure is likely to have a growing role in how those decisions are made.

Net Operating Cap Phase-Out Bill Moving Through Senate

By John L. Kennedy |

The Senate Finance Committee approved a measure that would ultimately eliminate the cap on the amount of losses corporations can write off against income in future years. The sponsor of the bill (SB 598), Sen. Bob Mensch, R-Berks, said he introduced it in anticipation of the Supreme Court's Nov. 23, 2015, decision in Nextel Communications of the Mid-Atlantic v. Commonwealth, which could result in the elimination or change in the cap.

Role of Schools in Transgender Bathroom Laws

By Megan Watson |

The practice of family law often intersects with the LGBTQ community, from adoptions to domestic partnership dissolutions to adult name changes for transgendered individuals. Our practice also regularly intersects with school law, including advocating for our clients' children with regard to special education or with their right to dress a certain way or identify with a gender other than that of their biological sex. For those who have worked with a transgender client or child during transition, you are already aware of the obstacles he or she may encounter.

People in the News—July 5, 2016—Burns White

Burns White added trial attorneys Ruth R. Wessel as a member and Kirsten B. Hare as an associate in its Philadelphia office.

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby, right, arrives for a court appearance Feb. 3, 2016, in Norristown.

Cosby Aims to Avoid Deposition in His Own Lawsuit

By Lizzy McLellan |

At a hearing on Bill Cosby's breach of contract lawsuit against the woman who accused him of sexual assault and her lawyers, an attorney for Cosby argued that the comedian should not have to sit for a deposition while his criminal case is pending.

People In The News—Pa. Law Weekly—July 05, 2016—Rothman Gordon

William E. Lestitian was re-elected by firm shareholders as managing shareholder and as a member of the executive committee of the law firm Rothman Gordon.

Rear-Ender Leads to Surgeries, Settlement For Injured Driver

A man who underwent a pair of surgeries and more than a year of physical therapy after his vehicle was rear-ended while driving on Interstate 95 in Philadelphia has reached a mediated settlement of $700,000 with the driver who hit him and the driver's company.

Jury Sides With Defendant in Parking Lot Accident Case

On July 19, 2012, plaintiff Rose Marchitello, 64, retired, was involved in an accident in a store's parking lot in North Versailles. She was stopped in one of the parking lot's lanes, waiting for a vehicle to pull out of a handicapped-parking space, when the left rear corner of her 1997 Buick Park Avenue was struck by the rear of a Jeep Patriot backing out of a parking space. She claimed a broken thumb.

No Presumed Damages Under Dragonetti Act, Court Holds

By Zack Needles |

Damages do not automatically follow a finding of a Dragonetti Act violation, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled.

Ruling Allowing Distress Tort Claim Against Insurer Stands

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has declined to review a Superior Court ruling that a tort claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress—which arose from a perceived threat of disclosing childhood sexual abuse during a workers' compensation dispute—should not be barred under the workers' compensation exclusion in the Pennsylvania workplace injury statute.

Local Gun Laws Returning After Supreme Court Ruling

By Ben Seal |

When Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray told his community he wouldn't cave to a legal challenge and repeal the city's gun laws, a former mayor offered $1,000 to a legal defense fund backing the decision. Gray matched the donation, and before long "people were coming out of the woodwork" to support the city's legal defense, he said.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration main campus building. September 11, 2014. Photo: ALM.

Phila. Company Sues FDA Over 'Rare' Rescission of Drug Approval

By Ben Seal |

Lannett Co., a Philadelphia pharmaceutical company, has sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for revoking its approval of a new chemotherapy medicine.

Judge Approves $8.4M Settlement in Egg Class Action

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A combined $8.4 million settlement between five defendants and direct purchasers and suppliers in national egg antitrust litigation has been approved by a federal judge.

Liquor License Transfer Denials Still Appealable, Judge Says

By Zack Needles |

A Chester County trial judge has ruled that while a 2006 amendment to the Pennsylvania Liquor Code barred businesses from appealing local government denials of intermunicipal liquor license transfers, there is no prohibition on appealing subsequent denials by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

In Crashworthiness Ruling, Both Sides See Post-'Tincher' Win

By Max Mitchell |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court's recent decision in a crashworthiness case against Volvo may have secured a new trial for the plaintiffs, but both the plaintiffs and defense bars are viewing the ruling as a potential win in a highly unsettled products liability landscape following the Tincher v. Omega Flex decision.

FINRA Execs Continue to Earn Big Bucks

By ThinkAdvisor |

CEO Richard Ketchum was paid $2.9 million in 2015, while head of regulatory affairs Susan Axelrod earned $1.1 million

Judge Ronald Whyte, United States District Court for the Northern District of California

Class Certification Denied in Facebook Privacy Suit

A federal judge in San Jose has denied class certification in a long-running case claiming that Facebook Inc. disclosed users' personally identifiable information to advertisers when they clicked on some Facebook ads.

Richard Roberts.

Former D.C. Chief Judge Fights Sexual Assault Suit

Richard Roberts, the former chief judge of the federal trial court in Washington, this week asked a judge in Utah to dismiss a civil lawsuit that accuses Roberts of sexual assault 35 years ago.

The Arnold & Itkin trial team stands with Terry Yount, center, Andrew Yount's father.  July 1, 2016.

Janssen Hit With $70M Verdict in Latest Risperdal Trial

By Max Mitchell |

A unanimous Philadelphia jury July 1 handed down a $70 million verdict against Janssen Pharmaceuticals in the latest trial over the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.

People in the News—July 1, 2016—ConnorsO'Dell

ConnorsO'Dell hired Michael P. Laffey as a partner in its casualty practice trial group.

After Impasse, This Year's Budget on Steady Pace

By John L. Kennedy |
penn state

Judge Nixes PSU's Appeal in Sandusky Settlement Coverage Row

By Max Mitchell |

A Philadelphia judge has denied Penn State's bid to immediately appeal a recent decision that barred it from receiving coverage for much of the settlement payments it made to alleged victims of convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky.

GlaxoSmithKline headquaters.

Feds Want Security Guards to Handle GSK Trade Secrets Evidence

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Prosecutors in a corporate espionage case against two GlaxoSmithKline scientists and three co-conspirators have asked the court to consider assigning a private security detail to transport evidence to the defendants—and stay with them until the defendants are done looking at it.

VW Addressing Claims on More Vehicles as States Sign Off on Settlement

Volkswagen AG, which earlier this week agreed to pay up to $14.7 billion to resolve private and regulatory claims related to 475,000 Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles, is working to resolve claims related to 85,000 3.0-liter diesel vehicles.

Lack of Women Arbitrators Stems from 'Institutional Bias,' Says JAMS Leader

Why aren’t there more women arbitrators? Chris Poole, chief executive officer of JAMS, the dispute resolution company, says it’s primarily because of stereotyping in the legal profession.

FILE - In this July 1, 2014 file photo, Philadelphia Police and Fire Department investigate the scene of a food truck explosion in the Northeast section of Philadelphia. Authorities say a mother and daughter have died of injuries they suffered when a food truck exploded in Philadelphia earlier this month. The city medical examiner's office confirmed Thursday that 17-year-old Jaylin Steffany Landaverry Galdanez died Tuesday and 42-year-old Olga Galdanez died Sunday. The mother owned the truck. (AP Photo/Philadelphia Daily News, C.F. Sanchez, File)  THE EVENING BULLETIN OUT, TV OUT; MAGS OUT; NO SALES

U-Haul Fights Consolidation of Food Truck Explosion Cases

By Max Mitchell |

Efforts are underway to consolidate several lawsuits filed over a fatal food truck explosion that happened two years ago in Philadelphia, but defendant U-Haul is pushing back.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane

Kane Aide: Judge Should Have Recused from Contempt Case

By Lizzy McLellan |

An aide to Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who has been found guilty of criminal contempt and sentenced to jail time, has argued that the judge who found him guilty should not have heard the case, and that there was not enough evidence to support the conviction.

VW Agrees to $14.7 Billion Accord Over Faulty Emissions Controls

By Amanda Bronstad |

Volkswagen AG has agreed to pay up to $14.7 billion to resolve consumer class actions filed over last year’s emissions scandal.

GoPro Sues Polaroid Over Patent Infringement

Adventure camera company GoPro Inc. is going after the companies behind a rival Polaroid-branded camera with claims of patent infringement.

Credit: inarik/iStockphoto.com

From Golden Girls to Tracing Lincoln's Footsteps: How These Pa. Lawyers Survived the Bar Exam

By Lizzy McLellan |

We asked several prominent Pennsylvania lawyers how they managed the stress of studying for the bar exam.

Shkedy/Smolen

Prince's Death Puts Spotlight on Dying Without a Will

By Rebecca Rosenberger Smolen 
and Amy Neifeld Shkedy |

On April 21, the musician/artist Prince, died without a will. While it seems shocking that someone so wealthy and famous, with an estate ­predicted to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, would die leaving no will, he was not alone. In fact, statistical studies have shown that at least 55 percent of Americans die without a will or estate plan in place.

Rudolph J. Di Massa Jr. and Jarret P. Hitchings

A Tale of Two States: Puerto Rico and Chapter 9

By Rudolph J. Di Massa Jr. 
and Jarret P. Hitchings |

Puerto Rico is in the midst of a ­financial crisis. Over the past few years, its public debt skyrocketed while its government revenue sharply declined. In order to address its economic problems and to avoid mass public-worker layoffs and cuts in public services, the unincorporated U.S. territory issued billions of dollars in face value of municipal bonds. These bonds were readily saleable to investors in the United States due to their tax-exempt status and comparatively high yields. Now, however, Puerto Rico is unable to service its extraordinary public debt and has begun to default. While the specific causes of this crisis can be debated, the U.S. Supreme Court in Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust, No. 15-233 (U.S. June 13, 2016) recently confirmed that two restructuring tools are unavailable to Puerto Rico and its distressed municipalities: relief under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and local legislation providing for the nonconsensual ­restructuring of municipal indebtedness.

Capitol Report

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive, legislative and judiciary activity for the week of June 27. Members of the General Assembly were likely to return to session after the July 4 holiday, but no certain date was set.

In Today's Over-Regulated Climate, It's Not Wise For Judges to Charge for Weddings

By Samuel C. Stretton |

What is the status of judges being paid monies for weddings conducted in the evenings and weekends and not on judicial property? The issue of weddings and judges at times can be controversial as seen by issues raised one or two years ago after same-sex marriages were allowed in Pennsylvania.

Army Corps' Jurisdictional Determinations Are Immediately Appealable

By Hayley Easton |

On May 31, in a unanimous ruling, the eight-member U.S. Supreme Court held that a final determination by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) as to whether a property contains "waters of the United States," subject to Clean Water Act regulations, is a final agency action subject to judicial review under the Administrative Procedure Act, as in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes, 578 U.S. (2016).

People in the News—June 30, 2016—Clark Hill

Vanessa M. Kelly joined Clark Hill's labor and employment practice group in the Princeton, New Jersey, office.

Pro-choice demonstrators celebrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 27 after the court struck down parts of a restrictive Texas anti-abortion law.

SCOTUS Abortion Decision Stirs Movement in Pa.

By Ben Seal |

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Monday that struck down abortion clinic restrictions in Texas has spurred advocates to bring Pennsylvania and other states in compliance with the decision.

GlaxoSmithKline headquaters.

Feds Want Security Guards to Handle Evidence in GSK Theft Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

In an effort to protect GlaxoSmithKlines’ trade secrets, prosecutors in a corporate espionage case against two GSK scientists and three co-conspirators have asked the court to consider assigning a private security detail to handle the transportation of evidence.

Burns White Grows Med Mal Group With Obermayer Attorneys

By Lizzy McLellan |

Two medical malpractice attorneys from Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, including the co-chair of that practice, have joined Burns White, further adding to the latter firm's growing litigation bench.

State Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Philadelphia, during a news conference April 4, 2013, in Philadelphia.

Does High Court Ruling on Bribery Help Accused Phila. Politicians?

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision imposing stricter standards for prosecuting bribery could shift the scales in favor of two Philadelphia politicians' corruption cases.

Gejaa Gobena of the Fraud Section at the U.S. Department of Justice. October 24, 2011. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

DOJ Health Care Fraud Prosecution Head Joins Hogan Lovells

The head of the U.S. Department of Justice's health care fraud unit in the Criminal Division is joining Hogan Lovells, the firm announced Monday morning. Gejaa Gobena will be a white-collar defense partner in the firm's Washington office.

Bob McDonnell.

Justices Unanimously Reverse Ex-Virginia Governor’s Public Corruption Conviction

By Zoe Tillman and Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday unanimously reversed the public corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell, narrowing the scope of official conduct that can land politicians in trouble under federal bribery law.

Time Clock

Final Rule Alters Salary Threshold for Overtime Pay

By Christopher M. Helms |

The Rolling Stones said it best: "Time is on my side, yes it is." This has never been more accurate after the publication of the much-anticipated final rule updating overtime regulations, as an estimated 4.2 million workers who were previously exempt from receiving overtime pay may be eligible for overtime starting Dec. 1, 2016.

What Constitutes a Zoning Map Change for Notice Requirements

By Blaine A. Lucas and Alyssa E. Golfieri |

On March 2, the Commonwealth Court rendered a decision in Embreeville Redevelopment v. Board. of Supervisors of West Bradford Township, 134 A.3d 1122 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2016), which clarified when a zoning ordinance amendment, although solely textual on its face, constitutes a zoning map change and triggers the additional notice requirements under Section 609(b) of the Municipalities Planning Code, 53 P.S. Section 10609(b).

How Mindfulness Can Help You Professionally

By Dena Lefkowitz |

"In order to practice, you must be present in your mind," said the yoga teacher at the beginning of a recent class. So it goes with any practice whether it be law, medicine, or running a business. In order to be fully present, however, you must find a way to be calm. That's the tricky part.

Canna Business 101: Packaging and Labeling Compliance

By Steven M. Schain |

It doesn't end with 100 percent federal ­illegality and rigorous Drug Enforcement Agency and Department of Treasury oversight.

Clock Doesn't Start Until a Corrective Deed Is Recorded

By Frank Kosir |

In recent months, Pennsylvania courts have issued several important decisions that alter the practice of real estate law in the commonwealth. One of the key issues the courts addressed include whether a lender must calculate the deadline to file certain petitions from the day it received the original deed that included errors, or the date that it received the corrective deed.

People in the News—June 29, 2016—Duane Morris

Duane Morris partner James J. Ferrelli of the firm's Cherry Hill, New Jersey, office was appointed a trustee of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation.

Drinker Biddle Litigator Gregory Miller Joins JAMS

By Lizzy McLellan |

Gregory P. Miller, a former managing partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath, has joined JAMS.

Law Professor’s Suit Against Duquesne, Gormley Can Proceed

By Gina Passarella |

A Duquesne University law professor can proceed with her gender discrimination and retaliation claims against the university and incoming president Kenneth Gormley, a federal judge has ruled, at the same time tossing the rest of her claims, including one for religious discrimination for her teaching of Islamic law.

Parties Seek to Consolidate Wendy’s Data Breach Suits

By Max Mitchell |

As the lawsuits begin to mount against Wendy’s over its recently disclosed data breach, several financial institutions that filed proposed class action suits in Pennsylvania federal court have asked that the cases be consolidated.

Chief Justice Chase Rogers addressed the June 24 annual meeting of state judges. Another Supreme Court justice told the group that a continuing legal education program was ‘designed to make compliance with its provisions as easy and as inexpensive as possible.’

Conn. Judges Approve Mandatory Continuing Legal Education for State's Lawyers

The state's judges have voted to require continuing legal education for all licensed attorneys in Connecticut. Lawyers will have to complete 12 annual hours of CLE, a threshold they can reach in a variety of ways, ranging from attending workshops to taking online courses to teaching law school classes.

Did Wilson Sonsini Dictate Merger Terms to Microsoft?

LinkedIn Corp. may have had the upper hand in negotiating its $26.2 billion sale to Microsoft.

At Trial Firms, Extraordinary Payouts Cover Ordinary Expenses

By Lizzy McLellan and Scott Flaherty |

Plaintiffs firms have a unique business model, with unpredictable payouts making strategic planning a difficult proposition.

Blank Rome chairman Alan Hoffman and Stacey Phillips.

Amid Cyber Fears, Top LA Divorce Shop Joins Blank Rome

Phillips Lerner, a Los Angeles-based boutique specializing in family and matrimonial law, has agreed to be absorbed into Blank Rome, beefing up the Am Law 100 firm’s West Coast presence and adding some star power to its client roster.

Help for Victims of 'Revenge Porn'

K&L Gates' Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project has grown to include 85 K&L Gates attorneys and span three continents.

Fault Lines Sharpen After Judge Voids Federal Fracking Rules

By Ben Seal and Marcia Coyle |

A Wyoming federal judge’s decision Tuesday striking down the Obama administration’s hydraulic fracturing rules was a significant victory for the oil and gas industry as federal, state and local governments clash over the authority to impose regulations.

Defending a Protection From Abuse Case Involving Children

By Julie A. Auerbach |

The scope of the Pennsylvania Protection from Abuse Act (PFA) is much broader than either the scope of the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) or the Pennsylvania custody statutes.

Business handshake and business people

Understanding Your Client's Organization and Personality

By Lisa K. Howlett and Gaetano P. Piccirilli |

Even the most effective outside ­counsel can have too narrow a vision of her relationship with a general counsel. The "standard vision" is ­focused on continued maintenance of the relationship and that of the file(s) being handled. Usually, outside counsel keeps internal track of the legal singles, doubles, triples, and home runs obtained for the ­client throughout the representation(s).

Compensation Handcuffs Partners, Delaying Lateral Move Season

By Lizzy McLellan |

In the wake of a busy late spring for lateral announcements, it appears that May and June movement may be the new normal, as more firms find ways to keep partners from leaving. Several recruiters who work in Pennsylvania said the late spring has become a busy time. In particular, two Pittsburgh-area recruiters said there has been a noticeable increase in lateral movement in May and June.

Unclaimed Property in Philadelphia

View the Pennsylvania Treasury Department's list of unclaimed property in Philadelphia.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Legislative and Executive Action During the Week of June 20, 2016

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of legislative and executive activity for the week of June 20. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session the week of June 27.

Lyft

Judge OKs $27 Million Lyft Settlement With Drivers

By Ben Hancock |

A federal judge has granted preliminary approval to a $27 million settlement that resolves a class action against Lyft Inc. over the independent-contractor status of its drivers, ending months of uncertainty about whether the deal would hold.

Google Seeks $3.9M in Costs From Oracle

Following its successful defense of copyright claims over the Java programming language, Google Inc. is asking for $3.9 million in costs from Oracle America Inc.

Brexit Leaves U.S. Regulatory Attorneys With Many Questions

By C. Ryan Barber, Cheryl Miller and Ben Seal |

Regulatory lawyers at law firm offices in the U.S. and overseas on Friday were scrambling to assess for clients the immediate and potential long-term effects of the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union.

Will U.S. Firms Pull Back in London After Brexit?

By Jennifer Henderson, Nell Gluckman and Gina Passarella |

The United Kingdom’s historic vote to leave the European Union came among one of the busiest lateral hiring sprees by U.S. law firms in London, but that growth may be put to the test as clients themselves ponder exiting the market.

People in the News—June 27, 2016—Wilson Elser

Syreeta Moore joined Wilson Elser as of counsel in its Philadelphia office.

People in the News—June 28, 2016—Rawle & Henderson

Susan Toth joined the Philadelphia office of Rawle & Henderson as an associate.

Volvo Headquarters in Göteborg.

Plaintiff Gets Second Shot at Crashworthiness Case Against Volvo

By Max Mitchell |

In a ruling that hinted at potentially overturning the prohibition against introducing federal standards in strict products liability cases, the state Superior Court granted a new trial in a crashworthiness case against Volvo.

Protesters gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, June 27, the day the justices stuck down a Texas abortion clinic law.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Abortion Restrictions in Texas

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday ruled 5-3 in favor of abortion rights, striking down restrictions imposed by Texas on abortion clinics that the court said posed an “undue burden” on a woman’s access to abortion.

James W. Cushing

When Marriages and Relationships Go Bankrupt

By James W. Cushing |

Money and assets are essential parts of divorce and support cases. Although the parties involved in family law cases have interests in money and assets, the reality is that creditors also often have interests in that same money or assets.

Post-Conviction Counsel 'Crisis' at Center of Court Hearing

By Max Mitchell |

Court-appointed attorneys may have come to Philadelphia Judge Teresa Sarmina's courtroom June 24 morning intending to represent indigent clients in post-conviction cases, but it was the Philadelphia court-appointed process that was on trial, with proceedings often breaking into heated exchanges where both the judge and attorneys despaired at the state of the system.

Congressman Chaka Fattah, D-Pennsylvania, listens to testimony from Attorney General Eric Holder during the Department of Justice Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Overview Hearing before the House Appropriations Committee on March 16, 2010.

Fattah Faces Long Odds on Conviction Appeal

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Facing the probability of a stiff prison sentence and slim odds of having his conviction reversed on appeal, the fate of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pennsylvania, seems all but sealed.

© Valeriy-Fotolia

Justices Take Up Court's Ability to 'Diagnose' Mental Illness

By Max Mitchell |

Can a court determine that a woman who believes her own "unsubstantiated and wild claims" has an undiagnosed mental illness, despite an opinion from a court-appointed expert to the contrary?

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Budget Process Maintains Momentum

By John L. Kennedy |

Gov. Tom Wolf removed a potential hurdle from what has so far been a relatively smooth budget process.

Restriction on Housing for Drug Offenders Invalidated

By Ben Seal |

A Western Pennsylvania judge has struck down a borough ordinance that prevents landlords from renting to tenants with felony drug convictions on their records.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Abortion Control Act Amendments Face Hurdles

By John L. Kennedy |

The House approved legislation last week that would lessen the period of gestation after which abortions are banned, in the face of a promised veto from Gov. Tom Wolf. The House approved the bill with a bipartisan 132-65 vote.

verdicts and settlements

Luzerne County Jury Sides With Defense In Med Mal Case

In March 2009, plaintiff's decedent, Renee Deyo, a self-employed home cleaner in her mid-40s, was diagnosed with urethral cancer. She was diagnosed with small-cell cancer, high-grade urethral cancer, and carcinoma after a four- to five-centimeter mass was found in the right urethral pelvic junction (where the pelvis meets the ureter).

verdicts and settlements

Phila. Jury Awards $1.3 Million in Wrongful Death Case

A Philadelphia jury awarded $1.3 million to the estate of an infant who died following a heart transplant procedure.

People In The News—Pa. Law Weekly—June 24, 2016—Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin

Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin announced that attorney Lisa A. Shearman was elected to the board of directors and as a vice president of the Wills for Heroes Foundation.

Law Firms Face Uncertain Future As Brexit Result Hits Markets

Law firms across the U.K. and beyond are facing an uncertain future after Britain voted to leave the European Union.

Drilling Operations (North Dakota, July 2012)

Pa. High Court to Review Gas Drilling in Residential District

By Ben Seal |

Even with natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania steadily declining, the pipeline to the state's courts is still full of open issues of energy law. The latest question to be settled is whether an industrial shale gas well should be allowed in a township's residential district because of its similarity to permitted uses.

Justices Strike Down Mandatory Sentences for Child Sex Abuse

By Max Mitchell |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutional the mandatory sentencing law for those convicted of crimes against children, in a decision that reaffirmed a ruling last year that many attorneys called a "game-changer."

Justice Anthony Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court speaking during the Supreme Court budget hearing for the year 2012 before the House Approps Subcommittee on the Financial Services and General Government. April 14, 2012. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Divided Supreme Court Upholds Affirmative Action Program

By Tony Mauro |

In a surprise 4-3 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the controversial affirmative action program of the University of Texas, delivering a significant victory to proponents of similar programs nationwide.

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court on the day of arguments in the immigration case United States v. Texas. April 18, 2016. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Supreme Court Deadlocks on Immigration, Keeping Injunction in Place

By Marcia Coyle and Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday deadlocked in a challenge to an Obama administration program that would defer deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants, issuing a 4-4 ruling that keeps in place an injunction blocking the immigration directives.

Transgender Students: A Unique Frontier for Civil Rights

By David J. Berney 
and Morgen Black-Smith |

Starting at the age of 3, Lauren felt like a girl trapped in a boy's body. At school, due to her gender nonconformity, her classmates began calling her names such as "man beast." The harassment escalated to the point where students spit on her, parents insulted her, and on one ­occasion, peers tried tearing off her clothing to expose her genitals.

How a Phila. Museum Ruined Its Reputation

By Ben Feldman 
and Linda Peyton |

Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 1990, to "provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities," 42 U.S.C. Section 12101(b)(1).

Karen Buck

Elder Abuse: A National and Global Crisis

By Karen C. Buck |

Ray White is 91 years old, a World War II veteran who served as a first lieutenant with the Ninth Air Force and carried paratroopers to the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, he became a stockbroker and lived at the Dorchester on Rittenhouse Square for 25 years.

The Public Interest Calendar of Events

By The Legal Intelligencer |

• On June 30; and July 7, 14, 21 and 28, the Philadelphia Bar Association's public interest section, law school outreach committee, is scheduled to host the "Summer Brown Bag Lunch Series," from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Bar Association, 11th-floor conference center, 1101 Market St. On June 9 and 16, the programs will be held in the 10th-floor boardroom. These free programs provide an opportunity for summer law student interns to meet public interest attorneys who are leaders in their field and learn about different types of public interest practice and fellowship opportunities in the Greater Philadelphia area. A full schedule of the programs is posted on the public interest section's web page at www.philabar.org.

Tom Donnelly

Your Client's Email Account and the Attorney-Client Privilege

By Thomas P. Donnelly |

The digital age and pervasive use of email communication gives rise to an entirely new and complex set of issues pertaining to the application of the attorney-client privilege and the potential claim for waiver of that privilege.

In DOGA We Trust: Cashing In on Mineral Rights

By justin Moriconi |

If you have a client with Pennsylvania real property interests in the Marcellus Shale through heirship, there may be money ready and waiting to be distributed if their land was developed for subsurface mineral rights.

The Defend Trade Secrets Act and Its Impact on Trade Secret Litigation

By Edward T. Kang |

Businesses develop mechanisms and procedures to cut costs, increase efficiency and otherwise set themselves apart from their competition. Methods and inventions developed to achieve these goals are often considered to be trade secrets of the business, and many businesses remain vigilant to guard their assets against a possible threat—for example, a departing employee who takes the business's trade secrets and other confidential information and uses it to compete against the former employer.

Jeff Jubelirer

How to Make Sure Your Story Is Seen

By Jeff Jubelirer |

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Sam Stretton

Lengthy Notice Requirements Could Be an Ethics Violation

By Samuel C. Stretton |

I am a partner in a law firm and I've decided to leave the firm and start my own law firm. In my partnership agreement, it is required that I give four months' notice before I leave. Is such a provision unethical or illegal?

People in the News—June 24, 2016—Archer & Greiner

Frances McElhill, a partner in Archer & Greiner's Haddonfield, New Jersey, office, was recently honored by the United Way as the 2016 Volunteer of the Year in Camden County.

Jay B. Harris of Fineman Krekstein, Veteran Philadelphia Litigator, Dies

Jay B. Harris, a prominent insurance defense attorney and name partner of Philadelphia-based Fineman Krekstein & Harris, died Monday from injuries sustained in a May 29 bicycling accident. He was 61.

Federal Circuit Averts Patent Armageddon

By Scott Graham |

Owners of thousands of continuation patents must have heaved sighs of relief Tuesday as an appellate court threw out a Delaware decision that risked invalidating them en masse.

Uber

Uber-Backed License Bill Clears Committee, After a Quarrel

Legislation to exclude Uber and Lyft drivers from California's commercial vehicle regulations passed a Senate policy committee Tuesday, but not before the chairman lashed out at colleagues and the governor for "advancing policies that lead to a monopoly" for the ride-hailing industry.

penn state

1970s Sandusky Victims Emerge as Issue in Paterno Defamation Suit

By Max Mitchell |

Several weeks after a judge revealed in an insurance dispute that Penn State officials may have known convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky abused children as early as the 1970s, these older claims are now at issue in a related defamation suit the family of Joe Paterno filed against the NCAA.

Reed Smith Washington, D.C. offices. November 12, 2014.

Reed Smith Raises Salaries, Matching $180K in Some Markets

Reed Smith has announced a new associate pay structure, raising the starting salary to $180,000 in some markets, $160,000 in Philadelphia and $145,000 in Pittsburgh.

Feds Hit Yuengling With $10M Tab for Water Pollution

By Ben Seal |

America's oldest operating brewery needs to update its environmental approach. D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. has agreed to nearly $10 million in penalties for allegedly discharging pollutants into a wastewater treatment plant in violation of the Clean Water Act, the Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday.

School Faces Constitutional Trouble for Letting Students Run in the Halls

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A suit by a high school runner injured during a track practice session in the school's hallways has cleared a key hurdle.

Supreme Court Turns Back Challenge to Post-Sandy Hook Gun Ban

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away challenges to assault weapons bans in Connecticut and New York which were enacted after the mass shooting of 26 children and staff at Sandy Hook elementary school.

Supreme Court OKs Ground Rules for AIA Patent Trials

By Scott Graham |

The U.S. Supreme Court has given a big vote of confidence to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and its handling of inter partes review.

As Big Firms Up Associate Pay, Regional Firms See an Opening

Amid a wave of salary increases for associates at big law firms, midsize and regional firms are eyeing the development as a way to reinforce their long-touted message: We're in tune with the economic realities facing clients and do high-quality work for less money.

People in the News—June 23, 2016—Archer & Greiner

Stephanie J. Zane, a partner in the family law department of Archer & Greiner in Haddonfield, New Jersey, was elected to serve a four-year term on the national board of trustees of the American Inns of Court.

David Hickton

David Hickton Named The Legal's Attorney of the Year

By Zack Needles |

U.S. Attorney David Hickton of the Western District of Pennsylvania was announced Tuesday night as The Legal's 2016 Attorney of the Year.

Philadelphia Attorneys Balk at Post-Conviction Appointments

By Max Mitchell |

Philadelphia’s First Judicial District has started taking steps to alleviate its growing backlog of post-conviction appeal cases that was uncovered earlier this year, but the court’s methods have angered some attorneys and left many wondering if indigent defendants will receive adequate representation.

Judges Weigh Firefighter's Claims Over Photo Used in Sex Scandal Story

By Max Mitchell |

The attorney representing a Philadelphia firefighter whose photograph appeared with a New York Daily News article about a sex scandal he had nothing to do with said his client never would have known about the article if it weren’t for people contacting his client thinking he was involved in the scandal.

Business handshake and business people

Dilworth's Red Bank Office Heads to Gluck Walrath

By Lizzy McLellan |

In a move that furthers Dilworth Paxson’s shrinking geographic footprint, the attorneys in the firm’s Red Bank, New Jersey, office are heading to New Jersey-based Gluck Walrath.

People in the News—Montgomery McCracken—June 22, 2016

Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads announced the addition of two new associates.

Jeffrey Campolongo

High Court Weighs In on Limitations Period

By Jeffrey Campolongo |

Constructive discharge claims can be some of the trickiest types of claims to pursue. They are ­typically fraught with issues about if and when the resignation/termination occurred. Along those same lines, it has not always been clear when the harassment or discriminatory events leading up to the discharge can trigger the commencement of the statute of limitations.

Understanding Standing After 'Spokeo v. Robins'

By Richard L. Heppner Jr. |

One of the most basic elements of federal-court practice is that a plaintiff must have constitutional "standing" to maintain a suit in federal court. In the closely watched case, Spokeo v. Robins, 578 U.S. No. 11-56843 (2016), the U.S. Supreme Court was faced with a frequently recurring issue—whether the mere violation of a statute itself constitutes an "injury in fact"—the "first and foremost" of the three standing requirements. "Injury in fact" is one of those legal concepts that makes intuitive sense—you have to be actually harmed before you can sue. But it can create confusion when you try to apply it to a particular case, as evidenced by the conflicting lower-court rulings that prompted the court to grant review in Spokeo.

merger

Legislation, New Generation Are Focal Points for Trial Bar Leader

By Max Mitchell |

The future will be the focus for Ezra Wohlgelernter, the incoming head of the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association

Pa. Justices Deal Blow to NRA, Gun Groups

By Ben Seal |

As calls for more restrictive gun regulations grow in fervor and frequency around the country, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has struck down an act that allowed organizations such as the National Rifle Association to challenge local gun-control laws in court.

Chicago, Illinois, USA - April 6, 2014: A fleet of large FedEx delivery truck parked at a Federal Express facility at the O'Hare Airport in Chicago. Credit: gk-6mt/iStockphoto.com.

Feds Drop $1.6B Case Against FedEx in Middle of Trial

By Ross Todd |

Federal prosecutors have abruptly dropped a case accusing FedEx Corp. of conspiring with illegal online pharmacies and shipping addictive prescription painkillers without a face-to-face doctor’s visit.

Jay Sadd

Nationwide Insurance Hit With $8M Bad Faith Judgment

After a jury determined late last year that Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. acted negligently and in bad faith in denying a claim for the death of an auto accident victim, a federal judge has ordered the insurer to pay more than $8.1 million in damages.

Pa. Justices: Excessive Foreclosure Attorney Fees Actionable

By Lizzy McLellan |

A law firm representing a residential mortgage lender in connection with foreclosure proceedings can be liable to a borrower for excessive attorney fees charged in violation of the Pennsylvania Loan Interest and Protection Law, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled.

The 2000 Market St. building in Philadelphia.

Fire at Fox Rothschild's Phila. Office Forces Building Closure

By Gina Passarella and Lizzy McLellan |

A fire that began on the 18th floor of Fox Rothschild's Philadelphia office early Tuesday morning forced the building, which is home to many law firms, to close.

Reed Smith Washington, D.C. offices. November 12, 2014.

Reed Smith Hires Lincoln National Lawyer in Philadelphia

By Gina Passarella |

While Reed Smith has seen departures from its Pittsburgh office in recent months, the firm has been growing in Philadelphia where it brought on two new litigators last week.

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

Kane Motion Alleging Selective Prosecution Is Denied

By Lizzy McLellan |

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane's bid to have her criminal charges thrown out on grounds of selective prosecution was rejected by the trial judge in the case.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pennsylvania, at a hearing Jan. 26, 2016.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah Convicted on All Charges

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal jury Tuesday afternoon found U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pennsylvania, guilty on all charges against him in a monthlong corruption trial.

VerdictSearch Top Pennsylvania Verdicts of 2015

View the top verdicts and settlements as reported by VerdictSearch for 2015, including charts, case summaries, settlements, as well as break-out charts for specific categories.

Penny Conly Ellison

Killing Harambe and the Conundrum of Captive Animals

By Penny Conly Ellison |

Many of us felt profound sadness when Harambe, a 17-year-old lowland gorilla, was executed at the Cincinnati Zoo after a child climbed into his enclosure. Many questioned the parents for not supervising their child; others thought the zoo could have tried nonlethal alternatives to sedate rather than kill Harambe.

People in the News—Anapol Weiss—June 21, 2016

On June 18, Joel Feldman of Anapol Weiss received the Pennsylvania Association for Justice's 2016 President's Award, as selected by 2015-16 PAJ president Jason Matzus.

Eric Holder, Covington & Burling

Eric Holder, Advocating for Uber, Questions Regulatory Mandates

By Cheryl Miller |

In one of the widest national efforts that Eric Holder Jr. has undertaken for a client since rejoining Covington & Burling last year, the former U.S. attorney general has written to lawmakers in three states on behalf of Uber Technologies Inc., urging them not to mandate fingerprinting for driver background checks.

Women Sue Baylor Over School's Alleged Failure to Respond to Rape Complaints

Three women have filed a federal lawsuit against Baylor University in a Waco U.S. District Court, alleging that the school ignored their allegations of sexual assault while they were students and created an environment on campus that allowed further attacks to occur.

Hank Grezlak

Grezlak Promoted as Part of ALM Leadership Changes

By ALM Staff |

Hank Grezlak's role with ALM as Regional Editor-in-Chief for the Northeast—including The Legal Intelligencer—has been expanded to include oversight of all regional brands including the New York Law Journal, The Recorder, Texas Lawyer, Daily Report and the Daily Business Review. The move is one of several promotions ALM has made to its senior editorial leadership team as part of its efforts to move toward a more digital-first, global newsroom.

A logo sign outside of facility occupied by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, in Somerville, New Jersey on May 31, 2015.

Lawyers Spar Over What Janssen, Docs Knew About Risperdal

By Max Mitchell |

Opening arguments were held Monday in the fifth case from the Risperdal mass tort to go to trial. There are nearly 1,750 Risperdal cases pending in Philadelphia with plaintiffs from across the country.

<b>ON THE DEFENSE:</b> Entertainer Bill Cosby faces allegations that he drugged and ­molested women throughout his career.

Cosby’s Review Petition Denied by Pa. Supreme Court

By Ben Seal and Lizzy McLellan |

On the same day the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied Bill Cosby’s petition for review aimed at ending his criminal case, prosecutors pushed back against a second attempt at the trial court level to have the case dismissed.

penn state

PSU's Appeal Over Sandusky Coverage May Blaze Trail in Insurance Law

By Max Mitchell |

The decision over Penn State's immediate appeal rights in its legal battle to secure insurance coverage for abuse by Jerry Sandusky could require that courts blaze new trails of case law.

Professional Excellence Awards 2016

Welcome to the 2016 Professional Excellence supplement. This year we honored three notable attorneys and 25 were honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Associate Salaries Still Mysterious at Most Firms

By Lizzy McLellan |

Despite the headline-grabbing numbers at some large law firms, associate salaries at most firms are not widely known, and compensation is often a difficult issue to navigate through for young lawyers.

Editor's Note

It's getting harder and harder to come up with an annual list of the top attorneys in Pennsylvania. It seems that with each passing year the Pennsylvania legal community gains an increasing number of stellar lawyers and narrowing them down to a select few becomes an even more difficult task.

Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

The following attorneys were selected to receive Lifetime Achievement Awards. Read More

Lynn Marks, Pennsylvania for Modern Courts

A Watchful Eye in a Stormy Year

By Ben Seal |

In mid-January, Lynn Marks sat in a Harrisburg courtroom, keeping an eye on the judiciary.

Marsha Levick of the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia.

A Voice of Reform for Juvenile Justice

By Max Mitchell |

For 53-year-old Henry Smolarski, and thousands of others across the country, the work of Marsha Levick means he will not die in prison.

Michael E. Bertin

$10,000 Agreement if Petition to Modify Custody Upheld

By Michael E. Bertin |

People may remember in the fall of 2014 a state Superior Court case, Huss v. Weaver, C.D. No: 2013-1209, was published where the Superior Court reversed a trial court's decision to sustain preliminary objections dismissing a complaint for breach of contract when a father did not pay $10,000 to a mother after he filed a complaint for custody, as their agreement provided that he would pay the mother $10,000 anytime he filed to modify the parties' custody arrangement.

Charles F. Forer

Is Waiver an Exception to Mediation Confidentiality?

By Charles F. Forer |

Bob's client, Jane, sued Roger, her former attorney, for legal malpractice in connection with a prior personal injury lawsuit. The list of Roger's alleged misdeeds goes on and on.

U.S. Attorney David Hickton holds a press conference after the sentencing of  Emerson Begolly, of Redbank Township, Armstrong Country, Pa, at  Federal Court in Pittsburgh, Tuesday,  July 16, 2013.  Begolly, whom authorities called a

A Prosecutor's Stand Against Two of the Nation's Toughest Battles

By Gina Passarella |

When David Hickton was sworn into office in 2010 as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, he stepped into a lead prosecutor's role, but immediately took on a presence well beyond the courtroom, fighting cybercrime and working to stem the heroin and opioid epidemic not just in his own backyard, but across the country.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pennsylvania, at a hearing Jan. 26, 2016.

Sidebar Talk May Explain Fattah Juror's Dismissal

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Lawyers and U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III last week contemplated the possibility of jurors not cooperating with each other in the corruption case of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and four co-defendants, according to a court recording of their June 16 sidebar conversation.

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

AG Kane's Chief Targeted Older Agents, Sources Say

By Lizzy McLellan 
and Ben Seal |

Jonathan Duecker, chief of staff in the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, specifically targeted older members of the Gun Violence Task Force, sources have told The Legal.

People in the News—June 20, 2016—Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel

Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel hired IP attorneys Bryon T. Wasserman and Ronald J. Ventola II to join the firm's Philadelphia office.

Ex-Associate Suspended for Hacking Into Law Firm’s Email Accounts

By Leigh Jones |

An associate who hacked into Piscitelli Law Firm’s email accounts after he was fired has been suspended from practice for a year.

Old Post Office in Washington, D.C., future home of Donald Trump's new hotel. August 4, 2015. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Trump and Celebrity Chef Dish Over Deal That Went South

By Zoe Tillman |

Donald Trump’s lawyers were back in court on Wednesday, this time in Washington, D.C., to contest claims that Trump’s statements on the campaign trail about Hispanics breached a contract for a high-end restaurant in his new hotel in the nation’s capital.

Attorneys Look to Sue Phila. Over Indigent Defense Fees

By Max Mitchell |

Fed up with low rates, slow payment and seeing their fees slashed, defense attorneys in Philadelphia who serve the indigent are gearing up to take their long-standing complaints to courts.

3rd Circuit Suit Tests If Paper Libels Innocent Person Whose Photo Accompanies Sex Scandal Article

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

En banc rehearing set for Tuesday on claims by Philadelphia firefighter suing New York Daily News.

Public Pension Plan Changes Likely to Reach Wolf

A few weeks ago, the grand compromise between the Republican-controlled General Assembly and Gov. Tom Wolf involved loosening of the state's liquor code. And last week, it was public pension reform. In both instances, some Republicans characterized the moves as "first steps," with others saying the measures don't go far enough.

LGBT Anti-Discrimination Housing Vote Delayed

A Senate committee delayed a vote on legislation, SB 1307, which would prohibit discrimination in housing based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

Capitol Report

Following is a listing of executive and legislative activity for the week of June 13. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session the week of June 20.

merger

People in the News—Pa. Law Weekly—June 21, 2016—Caldwell & Kearns

Saul Ewing attorney Eric L. Brossman was elected chairman of the Pennsylvania Bar Association's business law section.

verdicts and settlements

Jury Sides With State VA Director Who Alleged Political Tie Led to Termination

On Sept. 24, 2009, plaintiff Richard Wren, 50, was terminated from his employment at Luzerne County.

verdicts and settlements

Judge Awards $112,500 for Nightclub Fall

A Philadelphia judge awarded $112,500 to a woman who fell at a nightclub and sprained her ankle.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pennsylvania, at a hearing Jan. 26, 2016.

Juror in Fattah Case Booted, Deliberations Restarted

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The judge presiding over the corruption case of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pennsylvania, dismissed a member of the jury June 17 and instructed the remaining jurors to start their deliberations from the beginning.

USPTO Options for Applicants to Obtain a Patent More Quickly

By Lawrence E. Ashery |

The average length of time needed to obtain a U.S. patent is about two-and-a-half years. Some applicants, however, want their patents faster. Perhaps a competitor is already in the target market, and the patent applicant wants to initiate an infringement lawsuit as soon as possible.

Frank D'Amore

How to Win Your New Business Pitch: Part One

By Frank Michael D'Amore |

A law firm's thirst for revenue is not easily quenched these days. Parsimonius clients, fierce competition from other firms, and the quest to increase profitability have escalated pressures to win new business pitches. Being told that you did a nice job and will be considered for other matters is not a great consolation prize for firms that aren't hired.

Common Pleas Courts Anticipate Boost From Appointments

By Ben Seal |

When Gov. Tom Wolf announced his nominees for 16 interim appointments to Pennsylvania's courts of common pleas, judges around the state let out a sigh of relief. For shorthanded courts, open seats on the bench have meant heavier workloads, scheduling concerns and, in some cases, delays in hearing certain types of cases, judges said.

Doctor's Practice Subject to Corporate Liability Claims

By Max Mitchell |

Rejecting the argument that corporate liability only applies to hospitals or health management organizations, a doctor's private practice may be held liable for the alleged negligence of one of its physicians who performed radiation treatments on the wrong side of a woman's neck, a common pleas judge has ruled.

Probation Officer Not Liable for Probationer's DUI Crash

By Zack Needles |

A probation officer and her superiors are immune from a suit alleging they knowingly allowed a probationer to drive home intoxicated, resulting in an accident that injured a traffic controller, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

insurance policy

Justices Take Up Autism Exclusions to Insurance Coverage

By Ben Seal |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to review whether insurers can exclude autism-related services from coverage.

Flags of the European Union, of which the European Community is a pillar. The European Community won the right to proceed with its racketeering suit against RJR Nabisco.

Law Firms Brace for Brexit as EU Referendum Vote Looms

By Chris Johnson |

In exactly a week’s time, the U.K. public will undertake arguably its most important vote in generations, on whether the country will remain within the European Union. The repercussions of Brexit, as it is called, could resonate at a global level. Even the mere possibility of a U.K. withdrawal has already taken a toll on law firms and the financial markets.

Judicial Override in Law Grad's Death-Penalty Appeal Eyed by High Court

During oral arguments Wednesday, Delaware's chief justice pressed a public defender on his argument that the state's death-penalty statute is unconstitutional because it allows judges to override juries' findings of fact in the sentencing phase.

People in the News—June 17, 2016—Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young

Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young partner Eric Hurwitz was a panelist for the Rossdale CLE seminar, "Mastering Foreclosure Law and MERS," on May 25.

Lawyers on the Fast Track

Welcome to the 15th annual Lawyers on the Fast track supplement. Each year, we honor outstanding young attorneys in Pennsylvania and the work they are doing to help shape the legal profession.

Headquarters of Netflix located at 100 Winchester Circle in Los Gatos, CA. Photo by Jason Doiy/iStockphoto.com.

Bankruptcy Court Denies Netflix Early Streaming of Films

By Francis J. Lawall and Lesley S. Welwarth |

Unlike standard civil litigation, a single bankruptcy proceeding can often include multiple seemingly unrelated adjudications that, in hindsight, have a much greater subsequent impact than an unsuspecting litigant might expect. A recent example of that was evidenced through a May 27 order entered by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael E. Wiles of the Southern District of New York that barred Netflix Inc. from distributing, and even "contending that they have the rights to distribute" two Relativity Media-produced films prior to movie theater release per the terms of the parties' license agreement in In re Relativity Fashion.

handshake

Obermayer Grabs Former Montour County DA

By Lizzy McLellan |

A former district attorney from Montour County has joined Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel as a partner, the firm announced this week.

Trial Opens in Fight Over Authorship of 'Stairway to Heaven'

By Amanda Bronstad |

The copyright trial over Led Zeppelin’s iconic song “Stairway to Heaven” began on Tuesday, with band members Robert Plant and Jimmy Page in the courtroom listening to competing versions of their song played before jurors.

Suit Over General Mills 'Natural' Cereal Labeling Stayed as FDA Mulls Action

A class action over General Mills' labeling of Kix cereal as "natural" has been delayed until October while the U.S. FDA considers regulatory action over the meaning of "natural" claims.

Dechert

After Dechert's Pay Hike, Pa. Firms Watch and Wait, for Now

By Lizzy McLellan |

Dechert has raised its associate salaries across the country, starting at $180,000 for first-year associates. According to a memo obtained by The Legal, the new salary scale will be effective July 1. It includes salary increases for each class of associates, up to $315,000 for eighth-year associates and above.

gavel

Federal Judge Rejects Asbestos Defendant's Bid to Eliminate $325K Liability

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Company argued that its share of $1 million verdict should have been offset by six other defendants' settlements with plaintiffs.

Samuel Stretton

Ignore Your Opponent's 'Unfriendly' Comments

By Samuel C. Stretton |

I am in the middle of a trial in a criminal case, and the district attorney who is prosecuting the case has been extremely unfriendly and discourteous. There are constant suggestions I am acting unethically. What are my ethical duties?

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

Can a Family Practice Physician Punt to a Specialist?

By Cliff Rieders and Pamela Shipman |

It is not uncommon for family practice physicians to refer patients to specialists. When that occurs, is the family practice physician or internist who continues to follow the patient relieved of responsibility as a result of the referral?

Matthew B. Weisberg

Attorney Liability Actions: Case and Client Management

By Matthew B. Weisberg |

In my prior column within the ongoing attorney liability series, I discussed the importance of pleadings. That is, it is important to plead with hyper-specificity notwithstanding it is well-settled in Pennsylvania that factual conclusions suffice to surmount the inevitable preliminary objections for lack of specificity. Specificity in pleadings is important not only to overcome preliminary objections but also as to any and all objections that may arise during litigation and at trial.

Dave Dambreville

OSHA's Confidentiality Provisions May Not Preclude Consultant Depositions

By Daivy P. Dambreville |

In an effort to comply with the regulations established by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers can request from the agency a voluntary inspection to determine whether they are in compliance.

Bridging the Great Divide: Paralegals and Regulation

By Valerie A. Wilus |

When the American Bar Association (ABA) began discussing a model for regulatory objectives to develop a framework for standards for the delivery of legal services by nonlawyers, the legal community stood up and took notice. In its written opposition to the ABA dated Oct. 27, 2015, the New Jersey State Bar Association believes "the commission should first address the underlying ­questions of whether nonlawyers should be permitted to provide legal services" and reminds the readers that "in 2013, [the] ABA president ... called upon states to meet unmet legal needs by connecting those in need of legal services with the vast number underemployed and unemployed attorneys."

The Philadelphia Association of Paralegals Calendar of Events

The Philadelphia Association of Paralegals Calendar of Events

List of Winners 2016

By The Legal Intelligencer |

Here are the 2016 Lawyers on the Fast Track.

The 2016 Fast Track Judging Panelists

The editors of The Legal Intelligencer would like to thank the legal professionals who agreed to donate their time and efforts to serve as judging panelists for our 2016 Lawyers on the Fast Track supplement.

Editor's Note

Welcome to the 15th annual Lawyers on the Fast track supplement. Each year, we honor outstanding young attorneys in Pennsylvania and the work they are doing to help shape the legal profession.

Directly above photograph of an application for a visa.

How to Pick Future Nobel-Prize Winners: An Immigration Parable

By William A. Stock |

America is currently going through one of its periodic episodes where the advocacy of immigration ­restriction is fully on display. We hear discussions of walling off our country, of immigrants being vilified as criminals and security threats, and of immigration as a cause of economic decline, not economic renewal. Some politicians call for rejection of refugees, a refusal to allow resettlement of those fleeing persecution because of fear of those doing the persecuting.

People in the News—June 16, 2016—White and William

White and Williams added Steven Coury as a partner in the real estate and finance practice groups.

Banana Fall Case Slips Away From Shopper

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Federal judge dismisses case, saying there was no evidence the grocery store staff knew the banana was in the middle of the aisle.

merger

Dilworth Partner Who Led Phila. Newspapers Sale Joins Buchanan

By Lizzy McLellan |

Longtime Dilworth Paxson attorney Richard L. Fox has been hired by Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney.

Superior Court Reverses 'Gratuitous' $1M Sanction Against Lawyer

By Max Mitchell |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has struck down a nearly $1 million sanction that had been levied against a Philadelphia-area defense lawyer in an asbestos case.

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Catching Up With the AG's Office Top Consumer Lawyer

By Ben Seal |

Despite the high drama surrounding Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane for much of her term, her office's consumer protection division has ramped up efforts over the past two years, according to its chief, Basil Merenda.

Justices Open Door to Labor Leader's Video Deposition

By Max Mitchell |

Labor leader John Dougherty will have to sit for a videotaped deposition under a ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in which five of the seven partiicipants are temporary members of the high court because of recusals.

People in the News—June 15, 2016—Fox Rothschild

Fox Rothschild elevated several attorneys to partner.

People: The Cyber Wild Card in Terms of Security, Attacks

By Christopher M. Brubaker |

As details continue to emerge ­concerning the $81 million cyberheist of funds from the Bangladesh Central Bank by way of hacked wire-transfer requests sent to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (NY Fed), a lingering question remains regarding the role people played in approving the transfer requests.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane

Superior Court Rejects Kane's Criminal Appeal

By Lizzy McLellan |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has quashed an appeal by Attorney General Kathleen Kane, in which she argued that the charges against her should have been dismissed, and that the entire Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas bench should recuse from her case.

Fattah Case Will Hinge on Big Themes, Not Details, Experts Say

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Lawyers who have handled similar cases said jurors won't get caught up in the minutiae lawyers focus on.

Appeals Court Rules for Dickstein Shapiro in Malpractice Suit

Dickstein Shapiro shuttered in February, but it won a victory in court on June 10.

Shannon Liss-Riordan

Lawyer for Uber Drivers Slashes Fee Request

Stung by accusations that she sold out hundreds of thousands of Uber drivers to enrich herself, plaintiffs attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan said late Friday that she would reduce her fee request in the high-profile class action by $10 million.

Gov. Tom Wolf speaks after he took the oath of office to become the 47th governor of Pennsylvania, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Wolf Bypassed Commission in Naming Mundy to High Court

By Ben Seal |

Gov. Tom Wolf bypassed the recommendations of his advisory commission in selecting Superior Court Judge Sallie Updyke Mundy to fill a vacancy on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, sources have told The Legal. In doing so, he chose not to nominate an African-American judge who was ranked by the commission as the most highly qualified candidate, passing up the opportunity to push for diversity on the court.

Microsoft Corporation Campus Sign .Redmond Washington.

Six Firms Connect on Microsoft’s Big LinkedIn Buy

By James Booth and Brian Baxter |

At least six Am Law 100 firms have landed roles on one of the year’s largest technology deals, Microsoft Corp.’s proposed $26.2 billion acquisition announced Monday of LinkedIn Corp.

Members of the Florida Highway Patrol continue to block Orange Avenue as other law enforcement officials confer near the Pulse Orlando nightclub Monday, June 13, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. Pulse Orlando was the scene of a mass fatal shooting early Sunday morning. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Florida Lawyers Organize Help Following Orlando Shooting

Following the weekend mass shooting in Orlando, members of Florida's legal community have quickly taken action to organize resources for victims and their families.

Justice Ronald Castille

Castille Joins Board of Pa. Legal Aid Network

By Lizzy McLellan |

Former Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille has been appointed to the board of directors for the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network.

Many Pa. Jurisdictions Holding off on Juvenile Resentencings

By Max Mitchell and Ben Seal |

Six months ago the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling mandating resentencing hearings for the roughly 500 inmates in Pennsylvania prisons who are serving mandatory life without parole sentences handed down while they were juveniles.

Howard J. Bashman

Appellate Courts: How Useful Is It to Have an Even Number of Judges?

By Howard J. Bashman |

Conventional wisdom dictates that it is less than optimal to design an appellate tribunal having an even, as opposed to an odd, number of judges. But recent experiences at the U.S. Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and even the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, demonstrate, once again, that conventional ­wisdom is not always correct.

Judge Sallie Updyke Mundy

Gov. Wolf Names Mundy as Pa. Supreme Court Pick

By Ben Seal |

Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday nominated Superior Court Judge Sallie Updyke Mundy to fill the vacancy on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court left by former Justice J. Michael Eakin's March resignation. If confirmed by the Republican-controlled state Senate, Mundy would serve on an interim basis through next year.

merger

People in the News—June 14, 2016—Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld

Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld added Timothy J. Levy as counsel and Jessica L. Itzkowitz as an associate.

City Ordinances Place Additional Burdens on Phila. Landlords

By Alan Nochumson |

Since I have been practicing law, ­landlords doing business in Philadelphia have been required to obtain what is called a housing inspection license for their residential dwelling units on an annual basis.

Fox Rothschild Serves Up Appeal For Sharapova

Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova may have been dealt a blow this week by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), which imposed a two-year suspension for an unintentional anti-doping violation earlier this year, but the former top-ranked Russian tennis star is working on an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Pa. Justices to Eye Firm's Termination Penalty

By Lizzy McLellan |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments over whether a termination penalty in a law firm's contingency agreement can be enforced when a client gets new counsel before their matter is resolved.

Gina F. Rubel

Microsoft to Buy LinkedIn for $26.2 Billion and What it Means for Lawyers

By Gina F. Rubel |

Earlier today, LinkedIn announced that it has entered into a $26.2 billion agreement to be acquired by Microsoft. According to their blog, the deal will allow LinkedIn to continue their growth while investing in the LinkedIn platform. The announcement states that “LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence.”

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pennsylvania, at a hearing Jan. 26, 2016.

Fattah's White-Collar 'Crime Spree' Detailed in Closing Arguments

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal prosecutor asked jurors to "follow the money," but defense lawyers for the congressman insist that's a cynical view of innocent conduct.

Pa. Firms Ride National Wave of Growth in IP Practices

By Lizzy McLellan |

As large firms across the country beef up their intellectual property practices, Pennsylvania firms have played a major role in the lateral and acquisition activity, and firm leaders expect these hires and deals to continue in the near future.

People in the News—June 13, 2016—Dilworth Paxson

Dilworth Paxson partner Barbara T. Ilsen was elected to the Foundation Board of Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Birth Certificates: Another Obstacle for Transgender People

By Angela D. Giampolo |

The firestorm of bathroom laws, ­otherwise known as anti-transgender laws, rests on one thing—birth certificates.Very few people realize the ­ramifications, consequences and freedoms that come with a birth certificate.Let's say for a minute that you are a transgender person.You've seen a doctor and received hormone replacement therapy, opting out of gender reassignment surgery for personal reasons or perhaps like many transgender people, you cannot afford medical treatment nor can you access it.Regardless, you want your legal documentation to reflect who you are.Perhaps you hire a lawyer to help you navigate the arduous and antiquated laws of legally changing your name or seek out the assistance of a local nonprofit like Mazzoni Center. You get an affidavit from your doctor that confirms your hormone replacement therapy, in order to change your records with the U.S. State Department. And yet, when it comes time to update the ultimate form of identification, your birth certificate, you are unequivocally unable to do so without undergoing gender ­reassignment surgery.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration main campus building.

FDA's Imodium Warning a Likely Litigation Spark, Attorneys Say

By Ben Seal |

A warning last week from federal regulators that the anti-diarrheal drug Imodium could cause serious heart problems will likely encourage plaintiffs to test claims in the courts, although success is far from certain, attorneys said.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

Lawyers Predict Litigation 'Avalanche' From Class-Action Waiver Ban

By Ben Seal |

As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau takes comments on a proposed rule that would prohibit financial services companies from locking consumers into arbitration, attorneys who handle class actions are preparing for a radically altered future.

Ex-Rite Aid Counsel Shakes Off Fraud Suit

A federal judge in Philadelphia ruled that Franklin Brown, who spent time in federal prison, was released from liability under a 2001 settlement agreement.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane speaks during a news conference Jan. 21, 2015, in Philadelphia.

Kane Fights Top Agent's Retaliation Claims

By Lizzy McLellan |

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has filed a motion to dismiss one of two counts in the federal lawsuit filed by a top Office of Attorney General agent, Kevin Wevodau.

Nimesh Patel.  June 10, 2016.

Wilmer Hires Diversity Director From Homeland Security Dept.

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr has landed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's executive director of diversity to lead its own diversity efforts inside the firm.

Michael Shipp

Ex-GC in Battle With Lenox Over Access to Hard Drive

Lenox Corp., a maker of china, gifts and collectibles, is battling with its former general counsel over the right to examine his computer hard drive in connection with a suit accusing him of taking away confidential information when he left to work for a competitor.

Environmental Groups Oppose Deal Over Clean Power Plan

By John L. Kennedy |

An umbrella organization representing the state's leading environmental groups issued a strong statement against legislation, SB 1195, that represents a compromise between the Republican–controlled legislature and Gov. Tom Wolf over implementation of the federal Clean Power Plan.

Liquor Reform Measure Represents a Compromise

By John L. Kennedy |

House Speaker Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, praised the liquor modernization bill signed by Gov. Tom Wolf, but also called it "an incremental step."

Rite Aid Can’t Sue Ex-Chief Counsel Convicted of Fraud

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The former vice chairman and chief counsel of Rite Aid, who spent time in federal prison for fraud, cannot be sued by the pharmacy chain because of a release in a shareholder class action settlement agreement.

DLA Piper Names New Phila. MP After Buchholz’s Death

By Gina Passarella |

DLA Piper has elevated two Philadelphia partners into new leadership positions in the wake of the death last month of office leader Carl M. Buchholz.

People in the News—Pa. Law Weekly June 14, 2016—Saul Ewing

Justine M. Kasznica, an attorney at Saul Ewing, was elected chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association's space law committee, and a member of the Aeronautical and Space Law Council.

© Valeriy-Fotolia

Justices to Review Extension of Time Bar in Survival Action

By Ben Seal |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to hear argument over the statute of limitations applicable to survival actions in medical malpractice lawsuits, a case that attorneys said will have a significant effect on actions that tend to result in high damages.

Capitol Report

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative activity for the week of June 6. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session June 13.

verdicts and settlements

Jury Renders Mixed Verdict in Trip-and-Fall Case

On July 23, 2012, plaintiff Darrin White, 50, a cemetery director in Newtown, was in the course of his employment when he tripped and fell, striking his head. He later stated that he had tripped over an exposed pipe that housed electric cables providing power to a trailer. A construction project was taking place at the cemetery, overseen by G&C Fab-Con. General-contractor Scungio Borst & Associates LLC and electrical-contractor Travis Inc. were also involved in the project. White claimed that he suffered head injuries.

verdicts and settlements

Paralyzed Lawn Care Worker Settles Truck Accident Claims

The family of a lawn care worker who was paralyzed after he was thrown from a pickup truck in a ­single-vehicle accident has settled with several corporate defendants for more than $26.5 million.

Former Lackawanna Guardian Ad Litem Ross Reinstated

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has reinstated Danielle Ross, the former Lackawanna County guardian ad litem who was sentenced to one year in prison after pleading guilty to a single count of attempted tax evasion, following a 26-month suspension.

Plaintiff Wants Comcast to Reveal Hackers' Identity

By Tom McParland |

In a petition for pre-complaint discovery a plaintiff is asking the federal district court to make Comcast reveal the identity of a person who allegedly stole trade secrets.

Industrial plant at night

Long-Awaited TSCA Reform Finally Nears the Finish Line

By Alison Lecker |

The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), 15 U.S.C.A. Section 2601 et seq., was enacted in 1976 in response to concerns over hazardous chemicals that were not being regulated by other federal laws. TSCA is the only major federal environmental statute that has not yet been updated. After years of attempted reform, Congress reached a deal last month that reconciled conflicting House and Senate bills and allowed TSCA reform to move forward. Once enacted, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act will provide much needed strengthening of federal chemical regulation. TSCA regulates products, rather than waste, and was intended to protect human health and the environment from the risks posed by chemical substances. The TSCA authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to require the generation of data, review new chemical substances before they enter the marketplace and regulate existing chemical substances with identified risks.

An Interview With Nolan N. Atkinson Jr., PDLG Founder

By Sophia Lee and Stella M. Tsai |

Philadelphia Diversity Law Group (PDLG) founder Nolan N. Atkinson Jr. is serving in an historic role as Philadelphia's inaugural chief diversity and inclusion officer. Atkinson reports directly to Mayor Jim Kenney on diversity and inclusion issues, specifically addressing the barriers that keep the city's workforce ­racially and economically divided.

Judge Sallie Updyke Mundy

Mundy Expected to Be Named to High Court

By Ben Seal |

Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to name Superior Court Judge Sallie Updyke Mundy, a Republican, to serve an interim term on the state Supreme Court as part of a package of nominations to fill judicial vacancies.

gavel

Broader Benefits of 'All-Natural' and 'Slack-Fill' Actions

By Paola Pearson |

They are becoming more and more common, "all-natural" and "slack-fill" consumer fraud cases alleging that food and beverage manufacturers deceive consumers by giving them something less than what their product labels or advertisements represent.

Judges Must Recuse From Cases They Once Handled as Prosecutors, Supreme Court Rules

Judges who had a “significant, personal involvement” in a case during their previous role as a prosecutor must recuse when ruling on the case at a later stage, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

Summer Associates Reap Benefits From New Pay Scale

By Julie Triedman |

In domino fashion, more elite firms are ponying up for associates—and many are raising pay for their just-arrived summer classes as well.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh arrives for a graduation and commissioning ceremony at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. on Saturday, May 25, 2013.

K&L Gates' Lobbying Arm Picks Up Top Army Official

K&L Gates has faced a number of partner departures in the last year, but its lobbying arm is in a growth spurt. The national law firm added a fourth former member of Congress to its public policy practice.

Justice Ronald Castille

Castille: Supreme Court’s Recusal Ruling ‘Short-Sighted’

By Max Mitchell and Zack Needles |

Former Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille blasted the U.S. Supreme Court decision that said he should have recused from a death-penalty case that stemmed from the time he was the city's district attorney.

Bankruptcy Trustee's Claims Against Thompson Coburn Survive

By Lizzy McLellan |

A federal judge has declined to dismiss a bankruptcy trustee's claims against law firm Thompson Coburn, which faces allegations that the firm failed to make necessary disclosures while its client, a technology manufacturing company now in bankruptcy, was used as a "vehicle" in an illegal exportation scheme.

gevel in a courtroom

Challenge to Pornography Records-Retention Laws Revived

By Max Mitchell |

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision involving a church sign has revived a First Amendment challenge brought by free speech advocates and pornographers against records-retention statutes aimed at curbing child pornography.

Anthony Kennedy.

In Pa. Case, Supreme Court Sets Rule for Judicial Recusals

By Tony Mauro |

The justices ruled 5-3 that Pennsylvania’s now retired chief justice was ethically bound to recuse from a case where, 29 years earlier as a district attorney, he had signed off on seeking the death penalty.

Have Global Compliance Problems? You're Not Alone

By Monika Gonzalez Mesa |

Companies operating in Brazil, India and Russia face heightened ethics and compliance risks, according to a global survey of 13 countries.

Group of happy business people in a meeting at office

People in the News—June 10, 2016—The Public Interest Law Center

The Public Interest Law Center elected Lisa W. Clark, partner at Duane Morris, and Shannon E. McClure, partner at Reed Smith, to its board of directors.

Cyrstal Clark

Supreme Court Says Employer Intentions Govern in Retaliation Case

By Crystal Clark |

For government employers, disciplining and terminating employees can be especially difficult. Not only does the public employer face the same challenges in complying with the standard alphabet soup of employment laws that private employers do, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Title VII, etc., they also have the complicated task of considering the application of an employee's constitutional rights in making employment decisions.

Reputation Is the Key to Success for a Young Lawyer

By Jonathan D. Klein |

Congratulations! You've studied for the LSATs, gained admission to a law school, graduated, passed a bar or two, and are among the fortunate population to land a job. Now you must face the most difficult task of all: figuring out what kind of lawyer (and person) you want to be. Don't be fooled, this is not an article reviewing how to pick a type of law to practice; it is about taking a reflective look inward and deciding what you want your reputation to be and how to achieve that objective in the years to come.

The Recovery of Damages for the Injuries of Family Members

By Will Sylianteng |

It has been long accepted that uninjured family members may, under certain circumstances, recover tort damages based upon injuries suffered by a loved one. Two recent court cases have again spotlighted the viability of a recovery in tort by an uninjured relative.

Samuel Stretton

Judicial Robes Aren't Required, But It's a Tradition Worth Keeping Alive

By BY Samuel C. Stretton |

I am a judicial officer. I don't particularly like wearing the judicial robe. When should I wear the robe, and when can I not wear the judicial robe?

penn state

Dabbling: A Dangerous Practice Even for Accomplished Attorneys

By William F. McDevitt |

The American Bar Association estimates that 46 percent of all legal malpractice claims are based on the attorney's failure to understand substantive law or specialized procedures, and that more than 60 percent of all malpractice claims involve an area of the law in which the subject attorney works less than 20 percent of the time. Attorneys who practice in a single area of the law account for less than 7 percent of all claims.

Sid Steinberg

Magic Words Not Necessary for Leave to Be Covered by FMLA

By Sid Steinberg |

In Raimondi v. Wyoming County, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67653 (M.D. Pa. May 24, 2016), the court deconstructed an employer's mishandling of an ­employee's request for leave and in doing so provides employers with insightful, step-by-step guidance on how to handle requests for leave when evaluating whether such requests qualify under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the act is not specifically mentioned by the employee.

People in the News—June 9, 2016—Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads

Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads partner Louis R. Moffa Jr. is set to be installed as the 90th president of the Camden County Bar Association on Saturday at the Tavistock Country Club in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission building. October 16, 2012. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Justices Want Obama Administration Views on No-Cash Pay-to-Delay Agreements

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday asked the Obama administration to weigh in on an antitrust question that could affect the ability of drug companies to settle patent disputes and increase their antitrust liability.

K&L Gates offices in Washington, D.C. January 8, 2016. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

A New K&L Gates Hire Quickly—and Quietly—Departs

By Julie Triedman |

A former Latham & Watkins and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan litigation star hired to co-lead K&L Gates’ 900-lawyer litigation department and become a member of its management committee has left the firm after less than four months.

Drone Maker Fires First Patent Suit at Rival

By Scott Graham |

Morrison & Foerster and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati will square off in the first big competitor patent case in the booming field of consumer drone technology.

Stewart Aaron and Michael McMahan

Dewey & LeBoeuf Case Inspires Musical Parody for CLE Credit

The criminal case against Dewey & LeBoeuf executives is the inspiration for a satirical musical to be performed at Debevoise & Plimpton on Wednesday.

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby, right, arrives for a court appearance Feb. 3, 2016, in Norristown.

Cosby Again Seeks Dismissal of Charges

By Lizzy McLellan |

Bill Cosby has renewed his efforts to have felony sexual assault charges against him dismissed in Pennsylvania, with his lawyers claiming prosecutors have stretched the rules to "the breaking point."

Stacey Meadows of Saxton & Stump

Former Jefferson In-House Lawyer Joins Pennsylvania Firm

By Lizzy McLellan |

Stacey Meadows, who served Thomas Jefferson University Health System as senior vice president and general counsel for 16 years, has joined legal and consulting firm Saxton & Stump.

Blank Rome Grabs Reed Smith M&A Partner in Pittsburgh

By Lizzy McLellan |

Blank Rome added corporate capabilities to its year-old Pittsburgh office with the hire of energy and transactional attorney Ron Frank from Reed Smith.

Associate Salary Bumps Trickle In, But They Aren’t For Everyone

By MP McQueen and Susan Beck |

It didn’t take long for at least five law firms to match Cravath’s news Monday that it would increase starting salaries for first-year associates to $180,000, but some firm leaders outside of New York shook their heads at what they said could lead to client dissatisfaction and the potential for associates to be laid off when the market turns and firms can’t afford those high-priced compensation packages.

People in the News—June 8, 2016—Archer & Greiner

Lauren E. Krohn joined Archer & Greiner as an associate in the firm's Haddonfield, New Jersey, office.

Branding the Newest Version of You After Retirement

By Sandra Mazer Moss |

Reinventing yourself after retirement takes a lot of thought and advance planning. It takes courage and creativity. It also takes a lot of sweat and tears, regrets and rejuvenation. All of this I have written about over the last many months.

Courts Should Review Bankruptcy Equitable Mootness Doctrine

By Timothy K. Lewis and Ronald Mann |

On March 21, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review one of the decade's most important legal developments in business bankruptcy practice. The topic is "equitable" mootness, a judge-made rule under which courts dismiss challenges to consummated Chapter 11 plans as "equitably" moot. The purpose of the doctrine is commendable to prevent heedless unscrambling of the operations of businesses just out of bankruptcy. But the cost of avoiding disruption is high, because it brings dismissal no matter how strong the creditor's claim.

A New K&L Gates Hire Quickly—and Quietly—Departs

A former Latham & Watkins and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan litigation star hired to co-lead K&L Gates’ 900-lawyer litigation department and become a member of its management committee has left the firm after less than four months.

$27.6 Million Verdict Reversed for the Third Time

By Max Mitchell |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has tossed as excessive a $27.6 million compensatory award to a woman who needed four knee surgeries after taping a promotional video to show the success of her initial knee-replacement procedure.

Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., pictured center, pleaded not guilty to corruption charges Aug. 18, 2015, in Philadelphia.

Recording of Spouse Allowed Into Fattah’s Trial

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Prosecutors say the phone call is evidence that the couple lied about selling a porsche to cover up an $18,000 bribe.

Kline & Specter Grabs Kolsby Gordon Name Partner

By Lizzy McLellan |

Trial attorneys Nadeem Bezar and Emily Marks have left Kolsby, Gordon, Robin, Shore & Bezar, and are headed to Kline & Specter.

Phila. Drug Cops’ Case Against DA, Officials Tossed

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond said the defamation suit read like a press release and had no basis in law.

Big Firms Move to Match Cravath Associate Pay Boost

At least four large New York firms have moved quickly to match the new base pay scale for associates set Monday by Cravath, Swaine & Moore. And some consultants say more big firms will follow suit.

Fina Leaves Phila. DA’s Office for Private Practice

By Max Mitchell |

An attorney at the center of an email scandal that rocked the state judiciary and political landscape over the past two years has left the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.

Tylenol.

Insurance, Confidential Drug Info Mulled in Tylenol MDL

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Lawyers for the estate of a woman who died of liver failure can tell jurors that Johnson & Johnson was developing a safer product, a Pennsylvania judge ruled on June 3.

Defendants Look for Broader Interpretation of 'Halliburton II'

By Robert L. Hickok& and Gay Parks Rainville |

This month marks the two-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's seminal securities class action decision, Halliburton v. Erica P. John Fund (Halliburton II), 134 S. Ct. 2398 (2014), which allows defendants to rebut—at the class certification stage—the fraud-on-the-market presumption of reliance permitted under Basic v. Levinson, 485 U.S. 224 (1988). According to Halliburton II, defendants may rebut the Basic presumption by showing that their alleged misrepresentations had no impact on the defendant company's stock price. Notably, the court held that defendants may show lack of price impact with appropriate evidence that either "the asserted misrepresentation (or its correction) did not affect the market price of the defendant's stock." Reiterating its decision in Basic, the court explained that "'any showing that severs the link between the alleged misrepresentation and ... the price received (or paid) by the plaintiff ... will be sufficient to rebut the presumption of reliance.'"

People in the News—June 7, 2016—Obermayer Rebmann

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel partner Paul C. Heintz was recognized by the American Cancer Society for 50 years of volunteer service.

Yelp Review of Protected by Free-Speech, Defendants Argue

Dog and fish owners told a Dallas court on June 2 that the breach-of-contract lawsuit filed by a pet-sitting company violates their free-speech rights.

Donald Trump.

Trump's Attack on Judge's 'Conflict' Puts Spotlight on His Lawyers

Donald Trump’s remark that a California federal judge has a “conflict of interest” because of his Hispanic heritage runs counter to a string of cases rejecting similar arguments to disqualify judges, and the comments present Trump’s lawyers with a potential ethical quandary.

People in the News—Pa. Law Weekly June 7, 2016—The Ezold Law Firm

Melanie Bork Graham of The Ezold Law Firm in Bala Cywnyd was appointed to the board of directors of White Horse Village, a continuing care retirement community in Newtown Square.

Vasilios J. Kalogredis

HHS Issues Proposal to Modernize How Medicare Pays Physicians for Quality

By Vasilios J. Kalogredis |

It is worthwhile to understand some of what is being considered to attempt the difficult task of linking reimbursement and quality.

Allentown Not Required to Seek Bids on Recycling Services

By Ben Seal |

The city of Allentown's request for proposals to secure its contract for waste management and recycling services was adequately competitive, a Lehigh County judge has ruled.

Firms Increasingly Making Partners Pay to Leave

As law firms look to protect themselves from cash walking out the door in a low-demand market, they are increasingly looking at methods to discourage lateral departures and, perhaps more importantly, are enforcing those methods more frequently.

Ammunition for Cyberinsurance Policyholders in Phishing Incidents

By Jana Landon |

The largest cybersecurity incidents often start by an unwitting employee clicking an attachment to a document or responding to a seemingly legitimate email. The recently released 2016 Symantec Internet Security Threat Report found that one particular type of incident—phishing­—has been gaining ground rapidly.

© Valeriy-Fotolia

Paralyzed Man Settles Claims for $26.5M

By Max Mitchell |

The family of a lawn care worker who was paralyzed after he was thrown from a pickup truck in a ­single-vehicle accident has settled with several corporate defendants for more than $26.5 million.

Water Authority Immune in Death Caused by Parked Car

By Ben Seal |

A municipal agency is not liable for damages caused by the involuntary motion of a government vehicle, the Commonwealth Court has ruled in an issue of first impression.

Phila. Teacher's Firing for Immorality Violated School Code

By Ben Seal |

While making clear to say the court did not condone a teacher's conduct, the Commonwealth Court has ruled that the School District of Philadelphia failed to adhere to mandatory provisions of the School Code when it fired him for using vulgar language and making inappropriate comments to students.

penn state

Penn State Seeks Appeal in Molestation Coverage Dispute

By Max Mitchell |

Penn State is seeking to immediately appeal a recent decision barring it from receiving insurance coverage for damages stemming from much of the sexual abuse by convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky.

Cybersecurity Special Report

In this Special Report, "Making Informed Choices About the Deep, Dark Web," "Health Care Under (Cyber)attack," "Online Discount Pricing Policies Face Increasing Scrutiny," "Defending a Data Breach Class Action" and "Keep Up With Evolving Regulations."

Business handshake and business people

More Small Firm Leaders Embrace Succession Planning

By Lizzy McLellan |

As partners and firm leaders from the baby boomer generation have begun to reach retirement age, legal consultants said succession planning has become a subject of increasing concern at small law firms, and is a topic they encourage those firms to prioritize.

People in the News—June 6, 2016—Klasko Immigration Law Partners

Klasko Immigration Law Partners partner Daniel B. Lundy was elected co-chair of the Invest In the USA (IIUSA) banking committee.

Antitrust, Appointments and Presidential Front-Runners: Part 1

By Carl W. Hittinger 
and Julian D. Perlman |

Substantial and substantive issues of national importance are often ­obscured by the usual myopic and frenzied focus on political talking points, sensational sound bites and collateral name-calling.

NY In-State Office Requirement for Nonresident Lawyers

By Ellen C. Brotman 
and Andrea Gosfield |

In the 19th century, service of process took some doing in the United States. Pleadings were required to be served in-person and was effected, not through a cadre of bicycle messengers, but more likely by a team on horseback. In order to ease this burden, in 1862, New York enacted a law requiring any attorney wishing to litigate in New York to maintain a physical in-state address, primarily for the purpose of receiving process.

Supreme Court Asks Legislature to Review Workers' Comp Law

By Ben Seal |

A workers' compensation judge may reject the uncontradicted testimony of an independent medical witness who has examined a claimant, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled in an opinion that also called for legislative attention to a "systemic concern" with the assignment of physician exams.

verdicts and settlements

Jury Awards $7.7M For Undiagnose Fatal Blood Clot

The family of a woman who suffered a fatal blood clot after emergency ­medical staff at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital allegedly failed to properly test for a pulmonary embolism won a $7.7 million verdict.

Justices Let Bankrupt Company Swap Trustee as Plaintiff

By Ben Seal |

A bankrupt debtor that has commenced a civil action can substitute its bankruptcy trustee as a plaintiff in that action, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled.

verdicts and settlements

Estate of Woman Killed by Infection Recovers $1.35M

The estate of a woman who died from a fungal infection while at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh will receive $1.35 million from a settlement over a wrongful-death and survival lawsuit.

Court Rejects Greyhound's Bid to Block Discovery in Bus Crash Case

By Max Mitchell |

Greyhound and its parent company may not block discovery of numerous investigative materials that 42 plaintiffs are seeking in lawsuits connected to a fatal bus crash, the state Superior Court has ruled.

Car Insurance

Justices to Eye Extra Word's Impact on UIM Rejection Form

By Ben Seal |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to address a seemingly minor discrepancy in an underinsured motorist coverage rejection form to determine whether an additional word invalidates the document's intent.

The Inequity of Specific Loss Benefits in Workers' Comp

By Andrew F. Ruder |

Your hands: you use them to hold a pen, type on a computer and drive a car. You use them to grasp a hammer, eat a meal and brush your teeth.

Leonard Deutchman

'Friedman' Shows How a Party Can Prevail Under Rule 37(a)

By Leonard Deutchman |

Despite the awful manner in which the authority produced discovery and the innumerable false statements it made in so doing, the court had no trouble denying the plaintiffs' motion for relief under Rule 37(e).

Arbitration-Mediation

Arbitration Increasingly Enforced in Employment Actions

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Arbitration in employment litigation has been on the rise for the past decade. That trend has been driven, labor lawyers say, by an increasing number of courts deciding that arbitration clauses barring employees from starting class actions are enforceable, despite claims by workers that their right to trial has been violated in the process.

Liquor Privatization Seen as Likely Part of Budget Talks

By John L. Kennedy |

The Republican effort in the General Assembly for some level of liquor privatization is likely to arise yet again as part of a negotiated budget deal.

Relief Nunc Pro Tunc, or Is the Appeal Just Sunk?

By James M. Beck |

As an appellate lawyer in a civil action, one does not wish to be any closer to "nunc pro tunc"—literally "now for then" in legal Latin—than reading this article. Nonetheless, the world is not perfect, and occasionally something happens that one wishes had not. This article examines situations in which an appellate party can seek nunc pro tunc, to fix something retroactively, and, conversely, when the problem is irretrievable.

Capitol Report

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive, legislative and judiciary activity for the week of May 30. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session on June 6.

Sam Stretton

Old-fashioned Courtesies Between a Judge and Lawyer Are Allowed

By Samuel C. Stretton |

I am a district judge. A lawyer who appears frequently in my courtroom has received several parking tickets and has failed to pay them. They are now about to go to a warrant. Is it improper for me to call the lawyer and ask him to come in and pay the tickets?

Medical Marijuana Rules Taking Shape

By John L. Kennedy |

The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced that it has started working on temporary regulations to implement the medical marijuana law signed by Gov. Tom Wolf in April.

medical malpractice

State Med-Mal Verdicts Hit 15-Year Low

By Max Mitchell |

Medical malpractice jury verdicts across the state have hit their lowest point since the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts began reporting the figures in 2000.

Proposed Class Sues Phila. Over Lead Contamination

By Ben Seal |

As nationwide concerns grow over the presence of lead in public drinking water, a West Philadelphia resident has filed a proposed class action alleging that the city's water supply is unsafe—and that the city has knowingly concealed any danger to residents.

Mark Alexander

Villanova Names First African-American Law Dean

By Gina Passarella |

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law has named Mark C. Alexander as its next dean, marking the first time the university has had an African-American dean.

James A. Gale and Jeffrey D. Feldman, of Feldman Gale.

Miami-Based Feldman Gale Joining Cozen O'Connor

Cozen O'Connor acquires the intellectual property boutique Feldman Gale. The founders and 13 other attorneys are making the move.

Broad Prior Convictions Language in Pa. Marijuana Law

By David M. Laigaie
and Daniel Clearfield |

In April, Pennsylvania joined 23 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing marijuana for medical use.

Private Equity Funds Liable for Pension Withdrawal Liabilities

By Andrew C. Kassner 
and Joseph N. Argentina Jr. |

We have been reporting on key developments in the restructuring and bankruptcy area for almost six years. When our reported case decisions involve a remand from the appellate courts, we follow them to conclusion.

gavel

People in the News—June 3, 2016—Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin

Alex B. Norman, associate in the Philadelphia office of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, was named a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

CJD: Ex-Traffic Court MDJ Violated Disciplinary Rules

By Max Mitchell |

More than three years after retired Senior Magisterial District Judge Kenneth Miller pleaded guilty to mail fraud for his involvement in the Philadelphia Traffic Court ticket-fixing scandal, the Court of Judicial Discipline has determined that his conduct brought the judiciary into disrepute.

Phila. Bar 5K Event Returns to Raise Money for Children

By Manny D. Pokotilow |

The 37th annual Philadelphia Bar Association 5K Charity Run/Walk took place May 15 with 1,300 participants either running or walking the 5K course. The race annually benefits the Support Center for Child Advocates' efforts to combat child abuse and to defend its ­unfortunate victims in Philadelphia.

Madonna in the video for her single Vogue.

Madonna and ‘Vogue’ Producer Beat Infringement Appeal

In a win for Madonna and the producer of the dance hit “Vogue,” a federal appeals court has created a circuit split over a key issue in copyright infringement claims involving sound recordings.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen, Northern District of California

Uber Deal Takes Hits in Contentious Hearing

Judge Edward Chen had tough questions, but the $84 million deal hasn't yet been scuttled.

Michael Kunz

Longest Serving Clerk in U.S. Court History Retires

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

After 54 years of service as a court clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Michael Kunz is calling it a career.

People in the News—June 2, 2016—Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg

Ronald J. Patterson, co-chair of the ­zoning and land use practice group at Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg, was appointed chairman of the Drexel Alumni real estate group.

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby, right, arrives for a court appearance Feb. 3, 2016, in Norristown.

Cosby: Accuser Should Have Waited Before Sharing Info

By Lizzy McLellan |

As Bill Cosby continues to pursue breach of contract claims against his accuser, he has argued that Andrea Constand should not have shared information with law enforcement without a subpoena or court order requiring her to do so.

Centre County DA's Open Records Process Questioned by Court

By Lizzy McLellan |

A Right-to-Know Law denial of records from the Centre County District Attorney's Office should have been appealed in the Centre County Court of Common Pleas rather than the Commonwealth Court, the latter has ruled, in a decision that raised a question about how the District Attorney's Office handles the open records appeals process.

Christian Petrucci

While Waiting on 'Protz,' Pa. Justices Rule in Another IRE Case

By Christian Petrucci |

As the state's workers' compensation bar anxiously anticipates the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's consideration of Protz v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Derry Area School District), 131 A.3d 572 (Pa. Commw. 2016), last week the court issued a unanimous decision in another case dealing with impairment rating evaluations (IRE), IA Construction v. WCAB (Rhodes), No. 18 WAP 2015. Recall the Commonwealth Court in Protz held that Section 306(a.2) of the Workers' Compensation Act constitutes an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority to the American Medical Association with the legislature directing the use of "the most recent version" of the AMA guides to determine permanent impairment. The Supreme Court agreed to consider the Protz case and even granted petitions for allowance of appeal from both the claimant and the defendant. Notwithstanding that fact, the court made it clear in a footnote in Rhodes that the constitutionality of Section 306(a.2) was not raised in the case and would not be ­considered in the appeal.

Wolf Needs to Nominate Eakin's Replacement Soon YL Editorial Board

By The YL Editorial board |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is currently operating with only six justices, one less than its full complement of seven following Justice J. Michael Eakin's March 15 resignation.

The Everly Brothers, Don and Phil, perform on July 31, 1964.

CBS Wins Fight Over Rights to Play Oldies

CBS has amped up the fight over sound recordings made prior to 1972 with a rare win in California. A federal judge in the Central District of California granted summary judgment on Monday in a case brought by four recording companies asserting rights over 174 sample song recordings, including “All I Have To Do Is Dream” by the Everly Brothers and Mahalia Jackson’s “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”

Obermayer Wants Bulk of Ex-Associate’s Bonus Claims Tossed

By Gina Passarella |

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel wants all but the breach of contract claim against it thrown out in a suit filed by a former associate who alleges the firm improperly altered its formula for calculating associate bonuses.

Dechert

Dechert Reshuffles London Leadership in Growth Bid

By Gina Passarella |

In an example of the laser-like focus U.S. law firms are placing on London in recent months, Dechert has revamped the leadership structure of its London office with an eye toward making it on par with the firm's largest locations in New York and Philadelphia.

penn state

PSU Seeks Delay in McQueary’s Whistleblower Suit

By Max Mitchell |

Penn State is seeking to have former assistant football coach Mike McQueary's whistleblower suit against it stayed pending the ongoing criminal prosecution of two former university administrators who allegedly helped cover up the sex abuse by convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky.

Former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor

OAG's Communications Crisis Shows Shifting Power Dynamics

By Ben Seal 
and Lizzy McLellan |

In the span of an eventful holiday weekend, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General experienced a two-pronged communications crisis that further demonstrated what sources have said is an ongoing power struggle among the office's leadership created by the introduction of a new solicitor general role filled by Bruce L. Castor Jr.

People in the News—June 1, 2016—Education Law Center

Education Law Center added two staff attorneys.

Ushering in the Era of Federal Trade Secret Protection

By Christopher H. Blaszkowski and Antranig Baronian |

Until last month, matters of trade ­secret misappropriation were largely the province of state law. This changed on May 11, when President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), providing for the first time a federal private cause of action for trade secret misappropriation. This is arguably one of the most significant expansions of U.S. intellectual property law since the 1946 Lanham Act and companies are paying close attention.

Recognizing the Role of Optimism Bias in Case Evaluation

By Rick Lowe |

In the immortal words of the Broadway lyricist Johnny Mercer, many people tend to accentuate the positive and ­eliminate the negative. And we sure don't want to mess with Mr. in-between. Several questions emerge: Is this optimism ingrained in us? And does it sometimes do more harm than good? The answers are yes and yes. Research has recently confirmed that most human beings have an innate optimism bias. But at the same time, that bias can distort our thinking when important decisions have to be made. For litigators, the challenge is how to control our optimism bias when ­trying to accurately evaluate a case.

Will Ferrell.

In-House Lawyers Dragged Into Hollywood Talent Poaching Battle

Creative Artists Agency accuses United Talent Agency of inducing 11 prominent CAA agents to break their employment contracts and take their talents and big-name Hollywood clients, such as Will Ferrell, over to rival UTA.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during 2016 elections. (iStockphoto)

Legal Community Shuns Trump in Campaign Contributions

While Democratic presidential candidates usually outpace Republicans when it comes to raising funds from lawyers, so far this year the divide between the frontrunners is particularly steep.

Judge Richard Clifton, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Ninth Circuit Won't Scrap Ruling that Rape Victim Can Sue Modeling Website

In the face of warnings from Facebook and other Internet companies, the panel stood by its 2014 decision.

A diverse attractive man and woman business team at office building

Pa. Firms See Big Boost in Minority Partner Numbers

By Gina Passarella |

It would take a long trip down Legal ­affiliate The American Lawyer's diversity rankings to find a Pennsylvania-based law firm, but of the 16 firms in the state that were ranked based on percentages of minority attorneys, many saw notable improvements while a handful slid further down the ranks.

Uber Drivers Sue in NJ Over Non-Payment of Overtime

Uber Technologies Inc. is facing a putative class action in federal court in Trenton accusing it of violating New Jersey wage and hour laws by failing to pay its drivers overtime for working more than 40 hours per week and failing to reimburse them for vehicle costs.

Contract Clause Sinks Predatory Lending Class Certification

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A contract term in which a group of small business owners agreed not to be representatives in class actions has torpedoed any chance of class certification in their predatory lending case against the lender, a federal judge has ruled.

Family Secures $6M Settlement in Boy’s Pool Death

By Lizzy McLellan |

The parents of a 14-year-old boy who drowned in an apartment complex pool have agreed to a $6 million settlement with the complex owner, property manager and pool safety and management contractor.

Commenting on Cases You're Not Involved in is OK

By Samuel C. Stretton |

The answer is yes. The rule about commenting on trials or trial publicity is found at Rule of Professional Conduct 3.6. That rule appears to be limited to lawyers who are involved. Under Rule of Professional Conduct 3.6(a), the following is noted: "A lawyer who is participating or who has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know will be disseminated by means of public communication and will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding in the matter."

Emotional-Distress Claim Allowed in Suit Over Stillborn Twins

By Ben Seal |

A woman bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit over the stillbirth of her twins can move forward with her claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress, a Lackawanna County judge has ruled. Trial is set to begin May 31 on a variety of claims.

Privacy Claims Over Gun Permit Applications Revived

By Ben Seal |

Civil RightsA group of anonymous plaintiffs can proceed with allegations that Franklin County and its sheriff's office violated their confidentiality by sending uncovered postcards through the mail regarding their applications for gun licenses, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

Immigration, Compliance Issues Facing Higher Ed. Institutions

By Nataliya Rymer and Jennifer Hermansky |

Issues of immigration and compliance affect companies and employers from all industries. However, higher education institutions face unique compliance-related issues and, in particular, compliance issues relating to the maintenance of student and exchange visitor program (SEVP) certification. As this article discusses, site visits and oversight of the higher-education industry have increased tremendously in the past several years, and colleges and universities should ensure that they have an in-depth understanding of the enforcement and oversight arms of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Further, they should create, memorialize and train employees with respect to compliance-related processes and protocols for handling site visits and the DHS correspondence.

Effort to Exempt ER Care From Liability Stirs Debate

By Ben Seal |

A bill that would grant immunity from malpractice liability for emergency health care services has cleared committee in the state House of Representatives, opening up discussions over the reach of the proposed amendment, its possible effect on patient care and what it would mean for potential litigants.

Capitol Report

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative activity for the week of May 23. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session on June 6.

Ariel N. Forbes

Court to Decide Key Issue Regarding Eminent Domain Power

By Ariel N. Forbes |

The development of the Marcellus and Utica shales in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio has resulted in a significant increase in midstream infrastructure development throughout the region to support the delivery of gas to commercial markets. This increase in demand for new pipeline construction and modernization projects has brought with it a host of legal issues, including questions about the exercise of eminent domain power under both the federal Natural Gas Act and state law.

verdicts and settlements

Accord Reached In Fatal Accident With Tractor Trailer

The estate of a man killed in an accident involving a tractor trailer reached a $2 million settlement with the truck's driver and his employer in a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote’s Amee L. Mazzarese is the firm’s recipient of its annual David B. Fawcett Pro Bono Service Award. Mazzarese, an associate with the firm, invested a significant amount of volunteer hours in 2015 toward both the Best Interests Attorney and Protection from Abuse Assistance programs. Dickie McCamey associates each volunteer over 70 hours per year. Pictured, from left, are Administrative Judge Kim Berkeley Clark, Mazzarese, guest speaker Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Senior Judge Kathleen R. Mulligan and Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Donald R. Walko.

People in the News—Pa. Law Weekly May 31, 2016—Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky

Chrystal C. Tinstman was elected to directorship at Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky.

Superior Court Reverses Judicial Admission in Insurance Fight

By Ben Seal |

A Philadelphia trial judge should not have taken a comment in a group of defendants' answer and new matter to their insurer's motion for judgment to be an admission that they lacked coverage for an accident, the Superior Court has ruled.

verdicts and settlements

Bus Company Settles for $1.15M After Fatal Crash

The father of a pregnant woman who was struck and killed by a school bus in Northeast Philadelphia agreed to settle claims against the bus company for $1.15 million.

Lawmakers Say They Found $3B in Savings

By John L. Kennedy |

Just a month before the deadline for a state spending plan, two lawmakers say they have identified $3 billion in potential savings in the cost of running state government.

State Auditor Set to Eye Program That Aided Sandusky's Charity

By John L. Kennedy |

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced last week he is about to scrutinize a state-level grant program that counted among its beneficiaries the Second Mile youth program begun by convicted child abuser Jerry Sandusky.

gavel

Superior Court's 2016 Output Low on Civil Rulings

By Ben Seal |

After two years in which the Pennsylvania Superior Court's published opinions leaned toward the civil docket, the court's written work this year has seen a surge in criminal cases, due in part to fallout from recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings. The comparative rise of published criminal decisions has coincided with a sharp drop in civil opinions that has diminished the shorthanded court's overall year-over-year output by 10 percent.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Closes Door on Coram Nobis

By Clarke H. Madden |

In the heart of ancient Rome, the forum was the scene of many events remembered even today. Part theater and part courtroom, it was there that Cicero spoke and Marc Antony famously eulogized the slain Caesar.

Discrimination Suit Brought Against Staffing Agency Survives

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

While a staffing agency that had been sued over an alleged ­discriminatory firing argued the plaintiff was not its employee, a federal judge has ruled against dismissing the case, saying it was too soon.

'When in Doubt, Appeal' in Consolidated Cases

By Lizzy McLellan |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court's ­ruling last week in Malanchuk v. Tsimura did not change the law in Pennsylvania, ­attorneys said, but it eliminated confusion that had built up in the intermediate appellate courts of when parties can ­appeal in consolidated actions.

Firms Face Big Risks in High-Profile Internal Investigations

By Gina Passarella |

From lawsuits alleging defamation to threats of physical violence from ­disgruntled employees, attorneys who conduct high-profile internal investigations face a bevy of risks as they delicately balance the needs of the client with what the public may come to learn.

istockphoto.com

People in the News

Roberta Liebenberg of Fine, Kaplan and Black was named a recipient of the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award by the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession.

Cannabis Banking Issues: All Cash and Not A Lot of Protection

By Steven M. Schain |

Ever accidentally find $5.4 billion of cash in your back pocket?

A Primer on Federal and Pa. Electronic Surveillance Law

By Kevin E. Raphael 
and Douglas E. Roberts |

Recently, news broke that not one but two former high-ranking Pennsylvania state officials—former Treasurer Rob McCord and John Estey, the one-time top aide to Gov. Ed Rendell—secretly recorded conversations, potentially thousands of them, with political and business leaders at the behest of federal law enforcement. These revelations bring focus on the regulations concerning electronic surveillance and wiretapping: Under what circumstances do they permit the interception of seemingly private conversations? Can law enforcement officers or cooperators record seemingly private conversations without permission? How about private citizens? And do persons who learn their communications have been intercepted without their permission have any recourse? What follows is a primer on this complex and highly technical area of the law.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane addresses the media Wednesday in Harrisburg regarding the charges that allege she released confidential grand-jury materials.

Kane’s Spokesman Quits, Ending ‘Constant Challenge’

By Ben Seal |

Chuck Ardo, the longest-lasting press secretary during Kane’s tenure, said he has resigned from the role, tired of the “constant challenge” of explaining to the public the actions of an elected official facing criminal charges, a raft of civil lawsuits and the ever-escalating din of a divided staff.

Tax Plan Backed by Airbnb Dies in State Senate

Opposition by unions and some cities torpedoed a legisltive attempt to create a statewide system for collecting hotel taxes from rental platforms.

Shop-Vac Class Settlement to Net $4.25M in Attorney Fees

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge’s preliminary approval of a settlement in the Shop-Vac marketing and sales practices litigation has paved the way for $4.25 million in attorney fees for four firms representing the plaintiffs.

Tanning Salon Gets No Coverage in Peeping Tom Case

By Ben Seal |

A Westmoreland County tanning salon that was the site of a man’s surreptitious recording of undressed patrons is not entitled to insurance coverage for a negligence lawsuit brought by 37 plaintiffs who were victims of his actions, the state Superior Court has ruled.

Sam Olens

Georgia AG's Switch on Transgender Suit Reflects National Debate Over Standing, Ripeness

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens gave a brief lesson in civil procedure when telling Republicans in White County how the state would fight the federal government's recent pronouncement on civil rights for transgender public school students.

Superior Court's 2016 Output Low on Civil Rulings

By Ben Seal |

After two years in which the Pennsylvania Superior Court's published opinions leaned toward the civil docket, the court's written work this year has seen a surge in criminal cases, due in part to fallout from recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings. The comparative rise of published criminal decisions has coincided with a sharp drop in civil opinions that has diminished the shorthanded court's overall year-over-year output by 10 percent.

Handicapped sign at entrance to a business..photo by Jason Doiy.12-2-09.050-2009

EEOC Guidance on Leave as an Accommodation Answers ADA Questions

By Jeffrey Campolongo
And Lorrie McKinley |

For those familiar with this column, it comes as no surprise that the most predominant topic over the years has been the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). It really has become our favorite topic to write about. In fact, our very first article in The Legal in 2009 was titled "Ushering in a New Era under the ADA Amendments Act."

Federal DTSA: New Weapon in the Battle to Protect Trade Secrets

By Bridget E. Montgomery 
and Casey A. Coyle |

On May 11, President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) into law. The ­legislation, an amendment to the Economic Espionage Act of 1996, grew out of the Obama administration's determination to protect U.S. corporations from increasing incidents of economic and industrial espionage by foreign competitors and governments, particularly through cyberinvasion into electronic storehouses of business information. The DTSA promises to be a benefit to all employers faced with the theft of trade secrets by departing employees.

People in the News

Melinda deLisle joined Cozen O'Connor as the director of pro bono engagement, a new position in the firm.

Pa. Justices Clarify Appealability in Consolidated Actions

By Lizzy McLellan |

A summary judgment order in one of multiple consolidated actions can be appealed before the other actions are resolved, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled, deciding an issue that had split the state's intermediate appellate courts.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, Northern District of California

Judge OKs No-Poach Class Action Against Animation Studios

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ruled against DreamWorks, Pixar and other animation companies accused of conspiring to keep a lid on workers' wages.

Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., pictured center, pleaded not guilty to corruption charges Aug. 18, 2015, in Philadelphia.

Casey: Fattah Requested Ambassadorship for Friend

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey, D-Pennsylvania, said he received hundreds of requests for governmental appointments because, as an early supporter of Barack Obama’s candidacy, he was thought to have influence with the president.

Obermayer Says Associate’s Bonus Claims Worth $2,500

By Gina Passarella |

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel wants a former associate’s lawsuit against the firm over allegedly bilking him out of bonuses to be sent to arbitration.

Phila. Judge Pleads Guilty to Lying to FBI

By Max Mitchell |

More than two months after entering a not guilty plea to charges of lying to federal authorities, suspended Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Joseph O’Neill has pleaded guilty to the charges.

Socially Responsible Investing—The Next Phase

By Bradley Pike |

Socially responsible investing (SRI) has come a long way from its days when it generally meant not buying shares of companies in industries like tobacco, firearms, or gambling. Now, ­investors can consider a broad range of corporate behavior under the umbrella of so-called "ESG" factors—environmental, social and governance. The acronym ESG represents the latest stage in the evolution from merely screening out industries or companies. Most ESG portfolios not only avoid certain industries, they integrate industry-specific factors into the fundamental research process and thus favor companies that actively promote best practices on ESG issues. As a result, ESG investing is ­sometimes also referred to as "impact" investing.

People in the News

Capehart Scatchard added Dana M. Gayeski to the firm's workers' compensation department in its Mount Laurel, New Jersey, office.

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby, right, arrives for a court appearance Feb. 3, 2016, in Norristown.

In Cosby's Criminal Case, Delaying Accuser Testimony a 'Risky' Move

By Lizzy McLellan |

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele chose not to put Bill Cosby's accuser on the stand Tuesday at the ­comedian's preliminary hearing, relying on a 2015 Pennsylvania Superior Court decision that allowed him to use only hearsay evidence. But that may have been a risky move, criminal defense attorneys said, since the decision has been taken up by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Amana air conditioner.

Just in Time for Summer, Air Conditioner Cases Wilting

Class actions alleging defects in some of the nation’s top brands of residential air conditioner units have gotten a cold reception from federal judges who have denied class certification in at least five cases in the past nine months.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission

Pennsylvania, D.C. Tell Staples and Office Depot to Pay Up After FTC Court Win

The attorneys general for Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia, who joined federal trade regulators in challenging the proposed merger between Staples Inc. and Office Depot Inc., want the office supply companies to reimburse them for a combined $175,000 in legal expenses.

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal

Billionaire's Backing of Gawker Suit Raises Transparency Concerns

PayPal founder Peter Thiel's unique brand of litigation finance highlights what critics say is a troubling secrecy around private funding for lawsuits.

Kmart Settles FLSA Misclassification Suit for $3.8M

Kmart Corp. has agreed to a $3.8 million settlement in federal court in Trenton of two collective actions on behalf of assistant managers who claim they were wrongly classified as exempt from overtime pay in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and state labor laws.

Federal Communications Commission.

Third Circuit Blasts FCC Delay, Hints at Full Deregulation

By Ben Seal |

In a harshly worded opinion criticizing the Federal Communications Commission’s delays in reviewing various rules and definitions, the Third Circuit on Wednesday suggested that complete deregulation of the broadcast industry could be appropriate if the commission waits any longer.

Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., pictured center, pleaded not guilty to corruption charges Aug. 18, 2015, in Philadelphia.

Election Lawyer Details Fattah’s Debt to Montgomery McCracken

By P.J. D’Annunzio |

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pennsylvania, ran up an $84,000 tab for legal work in connection with his unsuccessful 2007 Philadelphia mayoral campaign, but only paid for about half of it, election lawyer Gregory M. Harvey told a federal jury Wednesday.

medical malpractice

Phila. Jury Awards $7.7M for Failure to Detect Blood Clot

By Max Mitchell |

The family of a woman who suffered a fatal blood clot after emergency medical staff at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital allegedly failed to properly test for a pulmonary embolism has won a $7.7 million verdict.

Class Action Over Sunoco Rewards Card to Move Forward

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has rejected Sunoco's bid to arbitrate a proposed class action over alleged false advertising of its fuel rewards card benefits.

FJD Sets Protocol For Resentencing Of Juvenile Lifers

By Max Mitchell |

The First Judicial District has established a system to guide the process of resentencing hundreds of inmates given unconstitutional life sentences as juveniles.

Medical Costs

Phila. Court Cues Up Appeal Over Risperdal Punitive Damages Issue

By Max Mitchell |

A Philadelphia judge has urged the state Superior Court to affirm a $500,000 verdict awarded last year to a man who allegedly suffered excess growth of breast ­tissue as a result of taking the ­antipsychotic drug Risperdal.

New Legal Interpretation Puts Many Patents at Risk

By Lawrence E. Ashery |

Timing is everything—so the ­saying goes. In the world of patent procurement, bad timing can have horrendous consequences. A district court recently held that a patent application was filed one day later than the statute allowed, and the resulting patent was thus invalid. The ­decision contravenes 150 years of accepted patent practice. If the decision is allowed to stand, more than 12,000 patents may become worthless.

People in the News

Gerri Sperling joined Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky's Pittsburgh office.

Bill Cosby speaking event with Judge Marvin Arrington at Benjamin E. Mays High School. .Photo by Zachary D. Porter/Daily Report .4/24/08.4/24/08

In Third Circuit, Cosby Defends District Court Ruling

By Lizzy McLellan |

In a brief to a federal appeals court, Bill Cosby argued that defamation claims brought by a Pittsburgh woman were rightly dismissed.

Alphabet Board Sued Over EU Antitrust Charges

A shareholder derivative suit alleges that leaders of Alphabet and its subsidiary Google left the company exposed.

Carl M. Buchholz, Head of DLA Piper in Phila., Dies at 51

By Gina Passarella |

Despite his many public roles, Carl M. Buchholz was a private man who showed only respect and positivity to others, whether it be in the face of a challenging legal matter or the lengthy illness that ultimately took his life Monday.

Tom Brady

Brady Seeks En Banc Review of 'Deflategate' Suspension

The lead lawyer for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady Monday launched a long-shot bid to win reversal of the four-game suspension the National Football League leveled against Brady for an alleged conspiracy to tamper with footballs in 2015.

Bill Cosby

Cosby Case to Go to Trial

By Lizzy McLellan |

All of the sexual assault charges against Bill Cosby have been held over for trial, a Montgomery County magisterial district judge ruled Tuesday.

Judge Tosses Former Vanguard Lawyer’s Whistleblower Suit

By Gina Passarella |

A tax lawyer whose whistleblower suit against Vanguard had the backing of the SEC saw his claims dismissed Tuesday when a Pennsylvania federal judge found a New York court’s state False Claims Act ruling estopped his federal claims.

Edward T. Kang

Practical Guide to Restrictive Covenants in Pa. and NJ

By Edward T. Kang |

Businesses invest time and money to develop their business procedures, relationships and information, such as marketing strategies, customer information, pricing strategies, and future business development initiatives. These models and information provide businesses a competitive edge, and employers have a strong incentive to guard such assets and protect their businesses by all means reasonably necessary. Employers can typically accomplish this through using a combination of nondisclosure agreements, nonsolicitation agreements, and other restrictive covenants.

The Value of Executive Personnel Involvement in Professional Associations

By Jessica L. Mazzeo |

For attorneys, being involved in professional associations is a given. Not only do those associations offer the required continuing legal education, but they also provide opportunities to network and ideally develop business. Encouraging and supporting firm lawyers to join professional associations is a critical tool for building their professional success and development.

Budget Process and Outcome May Be Different This Year

Following is a listing of executive and legislative activity for the week of May 16. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session May 23 and members of the Senate on June 6.

settlement

Parties Settle For $142,500 After Dog Attack

On June 16, 2014, plaintiff John Gergle, 81, was attacked by a Rottweiler in Cornwall, Pennsylvania, in Lebanon County.

medical malpractice

Death Caused by Misplaced Feeding Tube Leads to Verdict

A Montgomery County jury handed up a verdict awarding $5 million to the family of an 88-year-old man who died after a feeding tube was improperly inserted into his lung, filling it with feeding solution.

Pa. Justices Review Victim Status in Argument Over Testimony

By Ben Seal |

In a drug case tied to a fatal accident, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard argument earlier this month over the designation of victim status on individuals affected by a crime.

Superior Court Gives Accident Victim New Trial on Damages

By Ben Seal |

A woman who was awarded medical expenses and lost wages following a motor vehicle accident has been granted a new trial by the Superior Court to address the trial court's failure to award her damages for pain and suffering.

What the Phillie Phanatic Taught Me About Legal Marketing

By Stacy West Clark |

Recently, I attended a lunchtime retreat offered by DillonMarcus, Executive Retreats on "How to Create Loyal, Loving Fans for Life," which I heartily recommend you attend. The speakers were Evan Marcus and Tom Burgoyne, otherwise known as the Phillie Phanatic's "best friends" for the past 26 years. Together they have written a soon-to-be-published book that has a working title of "Pheel the Love."

New DOL Fiduciary Rules: Effect on Retirement Plan, IRA Investors

By Robert H. Louis |

A long-term project of the U.S. Department of Labor resulted in the issuance in April of new rules on who is considered a fiduciary of retirement plans and IRAs. Fiduciary status is important because it imposes a high standard of behavior when dealing with investors. Since the enactment of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act in 1974, there has been continual litigation on the requirements imposed on fiduciaries, and ­significant recoveries for those whom courts find had not been treated properly.

handshake

People in the News

Thomas, Thomas & Hafer added Kimberly E. Dutch to the firm.

3-D Printing Set to Disrupt Products Liability Law

By Max Mitchell |

The concept of the traditional supply chain, with a designer, manufacturer, distributor and purchaser, forms the backbone of products liability law. But with the rise of 3-D printing, where a person may design and essentially manufacture a ­product in his or her garage, the traditional supply chain goes out the window, along with many basic notions about strict liability.

Allentown Sports Arena Tax Immune Under State Law

By Lizzy McLellan |

A property consisting of a sports arena, retail space and two parking decks is immune from taxation under the Economic Development Financing Law, the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas has ruled, because the properties are within the boundaries of an ­economic ­development zone, and are used in ways that promote economic development.

Erie Law Firm's Contingency Fee Upheld on Appeal

By Ben Seal |

An Erie law firm's contingency-fee award from a settlement it reached with an insurer on behalf of an injured client has been ­affirmed by the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Facebook Threat Ruling Offers Little Guidance, Lawyers Say

By Max Mitchell |

The emerging issue of what ­constitutes a material threat when posted on social media platforms will likely remain unsettled for a long time, according to Pennsylvania criminal law practitioners.

Justices Set to Eye Good Faith in Limited Partnerships

By Ben Seal |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to review whether the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing applies to all limited partnership agreements under state law.

Time Clock

New U.S. Overtime Standards Expected to Spark Litigation

By Ben Seal |

The U.S. Department of Labor last week announced its final rule updating overtime regulations, expanding pay protection to 185,000 new Pennsylvanians and giving employers six months to ensure compliance.

People in the News

Robert A. Korn of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein was appointed to the American Arbitration Association's newly formed master mediator panel for construction cases.

Sam Stretton

Threats of Criminal Charges Can Be Made in a Civil Case

By Samuel C. Streeton |

I am involved in a civil case with opposing counsel. I received a letter from opposing counsel threatening my client with criminal charges. I thought that was a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct?

Fewer Pa. Firms Found on Am Law 200

By Gina Passarella |

Movement up the rankings by some Pennsylvania law firms and a drop off by another has left just two Keystone State firms on the Am Law 200 this year..

Jay Evans

A View From the Sidelines 2: Oral Arguments and the New Supreme Court

By Jay Evans |

In late 2013, I authored a piece regarding where the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (as constituted at that time) might be leaning regarding a contested products liability matter, Tincher v. Omega Flex, 104 A.3d 328 (Pa. 2014). At the time, I predicted where the justices might be leaning based on the questions they posed at oral argument. I made the "bold" (quotes intentional, as the prediction was anything but) prediction that the Supreme Court would change the landscape of products liability matters, but not adopt the Restatement (Third) of Torts.

Can Women Be Required to Wear High Heels to Work?

Some U.K. employers seem to think so judging by a recent report that went viral about a London receptionist who was sent home after refusing to trade her flats for heels.

Death of TD Bank's Coin Counters Has Plaintiffs Lawyers Hopeful

Lawyers for the plaintiffs in a crop of putative class actions alleging TD Bank's coin-counting machines shortchanged customers said they're hoping the company's announcement that it was unable to rectify problems with the devices will hasten resolution of the litigation.

<b>ON THE DEFENSE:</b> Entertainer Bill Cosby faces allegations that he drugged and ­molested women throughout his career.

Cosby Denied Stay in Criminal Case

By Lizzy McLellan |

Bill Cosby’s emergency application for a stay of his criminal case has been denied by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, allowing his preliminary hearing scheduled for Tuesday to proceed.

fracking

Fracking Water Transport Workers Eligible for OT Pay

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The transportation of fracking water between oil-and-gas drilling sites does not constitute the type of interstate commerce that would exempt employers from paying overtime wages, a federal appeals court has ruled.

fracking

Energy Slowdown In Pa. Spurs Rise In Employment Suits

By Gina Passarella |

Three Fair Labor Standards Act cases have settled in Pennsylvania federal courts in as many months over workers' claims their employers in the fracking industry failed to pay them overtime.

For Operations, More Midsize Firms Seeking Nonlawyers

By Lizzy McLellan |

The chief operating officer or executive director role is growing in ­popularity among midsize firms, legal recruiters and consultants said, but it can be a tricky position to fill because of the various definitions of the job among firms of that size.

Local Rental Ordinances Used to Banish Residents

By Sara J. Rose |

The U.S. Supreme Court called it "a form of punishment more primitive than torture," but banishment, a government action that bars someone from living in a given area, is having a resurgence in Pennsylvania. Municipalities that want to keep out certain kinds of residents are ­turning to their rental ordinances to restrict who can live in their communities.

Continuing Evolution of Legal Mal Breach of Contract Claims

By Josh J.T. Byrne |

In a legal malpractice action, a plaintiff may recover against his or her attorney under a trespass (negligence) or an assumpsit (breach of contract) theory. Historically in Pennsylvania, there was a clear distinction between legal malpractice claims sounding in breach of contract and those sounding in negligence.

Judicial Selection Systems That Lead To Greater Diversity

By MAIDA R. MILONE |

It will come as no surprise to many readers that people of color are significantly ­underrepresented on state appellate courts. In fact, while people of color make up roughly one-third of the nation's population, 25 states currently have all-white Supreme Court benches. The processes by which judges and justices are selected for the bench correlate with more or less diversity on the courts: Merit selection ­corresponds with the greatest racial diversity on state courts.

The Public Interest Calendar of Events

• On June 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30; and July 7, 14, 21 and 28, the Philadelphia Bar Association's public interest section, law school outreach committee is scheduled to host the "Summer Brown Bag Lunch Series," from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Bar Association. On June 9 and 16, the programs are scheduled to be held in the 10th-floor boardroom. The series kicks off on June 2 with a program on "Internship Success to Fellowships and Your First Public Interest Job," featuring current public interest fellows and other newer attorneys in our community. On June 9, a panel on "Lawyering in the Community" is expected to feature attorneys from Esperanza Immigration Legal Services, Face to Face Legal Center, Good Shepherd Mediation Program, Legal Clinic for the Disabled and SeniorLAW Center. A full schedule of the programs will be posted on the public interest section's Web page at www.philabar.org.

People in the News

The Pennsylvania Bar Association public utility law section is set to present its Christianson Award to Johnnie E. Simms on Tuesday during the PBA Public Utility Bench Bar Conference in Harrisburg.

Daniel Zimmermann, WilmerHale

Behind Every Successful Startup, a Battle Over Ownership

The stakes make co-founders "more susceptible to screwing each other," says plaintiff lawyer K. Luan Tran, who repped a Snapchat cofounder.

Shannon Liss-Riordan

Lawyer for Uber Drivers Fires Back at Critics

Shannon Liss-Riordan questioned the credentials of a "celebrity lawyer" and others second-guessing her $84 million settlement of employment claims.

Lamb McErlane Launches Health Care Practice

By Lizzy McLellan |

Lamb McErlane has brought on the founding shareholder of a health law firm in Wayne to lead its newly formed health law department.

$1.15M Settlement Reached in Fatal Bus Crash Case

By Max Mitchell |

The father of a pregnant woman who was struck and killed by a school bus in Northeast Philadelphia has agreed to settle claims against the bus company for $1.15 million.

Firm’s Suit Against Insurer Over Indicted Lawyer Moved

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

An action filed by a law firm against an insurance company over professional liability coverage for legal fees incurred from the criminal investigation of one of the firm’s lawyers has been removed from Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to federal court.

Yoga instructor and massage therapist Dilek Edwards in 2013

Judge Finds for Employer Who Fired 'Cute' Woman

Even under New York's liberal employment discrimination laws, a woman fired for being "too cute" does not have a claim for gender discrimination, a Manhattan judge has ruled.

Handicapped sign at entrance to a business..photo by Jason Doiy.12-2-09.050-2009

Third Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Suit Over Handicapped Access

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A disabled-accessibility suit brought by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-subsidized agency against the owners of a factory converted into apartments was properly dismissed, a ­federal appeals court has ruled.

Associates May Have Closer Eye on How They Are Billed Out

By Gina Passarella |

Hourly rates can be a moving target as clients negotiate down firms' published rates, but in a low-demand era where lawyers need every dollar they can bring in, it seems associates are the ones troubled lately with how rates are set.

Time Clock

Employers Need to Assess Impact of DOL's Final Overtime Rule

By Andrea M. Kirshenbaum |

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) formally announced its Final Rule that slightly more than doubles the minimum salary ­threshold for "executive," "administrative" and "professional" employees to qualify as exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) from $455 per week (or $23,660 per year) to $913 per week (or $47,476 per year). The Final Rule also ­provides that the salary level to remain exempt will be automatically updated every three years.

Ad Funds Paid to Network Not Recoverable as Fraudulent Transfer

By Rudolph J. Di Massa Jr. and Chad E. Odhner |

Last year we wrote about Janvey v. Golf Channel, 780 F.3d 641 (5th Cir. 2015), in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that advertising fees accepted by Golf Channel could be recovered as a fraudulent transfer by the court-appointed receiver of the failed Stanford International Bank Ponzi scheme. At that time, the circuit court reasoned that such advertising services, as a matter of law, provided no "value" from the perspective of creditors of the defunct scheme, as the entity providing these services contributed to a perpetuation of the scheme, albeit unintentionally. We expressed concern that this holding created uncertainty and risk for trade creditors who have unwittingly done business with a counterparty that operates a Ponzi scheme. On rehearing, however, the court vacated its holding and submitted a certified question to the Supreme Court of Texas to determine the applicability of the "reasonably equivalent value" defense under the Texas Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (TUFTA). Disagreeing with the federal circuit court, the Texas Supreme Court, in Janvey v. Golf Channel, No. 15-0489, (Texas April 1, 2016), ruled that "reasonably equivalent value" is determined ­objectively as of the time of the transfer, without reference to whether the transfer actually benefited creditors in retrospect.

People in the News

MacElree Harvey partner William J. Gallagher was elected president of Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Big Talcum Verdicts Stemmed from Lawyers’ Deep Data Dive

For more than 30 years, medical researchers had studied whether there was a link between talcum powder use in the genital area and ovarian cancer. The answer? It depended on whom you asked. Ted Meadows, who had just finished handling cases brought by women alleging the hormone replacement drug Prempro caused their breast cancer, wanted to take a closer look at the studies. It paid off.

U.S. District Chief Judge Phyllis Hamilton, Northern District of California

Facebook Escapes Big Damages in Privacy Class Action

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton will allow Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein to pursue injunctive relief on behalf of Facebook users, but not financial compensation.

Federal Judge Ludwig, Known for Kindness, Dead at 87

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Edmund V. Ludwig, a senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and an advocate for awareness of mental health for criminal defendants, died of heart failure Tuesday morning three days shy of his 88th birthday.

Center City Gay-Bashing Perpetrators Sued

By Max Mitchell |

The victims of a 2014 gay-bashing that occurred in Center City Philadelphia have launched a civil suit against the perpetrators of the assault.

Signing a contract

Compliance With Pre-existing Duty Not Adequate Consideration for Arb Agreement

By Peter J. Kreher and Frank P. Trapani |

In Bernetich, Hatzell & Pascu v. Medical Records Online, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division refused to enforce an arbitration clause and class action waiver for lack of consideration where one party to the purported agreement merely agreed to comply with a pre-existing legal duty. This article discusses the decision and its implications.

New U.S. Overtime Standards Expected to Spark Litigation

By Ben Seal |

The U.S. Department of Labor announced its final rule updating overtime regulations, expanding pay protection to 185,000 new Pennsylvanians and giving employers six months to ensure compliance. Employment attorneys said the new regulations present a complex set of challenges to employers that are likely to lead to a burst of litigation against businesses slow to adapt, as well as more lawsuits over off-the-clock work.

Michael Doctrow

For IP Attorney, No Horsing Around During Triple Crown Run

By Lizzy McLellan |

The weeks between the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes are action-packed and nerve-wracking, not just for a Triple Crown hopeful and its owners, but for the lawyer who represents them.

Fattah's Ad-Buyer Details Repayment of Illegal $1M Loan

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Just after his defeat in the 2007 Philadelphia mayoral primary, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah's campaign was facing a $600,000 debt from what prosecutors are calling an illegal $1 million campaign loan made by the former CEO of Sallie Mae.

Do Not Underestimate Your Own Power in Your Career

By Dena Lefkowitz |

What do you do when you need a little inspiration? A nudge to get you going? Reassurance that you can make it work? Affirmation that you are enough?

Reasons to Work In-House: A Paralegal's Perspective

By Tamika N. Way |

Throughout my career, I've had the opportunity to work for private law firms as well as in-house counsel and have noticed the differences between them. Although the areas of law practiced are similar, there is a difference in not only the environment, but also the opportunity for advancement, the lifestyle and attorney-paralegal dynamic. In some instances, after working in a private law firm, paralegals tend to look for their next opportunity in-house. There are many reasons why a paralegal would choose to begin and/or continue their career in-house. This article will exam a few. Although this article is focused on the differences between private firms and in-house counsel, not all law firms and in-house counsels conduct business in the same fashion.

People in the News

Reed Smith partner Paul Jaskot was elected to the board of directors of St. Joseph's Preparatory School in Philadelphia.

A logo sign outside of facility occupied by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, in Somerville, New Jersey on May 31, 2015.

Risperdal Case Settles, but No Global Accord Is Seen

By Max Mitchell |

The Risperdal case that was next in line for trial has settled, but that doesn't mean a global settlement is soon to follow in the mass tort, according to an attorney handling the litigation.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal, Northern District of California

Lawyer Wants Recusal of Judge Who Took Job at Facebook

An attorney suing Google says U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal should step aside from case where Facebook and Google have similar interests.

Third Circuit Judge Among Trump’s Potential Supreme Court Picks

By Gina Passarella |

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Judge Thomas M. Hardiman was among a list of 11 jurists Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump announced Wednesday as people he would consider nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court if given the chance.

Ex-Lundy Law Employee Pleads Guilty to Tax Charges

By Lizzy McLellan |

A former intake coordinator for Lundy Law has pleaded guilty to filing false federal income tax returns, after failing to report kick-backs he received through his job at the firm.

Ex-Obermayer Lawyer Accuses Partners of Short-Changing Associates

By Gina Passarella |

A former Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel associate has sued the firm based on allegations it had a system of reallocating rates to the benefit of partners, thereby reducing associates’ chances at obtaining bonuses.

Rescue staff look for Massapequa residents in need of help after Hurricane Sandy.

List Price of Home After Sandy Was Impossible, Referee Rules

Hurricane Sandy's damage to a waterfront Long Island home made it impossible for a divorcing couple to sell the property at the previously agreed-upon listing price, a court attorney referee said.

Bizarre Scientology Case Comes to Bizarre Conclusion

In a move that stunned her lawyers, a Texas woman has dropped her lawsuit alleging that the Church of Scientology engaged in a relentless and bizarre harassment campaign against her—including sending her a sex toy at work.

Montco Attorney Jailed for Failure to Transfer Funds

By Max Mitchell |

A disbarred Montgomery County lawyer who was ordered last year to pay $18.4 million due to alleged misuse of several employee-benefit plans was jailed recently for failing to transfer $1.68 million in assets to a court-appointed fiduciary.

People in the News

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis counsel Timothy K. Lewis is set to be part of a panel on "The Next Supreme Court Confirmation Battle" on May 26 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Immigration Policy: How Much Can President Do Without Congress' Approval?

By William A. Stock |

Donald Trump has made a promise to enact immigration restrictions a central part of his appeal for the Republican presidential nomination, from increasing physical barriers on the border to his call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration. On the Democratic side, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have made promises that they will provide temporary protection from removal for an even larger category of immigrants without status than President Obama's currently enjoined Deferred Action for Parents of Americans or "DAPA" program would.

Federal Legislation Changes the Trade Secrets Landscape

By Michael P. Broadhurst, Kevin M. Passerini and Leigh Ann Buziak |

Despite the political campaign season and after years of discussion, Congress has enacted federal legislation establishing a private right of action for misappropriation of trade secrets, ­vesting the federal courts with original jurisdiction over the litigation of such claims. On April 27, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to send the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) to President Obama for his signature. This vote followed the Senate's passage of the bill earlier in April by a vote of 87-0. After signaling his support for some time, the president signed the bill into law May 11.

In Birth Certificate Suit, ADA's Transgender Rule Again at Issue

By Gina Passarella |

Two transgender people have sued the Pennsylvania Division of Vital Records and Department of Health over a policy that denies gender assignment changes on birth certificates unless the person has undergone gender confirmation surgery. The case provides at least a ­second shot in Pennsylvania to challenge the Americans With Disabilities Act's nearly 30-year ban on its protections covering the transgender community.

handshake

Environmental Firm in Montco Replaces Its Longtime COO

By Lizzy McLellan |

An environmental, energy and land use firm based in the Philadelphia suburbs has hired a veteran in midsize firm operations to replace its 22-year chief operating officer.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled for the FTC in blocking the merger of office supply rivals Staples and Office Depot.

Blocking Staples-Office Depot Deal, Judge Wasn't Bullish on Amazon

In her defense of Staples Inc.'s proposed $6.3 billion acqusition of Office Depot Inc., Diane Sullivan described Amazon.com Inc. as a rising behemoth poised to revolutionize the market for office supply sales to large corporate customers. But U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan didn’t buy the trial attorney's bullish view, according to the opinion released Tuesday that lays out his reasons for blocking the deal.

Hill Wallack moves to 21 Roszel Rd. in Princeton, N.J.

Partner's Past in 'Mount Laurel' Case Gets Hill Wallack DQ'd

A New Jersey appeals court has ruled that Princeton's Hill Wallack cannot defend a developer and landowner in two disputes over affordable housing because one of the firm's partners represented the same plaintiffs in the landmark Mount Laurel cases decades ago.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pennsylvania, at a hearing Jan. 26, 2016.

Witnesses: Fattah 2007 Bid Was Poorly Run And Starved for Cash

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A Philadelphia Municipal Court judge who previously served as a high-ranking member of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pennsylvania's 2007 mayoral campaign, along with the former CEO of Sallie Mae, detailed the flow of money connected to the congressman's mayoral bid at Fattah's ­corruption trial in federal court Tuesday.

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

Judge: Pennsylvania AG Kane's Motion Does Not Conform With Procedure

By Lizzy McLellan |

A motion filed by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, which alleged she is the victim of a selective and vindictive prosecution, has been stricken for failing to conform with the rules of criminal procedure. Kane has been granted leave to re-file the motion.

Ex-Chief Counsel of Litigation at Sunoco Joins Blank Rome

By Gina Passarella |

Rather than accept Sunoco's offer to ­relocate to Dallas along with a portion of its corporate headquarters, the company's chief counsel of litigation decided to stay in Philadelphia and return to law firm life.

Berks County MDJ Suspended Amid Felony Theft Charges

By Lizzy McLellan |

A Berks County magisterial district judge has been suspended without pay after being criminally charged last week with allegedly stealing more than $113,000 from a local volunteer fire ­company and the court where he presided.

People in the News

Greenblatt, Pierce, Engle, Funt & Flores attorney Harry J. Kane Jr. was elected to partnership in the firm.

Fetal Pain Claims Seen as Viable After Court Decision

By Max Mitchell |

In the wake of a recent court ruling leaving it up to a jury to decide whether unborn twins experienced pain before their death, attorneys who have not considered asserting a fetal suffering claim should be on notice that the cause of action is viable, according to lawyers.

Court Refuses to Appoint a Conservator to Property

By Alan Nochumson |

Last month, in Champagne v. The Thomas Cole Group, 2016 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 140 (April 5, 2016), Judge Arnold L. New of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania issued a memorandum opinion refusing to allow the appointment of an individual to serve as conservator to rehabilitate an alleged blighted property under the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act, 68 P.S. Section 1101, which is commonly referred to as Act 135.

An Open Letter to the Chief Judges of Federal District Courts in Pa.

By Peter F. Vaira |

Dear U.S. District Chief Judge Petrese Tucker of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Chief Judge Christopher Connor of the Middle District, and Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti of the Western District:

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby, right, arrives for a court appearance Feb. 3, 2016, in Norristown.

Cosby Accuser Says Contract Suit Aimed at Intimidation

By Lizzy McLellan |

Andrea Constand, who reached a confidential settlement with Bill Cosby in 2006 over sexual assault allegations, has asked a federal court to dismiss the comedian's breach of contract claims against Constand and her mother.

ERISA Claims Tossed Against Christie & Young

By Max Mitchell |

A federal judge has tossed several claims against Christie & Young that sought disgorgement of $250,000 in fees over claims that the money was misappropriated from employee retirement plans by disbarred attorney John Koresko, who had operated their trusts.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during 2016 elections. (iStockphoto)

Morgan Lewis Straddles the Trump-Hillary Divide

The billionaire reality television star and the former secretary of state don’t agree on much, but they’ve both found reasons to turn to ex-candidate Ted Cruz’s former law firm.

D.C. Circuit, Acting on Its Own, Takes 'Clean Power Plan' to Full Court

Less than a month before a three-judge appeals panel in Washington was scheduled to consider a challenge to the Obama administration's clean-energy plan, the court announced on Monday that the full bench would hear the case instead in September.

Harrisburg

Hundreds But Not All Charges Tossed Against Harrisburg Ex-Mayor

By Ben Seal |

A Dauphin County judge has dismissed 305 of the 449 charges filed against former Harrisburg mayor Stephen Reed, who has been accused of siphoning public funds from civic projects to purchase a host of ­artifacts and memorabilia, such as a vampire-hunting kit, that he allegedly planned to use for a museum.

medical malpractice

$5M Verdict in Med Mal Suit Over Feeding-Tube Death

By Ben Seal |

A Montgomery County jury has handed up a verdict awarding $5 million to the family of an 88-year-old man who died after a feeding tube was improperly inserted into his lung, filling it with feeding solution.

Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., pictured center, pleaded not guilty to corruption charges Aug. 18, 2015, in Philadelphia.

U.S. Rep. Fattah Looks to Distance Himself From Washington Politics

By Gina Passarella |

Both sides in the corruption trial of U.S Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pennsylvania, and his alleged co-conspirators agreed the case was about "theft, fraud and corruption," but the parties diverged when it came to just who was involved in the scheme.

Case Over BMW Motorcycle That Caught Fire Allowed to Proceed

By Lizzy McLellan |

A federal judge has declined to grant summary judgment to BMW in a products liability case over a motorcycle that caught fire, because a jury may find the fire was preventable if a warning about the fire risk was present on the motorcycle itself.

Dealing with Natural Disasters 101

By Colleen Vallen |

With spring in full swing, it has brought with it a number of significant natural disasters. From monster wildfires to tornadoes and flooding, parts of the country have been dealing with significant challenges from Mother Nature.

Strong Financial Start to 2016 May Not Carry Through

By Gina Passarella |

A significant shortening of Pennsylvania firms' collection cycles last quarter meant a big boost in revenue for the start of the year, but flat demand and below-average inventory could mean less impressive showings throughout the rest of the year, a Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group survey shows.

Legal Implications of the 'Gig' Economy on Monday's 'The American Law Journal'

The so-called "gig" economy—think Uber, Lyft and Airbnb—is changing the face of business and finding its way into court.

Opportunities and Challenges for Delivering Alcohol in Pa.

By Alva C. Mather |

With eBay's recent announcement that it is officially partnering with the retailer network platform Drync, the company joins an ever-growing group of industry startups as well as certain key online retailers focused on the shipment and delivery of alcoholic beverages directly to consumers. However, like everything related to the regulation of alcohol, the ability to directly ship alcohol varies widely by state as well as by ­product. In Pennsylvania, this is particularly true as market participants try to straddle the differences in the rules and regulations regarding beer, which is left largely to the private market, as compared to wine and spirits, which are controlled by the state. While restrictions remain, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board in recent years has developed guidance for the public as well as new market entrants on the contours of obtaining delivery licenses for beer, wine and spirits in the commonwealth.

People in the News

Darren Weiss, an attorney at Offit Kurman, is set to discuss doing business under Pennsylvania's new medical marijuana law from 10 to 11:30 a.m. May 24 in the firm's Philadelphia office.

5 Things for New Lawyers to Consider in Charting Their Careers

By Frank Michael D'Amore |

A new crop of summer associates has descended on law firms and first-years will be coming in a few months. I have reminisced with colleagues, on occasion, about how different things may have been had someone shared career advice with us when we started. For all those who don't have a parent, sibling, or family friend who's a lawyer or don't have access to the Oracle of Delphi, incarnate, I offer five things that my informal group wishes others would have whispered in our ears when we embarked on our legal careers.

Class Action Practices Notice Increase in Consumer Lawsuits

By Lizzy McLellan |

Consumer class actions appear to be on the rise, lawyers in the field said, and that seems to be driving the focus of a number of Pennsylvania firms that do class action work.

Senior District Judge Maxine Chesney, United States District court for the Northern District of California

Alioto's Airline Injunction Bid Fails to Take Off

U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney refused to block airlines from implementing policy that hikes prices for multiple-city tickets.

Shannon Liss-Riordan

Uber Settlement Blasted by Plaintiffs Lawyers, Drivers

After plantiffs attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan settled a driver class action for $100 million, there are calls for her to step off case.

Airplane Assault Gets Probation for Former Big-Law Partner

By Lizzy McLellan |

A former partner at a large law firm has been sentenced to five years' probation for federal charges related to her unruly conduct on an airplane.

Traffic Court

Ex-Traffic Court Judge Barred From Future Judicial Office

By Max Mitchell |

The Court of Judicial Discipline has barred former Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Michael Sullivan from holding future judicial office.

Peter J. Liacouras of Temple University in 2002

Peter J. Liacouras, 'Visionary' of Temple Law, Dies at Age 85

By Ben Seal |

Peter J. Liacouras, whose five-decade career at Temple University included stewardship of its law school into a home of experiential learning and international law, died May 12 at 85.

Balancing Different Manners, Needs of Colleagues

By Stephanie Stecklair |

As the former law clerk and now newest associate at my firm, I have worked extensively with each of the attorneys—three partners and two other associates, all five of which are female. Of course, not one of them has a style of practice like the other and keeping them happy means knowing the attorney, her manner and the needs of the client.

Skyline of downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Ex-Leader of Phila. Firm Sues Disability Benefits Provider

By Gina Passarella |

The former head of a Philadelphia law firm has anonymously sued the firm's disability benefits provider for failing to pay for career-ending neurological injuries the partner suffered from taking antibiotics.

MTA, LIRR Found Not Liable for Death of Cadet

A West Point cadet's decision to duck under or sidestep pedestrian warning gates just before he was killed by a speeding Long Island commuter train was the kind of "reckless and extraordinary conduct" that relieves the transit operators of liability, an appeals court has ruled.

Time Clock

Overtime Suit Proceeds Against Friendly's Chain

By Max Mitchell |

A federal judge has allowed a proposed class action lawsuit over wage policies to go forward against a Friendly's restaurant company that operates hundreds of Friendly's restaurants across the country. U.S. District Judge Sylvia H. Rambo of the Middle District of Pennsylvania denied motions from Friendly’s Ice Cream LLC, which operates more than 600 Friendly’s restaurants from Maine to Florida. The company had sought to toss the case, arguing, among other things, that the plaintiff failed to show that a joint employment relationship existed between it and its franchisees, the local owners and operators of the restaurants.

Unnamed Third Party's Standing at Issue in Estate Case

By Ben Seal |

Is intent enough to consider an estate document completed? The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard argument last week on that simple question and the complex set of issues it has created in a legal malpractice suit brought by a group of individuals named in a trust document that never received a final signature.

verdicts and settlements

$7.25M Settlement After Man Falls Through Glass Floor

A man who fell through a glass floor at the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia settled his claims against the museum and a ­security firm for $7.25 million.

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Expansion of Negligence Liability to Text Senders Untenable

By Daniel E. Cummins |

A riddle of negligence law has always been to what extent the orbit of responsibility extends outward from a tortfeasor's conduct toward an injured party so as to render the tortfeasor potentially liable as a matter of law.

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Life Insurance: Is It a Shortfall or a Windfall?

By Carolyn R. Mirabile |

Life insurance has become an integral part of our society. Due to the heavy financial responsibilities many are undertaking, life insurance assists the surviving spouse in meeting the financial obligations to which a couple has committed. But with that responsibility comes many obstacles which are often overlooked.

E. McCord Clayton

Policy Vs. Predictability: High Court Trades Off in Recent Contract Cases

By Cord Clayton |

In reviewing some of the major Pennsylvania Supreme Court decisions of the last few months, I was reminded of the old story Judge Learned Hand used to tell about his parting exchange with Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes one day after lunch.

Constitutional Limits on Civil Forfeiture Reviewed by High Court

By Ben Seal |

In a case that could broadly effect government seizures of personal property in Pennsylvania, the state's high court heard arguments last week over the constitutionality of civil forfeiture involving individuals with no criminal culpability.

Sam Stretton

Although Publicly Filed, Judicial Campaign Contributions Should Still Be Disclosed

By Samuel C. Stretton |

I read your article the other week about a common pleas judge receiving a $25,000 campaign contribution in their race and your suggestion that all parties should be notified if the litigant or their attorney was the person who made the contribution. Some other people involved in the world of ethics tell me they disagree with your suggestion. Who is right?

Insurer Hit With Attorney Fees for 'Unreasonable' Removal

By Ben Seal |

A federal judge has ordered an insurance company to pay attorney fees and costs for an "objectively unreasonable" attempt to remove to federal court a lawsuit over a motor vehicle insurance settlement.

Workers' Comp Fund Owes No Benefits Until Claim Notice

By Ben Seal |

The Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund is not responsible for a workers' compensation claimant's benefits—either wage-loss or medical—until the fund is provided notice of the individual's injury and the employer's lack of insurance, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

istockphoto.com

People in the News—Pa. Law Weekly May 16, 2016—Peacock Keller

Charles C. Keller, senior counsel at Peacock Keller, was selected as a co-recipient of the Southpointe CEO Association's 2016 World Class CEO Award.

Justices Eye Owner's Liability for Construction Contract

By Ben Seal |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard argument last week in Harrisburg to determine whether an agent of a construction company is liable to a contractor for unpaid work, diving into the expansiveness of the Contractor and Subcontractor Payment Act.

Capitol Report

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative activity for the week of May 9. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session May 16.

People in the News—May 13, 2016—Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads

Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads associate Ralf D. Wiedemann was elected to the executive committee of the Consular Corps Association of Philadelphia.

Miriam Barish

Complexities and Challenges of Pa. Liquor Liability Law

By Miriam Barish |

Despite the heightened awareness of the dangers of drinking and ­driving, thousands of people are killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes each year, accounting for nearly one-third (31 percent) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. In Pennsylvania, the General Assembly responded to this problem by adding a provision, Section 4-493(1), to the Pennsylvania Liquor Code, 47 Pa. Stat. 
Section 1-101 et seq. This provision prohibits a liquor licensee, such as a bar or ­restaurant, from selling liquor to a ­visibly intoxicated individual or a minor. The ­licensee can be held liable for any ­damages resulting from a violation. Liability has been limited to those persons licensed to sell intoxicants by the decisions of Pennsylvania courts, not permitting the imposition of ­liability upon social hosts for serving ­visibly intoxicated guests over the age of 21.

EPA to Finalize Hazardous Waste Pharmaceutical Disposal Rule

By Matthew C. Sullivan 
and Garrett D. Trego |

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to finalize ­regulatory changes that would provide new requirements for managing hazardous waste pharmaceuticals later this year. This article provides an overview of the proposed regulations, discusses some of the key issues on which the submitted ­comments have focused, and analyzes some issues that should be addressed by the final rule.

Furloughs Based on Teacher Performance Weighed

By John L. Kennedy |

Gov. Tom Wolf has acquiesced to the Republican-controlled General Assembly, and increasingly to a handful of Democrats, on budget items: he allowed the completion of the 2015-16 budget and a related fiscal code bill to become law without his signature.

Polls Show Toomey-McGinty U.S. Senate Race as 'Toss-up'

By John L. Kennedy |

Early polls and pundits have characterized one of the most watched races in the nation, the Pat Toomey-Katie McGinty race for U.S. Senate, a "toss-up."

verdicts and settlements

Insurer Settles For $1.5M After Fatal Truck Crash

On Oct. 24, 2014, plaintiff's decedent Rachel Eberly, 74, was driving on Ramona Road toward Route 422, in Myerstown. As she entered the intersection, the driver's side of her station wagon was broadsided by a pickup truck. She died instantly from multiple trauma. The pickup truck was driven by Earl Ebling, who had gone through a stop sign. He was charged with careless driving involving death, among other traffic violations.

A logo sign outside of facility occupied by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, in Somerville, New Jersey on May 31, 2015.

Janssen Looks to Push Lawsuits Over Invokana Drug Out of Phila.

By Max Mitchell |

As the number of lawsuits being filed in Philadelphia over the diabetes drug Invokana continues to grow, Janssen Pharmaceuticals has begun looking to send the cases elsewhere.

Pennsylvania Investment Firm Hires GC From Global Money Manager

By Lizzy McLellan |

A Conshohocken-based investment firm has hired an attorney from a global asset management company for its new general counsel position.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal, Northern District of California

Judge Grewal to Leave Bench for Facebook

The federal magistrate judge will join Facebook next month as vice president and deputy general counsel of litigation.

construction

Effective Risk Allocation Should Be Fair and Multifaceted

By Joshua R. Lorenz |

Many ambitious company owners and their attorneys pride themselves on always getting the best deal in a contract for a construction project. Often, they consider a successful contract to be one in which they've accepted as little risk for the project as possible and pushed most, if not all, of the risk to other parties.

Congressman Chaka Fattah, D-Pennsylvania, listens to testimony from Attorney General Eric Holder during the Department of Justice Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Overview Hearing before the House Appropriations Committee on March 16, 2010.

Witness’ Mental Health Records Off Limits in Fattah Trial

By Max Mitchell |

In the lead-up to the racketeering and ­corruption trial of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pennsylvania, a federal judge has barred defense attorneys from cross-examining a key prosecution witness about their bipolar disorder.

Berks Co. MDJ Accused of Stealing From Court, Fire Dept.

By Lizzy McLellan |

A Berks County magisterial district judge has been charged with multiple felonies for allegedly stealing a total of more than $113,000 from a local volunteer fire ­company and the court where he presides.

Abraham J. Gafni

Unwittingly Submitting to Mandatory Arbitration Provision

By Abraham J. Gafni |

Parties may relinquish their right to litigate in court in many ways. They click a box on a computer screen, open a container containing a purchased product or turn on an electrical device, and, by so doing, they agree to submit all disputes with another party to binding arbitration.

The Statue of Liberty

People in the News—May 12, 2016—Pennsylvania Bar Association

The Pennsylvania Bar Association Immigration Law Pro Bono Award is set to be presented to Reading-based lawyers Bridget Cambria, Carol Anne Donohoe and Jacquelyn M. Kline during the association's Friday annual Meeting Awards Breakfast in Hershey.

Farnese Indictment Shows Fed's Interest In 'Politics as Usual'

By Max Mitchell |

Charges federal prosecutors recently brought against a state senator for allegedly buying the vote of a Philadelphia Democratic City Committee member to secure a ward leadership post appear to be novel charges that could have a chilling effect on "politics as usual," according to court observers.

Judge William Alsup, United States District Court for the Northern District of California

Alsup Wants to 'Come Clean' With Googacle Jury

Keeping the first trial a secret won't work and may backfire, the judge told lawyers for Oracle and Google.

Judge Tosses Most Counts in Centre Co. DA’s Lawsuit

By Lizzy McLellan |

A federal judge has dismissed all but one count in a lawsuit brought by Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, who alleged that the 12 defendants conspired against her to drive her from office.

Superior Court Affirms $3M Topamax Verdict

By Max Mitchell |

Rejecting arguments from Janssen Pharmaceuticals that federal law ­pre-empted a plaintiff's negligent failure-to-warn claims over the name-brand anti-seizure medication Topamax, the state Superior Court has affirmed a $3 million award against the drugmaker.

Signing a contract

Pa. Justices Review SRC’s Voiding of CBA With Teachers Union

By Ben Seal |

The School District of Philadelphia's ability to cancel a collective bargaining agreement with its teachers union—and its effect on the distressed district's economic status—drew the attention of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Harrisburg on Wednesday.

DLA Piper's Washington, D.C. offices.

DLA Piper to Shed 200 UK Jobs Amid Restructuring

After a review of its business services function, the global legal giant plans to cut up to 200 support jobs in the U.K., with the bulk of those roles being moved to a new operations center in Warsaw.

$1.5M in Attorney Fees Awarded in Diet Drug Cases

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has awarded $1.5 million to a law firm representing plaintiffs in the diet drug class action as well as the ­multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

FCPA Pilot Program: Motivate Companies to Self-Report Violations

By Andrew G. Hope |

Following the deputy attorney general's individual accountability memorandum issued last September, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced a one-year pilot program in an effort to motivate companies to self-report violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Guidelines released April 5 set forth the new standards and corresponding incentives for cooperation in the ­investigation of FCPA-related conduct.

Sid Steinberg

Additional Consideration and Presumption of At-Will Employment

By Sid Steinberg |

Pennsylvania is, of course, a state with a strong presumption that employment is "at-will." At-will employees can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all. One of the few exceptions to at-will employment is where an employee can demonstrate "additional consideration" beyond the services for which he or she was hired. In Wakeley v. M.J. Brunner, 2016 Pa. Super. LEXIS 227 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2016), the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the lower court's judgment for the defendant on the plaintiff's breach of contract claims, ­although the employee's relocation and house purchase were sufficient additional consideration to overcome the at-will ­employment presumption.

construction

People in the News—May 11, 2016—Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel

The Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel is scheduled to hold a program titled "Current Issues in Pennsylvania Construction and Construction Defect Litigation" at 12:30 p.m. May 17 at Davio's Steakhouse, 111 S. 17th St., Philadelphia.

New Trial Denied for Capital One Analyst Hit With $13.5M Fine

By Max Mitchell |

A federal judge has denied a new trial for the ex-Capital One analyst hit with a nearly $13.5 million fine earlier this year.

Sweet Deals: Firms Binge on Friendly's, Krispy Kreme Sales

Move over, kale and quinoa. This week it’s doughnuts and ice cream keeping deal lawyers happy.

State Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Philadelphia, during a news conference April 4, 2013, in Philadelphia.

State Sen. Farnese Charged With Bribery Conspiracy

By Ben Seal |

State Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Philadelphia, has been charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with buying the vote of a member of the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee.

Juggling Family and Career, Even After Retirement

By Sandra Mazer Moss |

I want to be the perfect grandmother to my fabulous grandchildren, but this does not always fit in with my two jobs as an executive director at Temple University's Beasley School of Law and a mediator/arbitrator at the Dispute Resolution Institute.

Saul Ewing Creates Cyber Practice Led by NSA Vet

By Lizzy McLellan |

Saul Ewing has established a new practice group in cybersecurity and privacy, and has brought on a partner who formerly worked with the National Security Agency to lead the practice.

George Washington Bridge

Judge Orders List of Bridgegate Co-Conspirators Released

The judge hearing the criminal case of Bridgegate defendants William Baroni Jr. and Bridget Anne Kelly has granted a request by media organizations to disclose the names of unindicted co-conspirators in the alleged lane closure scheme.

$7.25M Accord Reached in Rodin Museum Fall

By Max Mitchell |

A man who fell through a glass floor at the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia has settled his claims against the museum and a ­security firm for $7.25 million.

Harrisburg

In Ex-Rep. Veon’s Case, ‘Criminalizing Politics’ at Issue

By Ben Seal |

The justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned prosecutors' interpretation of the conflict-of-interest statute, tangling with the "frightening" effect former state Rep. Michael Veon's conviction could have on public officials around the state.

Vaping Company Sues FDA Over New Regulations

Covington & Burling, representing Nicopure Labs LLC, on Tuesday sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over new vaping rules, which were published today. The company, which sells the devices and manufactures the "e-liquid" used, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Washington claiming the agency overstepped its authority.

Labor Leader Seeks New Privacy Rule for Video Depositions

By Lizzy McLellan |

In a case where the appeal itself has ­become the source of questions over recusals and quorum, an attorney for labor union leader John Dougherty argued before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for new law to keep video depositions confidential, so they are not used for purposes other than litigation.

Former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor

Castor Signed Gansler Contract in First Days at OAG

By Lizzy McLellan |

A contract between the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and BuckleySandler partner and former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler has been approved, four months after state Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced her appointment of Gansler to investigate a large body of OAG email records. The contract was signed by Bruce L. Castor Jr., who Kane appointed as solicitor general in March, shortly after Castor joined the OAG.

People in the News—May 9, 2016—Pennsylvania Bar Foundation

The Pennsylvania Bar Foundation is set to present the 2016 Louis J. Goffman Award to David J. Millstein of Greensburg on Thursday during the Pennsylvania Bar Association annual meeting Awards Luncheon in Hershey.

Howard J. Bashman

Amendments to Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure to Take Effect

By Howard J. Bashman |

On Dec. 1, several noteworthy amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure are scheduled to take effect. The most significant amendments will affect the maximum ­permitted length of briefs, the time available for responding to briefs and motions that have been served electronically, and amicus briefs submitted in connection with panel rehearing or rehearing en banc.

Should Lawyers Refrain From 'Scouring' Jurors' Social Media?

By Jeffrey N. Rosenthal |

One might expect a high-profile copyright infringement action ­between two of the world's largest tech companies—with $8.8 billion in potential ­damages at stake—would involve cutting-edge technological issues and ­industry-wide implications. And since its inception in August 2010, Oracle America v. Google—currently before U.S. District Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California—has left all those involved anxiously awaiting a decision on whether Google's use of Oracle's copyrighted Java code in its Android OS, used by over 300 million mobile devices, was allowed by the fair use doctrine.

FTC’s Bid to Halt Penn State Hershey-Pinnacle Merger Denied

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has denied the Federal Trade Commission’s request to stop Penn State Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth System from moving forward with their merger.

Uber headquarters in San Francisco

Uber's Exposure Topped $850 Million in Driver Suit

According to estimates made public on Monday, potential damages at trial tower above the $84 million settlement—but only if everything went in the drivers' favor.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane

In Response, Kane Calls Montco DA’s Filing ‘Nonsense’

By Ben Seal |

Following a filing from the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office that called her motion "frivolous" and questioned the research that went into it, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has filed a reply that addresses "significant ­misstatements and omissions" in the state's response.

QVC Can Attempt to Pierce Veil of Cleaning Supply Company

By Gina Passarella |

With the Third Circuit reversing an order on piercing the corporate veil, retailer QVC is poised to get a second chance at more than $200,000 in refunds it says a cleaning supply company owes it for returned goods.

Judge Terrence Boyle.

North Carolina Turns to Prominent Conservative Lawyer to Defend 'Bathroom' Law

A go-to lawyer for Republican governors facing scandal and controversy, solo practitioner Karl "Butch" Bowers Jr., will represent North Carolina Gov. Patrick McCrory as he defends a state law that requires transgender state employees to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificates.

Franklin Institute Violated ADA by Charging Caregiver

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The Franklin Institute violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it charged a severely disabled man's ­caregiver admission to the museum in addition to charging the man, a federal judge has ruled.

Autism, Pharma and Expert Testimony on Monday's 'The American Law Journal'

A recent study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) shows a link between autism and SSRI use by pregnant women. Why is this unlikely to see the inside of a courtroom anytime soon?

People in the News—May 9, 2016—Pennsylvania Bar Association

The Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division is set to present its Michael K. Smith Excellence in Service Award to Philip H. Yoon during the state association's annual Meeting Awards Luncheon on Thursday in Hershey.

Skyline of downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia Slashing Fees For Court-Appointed Counsel

By Max Mitchell |

Attorneys agree that selecting juries and attending sentencing hearings are essential elements when handling any case, but city of Philadelphia officials charged with processing payments for court-appointed attorneys might think differently. According to numerous sources, the unit within the Philadelphia Department of Public Safety responsible for processing payments for court-appointed attorneys has recently begun cutting fees for nearly all work, except for days spent at trial.

Fetal Suffering Sent to Jury in Malpractice Case

By Ben Seal |

A jury should determine whether stillborn twins were capable of feeling pain and ­suffering while in the womb, a Lackawanna County judge has ruled.

Angela Giampolo

EEOC Files Landmark Sexual Orientation Discrimination Charges

By Angela D. Giampolo |

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed its first suits challenging sexual orientation discrimination as sex discrimination—one has its origin in Pennsylvania and the other case originates from Maryland. In two separate ­lawsuits, the agency charges that a gay male ­employee and a lesbian employee were subjected to hostile work environments because of their sex.

AI Pioneer ROSS Intelligence Lands Its First Big Law Clients

Baker & Hostetler is the first law firm to make public that it has licensed the artificial intelligence product using IBM’s Watson technology for bankruptcy matters.

In this May 7, 2015 photo, Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., speaks during a My Brother's Keeper town hall at the School of the Future in Philadelphia. Fattah, an 11-term Democrat from Philadelphia, was indicted Wednesday, July 29, 2015, on charges that he misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars of federal, charitable and campaign funds. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Government Witness’ Mental Health Argued in Fattah Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Lawyers for defendants in the racketeering and corruption case against U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pennsylvania, urged the judge to release the psychiatric records of one of the prosecution's cooperating ­witnesses in the case.

‘Fuck the Police’ YouTube Song Was Threat, Witness Intimidation

By Ben Seal |

A man who posted to YouTube a rap video called "Fuck the Police" that included the names of two police officers intentionally communicated a threat and intimidated witnesses in a pending criminal case, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has held.

Timothy R. Holbrook, Emory University College of Law

Supreme Court Split Gives Boost to IP Cases

While the court waits for action on the Antonin Scalia vacancy, it may gravitate toward IP and other disputes without ideological trappings.

Designer Kenneth Cole

In Kenneth Cole Case, Court Adopts Review Standard for Mergers

The Court of Appeals, validating designer Kenneth Cole's $279 million bid to gain complete control over his eponymous company, ruled unanimously that lower courts should apply a blended approach when considering shareholder challenges to so-called going-private mergers.

Court Won’t Help Landowner Recoup ‘Dreams’ of Oil-and-Gas Riches

By Gina Passarella |

In throwing out a rural Pennsylvania lodge's bid to have the court revise an eight-year-old oil-and-gas lease, a federal judge said the court can't make up for the dwindling natural gas market in the state or the plaintiff's outsized expectations for gas royalties.

Jury Awards $44M For Failure to Treat

A Philadelphia jury hit the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania with a $44.1 million verdict for failing to recognize a woman's adverse reaction to anti-coagulant medication before she suffered a brain hemorrhage.

High Court Session Set to Parse Conflict Law, SRC Powers

By Ben Seal |

An ex-lawmaker's challenge to the constitutionality of Pennsylvania's conflict-of-interest law is on tap as part of a busy argument session before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Harrisburg this week.

Workers' Compensation Fraud Not Limited to Employees

By Daniel J. Siegel |

The "F" word. To many, it means a certain four-letter word that is not spoken in sophisticated company. To workers' compensation attorneys, and others involved in the workers' compensation system, it means a certain five-letter word that is often bandied about almost indiscriminately. To these people, the "F" word is "fraud." In a recent column, two workers' compensation attorneys began by discussing fraud generally, but never tied it to workers' compensation. For good reason.

People in the News—Pa. Law Weekly May 9, 2016—Reed Smith

Reed Smith appointed Ericson P. Kimbel as partner in the firm's global energy and natural resources industry group, and construction and engineering team.

Radiology Mix-up Leads to $6M Award

A woman who allegedly had her appendix needlessly removed after her radiology slides were mixed up with another patient's secured a nearly $6 million verdict against the radiology firm.

Justices Agree to Eye Arrest of Voluntarily Stopped Driver

By Ben Seal |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to determine whether a state trooper's interaction with a voluntarily stopped motorist is a mere encounter or an investigative detention that requires reasonable suspicion to produce criminal evidence.

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Expungement of PFA Records an Important but Often Overlooked Tool

By Aaron Weems |

The expungement of criminal records in Pennsylvania is a well-established procedure. The process has taken its shape through criminal cases and codified in statute in the criminal code and juvenile act. Due to the absence of statutory guidance, however, it is easy to overlook the accessibility of expungement for cases filed under the Protection from Abuse Act (PFAA).

Probation Officers' Grievance Over Benefits Ruled Timely

By Ben Seal |

An Allegheny County court employees association was within its contractual seven-day limit in challenging the county's attempt to raise payroll deductions for health benefits, despite the county providing notice of its intent to implement the new deductions several weeks earlier, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

gavel

Austin Takes Over as PBA President With Focus on Future

By Ben Seal |

As Sara Austin prepares to take the reins as the Pennsylvania Bar Association's newest president on May 13 following the organization's annual meeting in Hershey, she's thinking about ways to increase engagement with the bar, broaden its membership and better serve the needs of attorneys around the state. The York County civil litigator, who is often found scuba diving when outside of the courtroom, said she already has a theme picked out for her year at the helm: dive right in.

Budget Vehicle Begins Journey Through General Assembly

By John L. Kennedy |

The House last week considered on second consideration legislation, HB 1999, that will almost certainly be the vehicle for the spending plan for Fiscal Year 2016-17. The measure could go to the Senate this week.

No One Knows if Surplus Will Carry Over

By John L. Kennedy |

The state's Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) predicts that state revenue collections will outpace expenditures by $150 million when the fiscal year ends on June 30. But it's unclear how much of that money the state will carry over into next year.

Small Firms Look to Attract Middle Class With Flat Rates

By Lizzy McLellan |

For middle-income individuals and families, the Internet has made it significantly easier to find a lawyer for family or estate planning purposes. But for the small firms that offer these services, the Internet has created a more competitive market and a need to stand out.

Not Favored, But Nonrefundable Fees Are Allowed

By Samuel C. Stretton |

I am a young lawyer who emphasizes criminal law. All the older lawyers tell me I should put the word "nonrefundable" in my fee agreement. Do you recommend that?

Capitol Report

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative activity for the week of May 2. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session May 9.

Is Equitable Mootness Disappearing in the Ninth Circuit?

By Francis J. Lawall and Deborah Kovsky-Apap |

A great deal has been written in recent weeks about the Ninth Circuit's decision in First Southern National Bank v. Sunnyslope Housing, Case No. 12-17241 (9th Cir. Apr. 8, 2016), in which a divided panel set aside the order confirming the debtor's Chapter 11 plan of reorganization. Much of the commentary has focused on the majority's interpretation of 11 U.S.C. 506(a), which governs the value of a secured claim, and Judge Richard A. Paez of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's dissent from the ­majority's opinion. Of equal interest and broader ­significance, however, is the fact that the Ninth Circuit heard the appeal at all.

Shkedy/Smolen

Estate Planning With Life Insurance Trusts and Related Taxes

By Rebecca Rosenberger Smolen 
and Amy Neifeld Shkedy |

Twenty years ago, when the exemption from the federal gift and estate tax was "only" $600,000 per ­taxpayer, estate planners advised nearly all of their clients who owned life insurance policies to implement a life insurance trust to hold such policies. Now that the exemption from such tax has increased nearly 1,000 percent to $5.45 million, and it has become "portable" between spouses, it is significantly less common for clients to need to consider implementing such trusts and they are thus not nearly as ubiquitous as they used to be. In addition, many clients for whom life insurance trusts made sense to only five years ago (when the exemption was scheduled to revert to $1 million per taxpayer) need to consider whether to dismantle trusts that now may seem to be more of a hassle to administer than they ­appear to be worth.

People in the News—May 6, 2016—Kleinbard LLC

Kleinbard LLC partner Mary Beth Gray is set to serve on two panels at the 2016 Capital Strategies and M&A Forum hosted by Matheson Financial Advisors.

Fair Use in Higher Education: Lessons Learned From Georgia State

By Dina Leytes and Christine E. Weller |

For many colleges and universities, hard-copy library reserves are a thing of the past. Many schools have taken to digitizing their reserve materials, allowing students to access required books and articles from the comfort of their dorm rooms.

Facebook Photo-Tagging Class Action Clears Hurdle

U.S. District Judge James Donato said the company can't use a provision in its user agreement to evade Illinois privacy law.

penn state

Sandusky Secures PCRA Hearing

By Max Mitchell |

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

Student drinking from a drinking fountain.

More NJ School Districts Could Face Lead Contamination Suits

With every public school in New Jersey under orders to test for lead in their water supplies following the discovery of elevated levels in several Newark school facilities earlier this year, school districts across the state now face potential litigation.

Minority Owners in LLCs Have Little Protection From Bullying

By Patricia Farrell |

Ever since Pennsylvania passed the Limited Liability Company Law of 1994, the limited liability company (LLC) has become the business structure of choice for most family-owned and closely held businesses in Pennsylvania.

Allstate Denied New Trial in Ex-Agents’ Termination Suits

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The federal judge presiding over a case in which former Allstate Insurance Co. agents claimed they were forced to sign unfair releases upon termination has ­denied the company's request for a new trial.

penn state

Judge Nixes PSU’s Coverage for Many Sandusky Abuse Claims

By Max Mitchell |

Penn State may not receive insurance coverage for damages stemming from much of the sexual abuse by convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky, a Philadelphia judge has ruled.

Bayer Erectile Dysfunction Drug Patents Valid, Judge Rules

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Watson Laboratories, sued in Delaware federal court for patent infringement by Bayer, has not proven that patents related to the erectile dysfunction drug it sought to produce a generic version of were invalid as obvious, the judge has ruled.

People in the News—May 5, 2016—Pennsylvania Bar Institute

The Pennsylvania Bar Institute is set to present "Commercial Litigation Update: What You Need to Know About Philadelphia and Eastern District Practice," on May 11.

Christian Petrucci

Pa. Supreme Court to Consider 'Pipeline Systems' Case

By Christian Petrucci |

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently granted a petition for allowance of appeal in the matter of Pipeline Systems v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Pounds), Pet, 384 WAL 2015. The underlying case sought to determine whether a "good Samaritan" was in the course and scope of his employment when he was injured while attempting to assist a fellow employee who fell into a concrete pit. The Commonwealth Court's main focus was not on the employee's actions, which the employer deemed a ­departure from his normal job, but on what the claimant was doing at the time of his alleged departure. Given this focus, the result in Pipeline Systems was favorable to injured workers and seemingly consistent with a significant body of case law.

The Right Fit: Lessons I Learned From Making a Career Move

By Christopher M. Varano |

Being a lawyer has always been my dream job. I can trace my desire to be a lawyer back to fifth grade. Our teacher had given us a geometrical math problem to teach us about angles, and I spotted a flaw: The angles of a four-sided figure did not add up to 360 degrees. Being the intrepid 12-year-old that I was, I walked up to the teacher to point out his error. He was not convinced. He marched me to the front of the class, put the problem on the overhead projector, and told me to explain the flaw to the class. Without hesitation, I pointed out the mistake to the class. Again, the teacher was not convinced. He asked, "How do you know that four-sided figures have 360 degrees?" (This was a lesson he had yet to teach us.) I explained my reasoning to him and the class. The teacher conceded that I was correct and that we could stop working on the math problem. The class cheered and I felt like a hero. In that moment, I fell in love with lawyering.

FJD, DA Present FY 2017 Budgets to Phila. City Council

By Max Mitchell |

The First Judicial District touted its ­cost-saving measures and cooperation with other criminal justice agencies when it came before Philadelphia City Council on Wednesday asking for approval of its nearly $158 million budget for next year.

Zoloft.

Plaintiffs Appeal Dismissal of Zoloft MDL

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The plaintiffs in 316 dismissed cases from the scuttled Zoloft multidistrict litigation in Pennsylvania federal court have appealed the judge's decision to end the MDL.

Third Circuit Rejects Antitrust Claims Over Sanofi’s Lovenox

By Gina Passarella |

Emphasizing the tenet that antitrust laws are enacted to protect ­competition—and not competitors—the Third Circuit has rejected one competitor's claim that Sanofi-Aventis had an unfair advantage in the anti-coagulant drug market.

Bill Cosby

Cosby Asks Justices to Toss Criminal Case

By Lizzy McLellan |

Bill Cosby is seeking an appeal at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in an attempt to have the criminal case against him thrown out.

Plaintiff's Testimony in Forklift Case Limited Under 'Tincher'

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A woman injured in a forklift accident is not allowed to present evidence of the machine's brake and hydraulic issues in her strict liability and negligence case against the manufacturer, a federal judge has ruled.

Martin Shkreli and attorney Evan Greebel are escorted by law enforcement agents in New York in December 2015.

More Charges May Be Coming Against Shkreli, Attorney

Martin Shkreli, the former pharmaceutical executive who was arrested alongside his company's corporate attorney, Evan Greebel, may use a "reliance of counsel" defense and is exploring whether to sever his case from Greebel's.

Justin Bieber.

Houston Man Sues Justin Bieber Over Alleged Beer-Bong Incident

A Houston man alleges in a lawsuit he filed in Houston on May 3 that Justin Bieber smashed his cellphone after the singer saw him filming Bieber drinking from a "beer bong" in a Houston club.

Defense attorney Gerald Shargel, pictured left, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane appeared in court April 20, 2016, in Norristown for a pretrial hearing.

Montco DA Moves to Quash Kane Appeal

By Lizzy McLellan |

The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office has argued that Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane's appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court is premature and should not be ­allowed to proceed.

Anthony S. Volpe

The Unforeseen Dangers of Good-Faith Business Disclosures

By Anthony S. Volpe |

Many companies, particularly small businesses and closely held ­family-owned companies, develop commercial relationships with other companies over a course of repeated dealings that become more like commercial friendships. Like personal friendships, these commercial friendships have an unspoken level of trust where unguarded conversations become more frequent. While this more relaxed relationship is most likely helpful in the day-to-day dealings between the companies, it can result in unforeseen problems when there is a disclosure of confidential or propriety information without any formalized agreement about how the discloser and recipient are to handle the disclosed information. The issues of ­deciding when information is important and should be subject to some formal agreement and the nature or form of that formal ­agreement the discloser should request are not obvious.

Workers' Comp Case Could Deal Blow to Franchise Model

By Ben Seal |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has taken up a workers' compensation case that attorneys said has the potential to chip away at the franchise model and diminish its value in the state.

Company Websites and the Americans With Disabilities Act

By Charles S. Marion |

A client recently emailed me for ­assistance with an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claim. I quickly contacted a colleague who practices construction litigation, but it turned out that the claim did not involve one of my client's brick-and-mortar locations. Rather, my client's website was at the center of the complaint because it did not comply with the ADA. "Are websites even subject to the ADA?" my client asked.

merger

People in the News—May 4, 2016—Rawle & Henderson

Jamie L. Augustinsky joined the Philadelphia office of Rawle & Henderson.

Paul Weiss' David Bernick HANDOUT

Paul Weiss Hires High-Profile Product Liability Litigator

David Bernick, a former general counsel of tobacco giant Philip Morris International Inc., has left Dechert for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, which restocked its litigation group after a notable departure in January.

Facebook's campus at 1601 Willow Road in Menlo Park, CA

Facebook Bomb Threat Comment Raises Free Speech Questions

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The First Amendment case of a high school student suspended for making a Facebook post about a bomb threat entered murky constitutional waters Tuesday when a federal judge said the law was conflicted as to whether students can be punished by schools for Internet remarks.

NCAA Brought Back Into Suit Over Student’s Death

By Max Mitchell |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has pulled the NCAA back into a lawsuit over claims that it failed to perform proper medical testing of a student-athlete who died during a late-night basketball practice.

Judge Certifies Loan Officers’ Wage Suit Against RBS Citizens

By Gina Passarella |

A federal judge in Pittsburgh has conditionally certified a collective action raising Fair Labor Standards Act claims against RBS Citizens for allegedly failing to pay mortgage loan officers overtime wages.

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby, right, arrives for a court appearance Feb. 3, 2016, in Norristown.

In Cosby Litigation, Transcript Release Becomes Central

By Lizzy McLellan |

The release of Bill Cosby's 2005 ­deposition transcript has become the subject of a so-called "wild goose chase," as the comedian alleges that his ­accuser's attorneys played a role in getting the full transcript to major media outlets.

$6M Verdict Secured After CT Scan Mix-Up Leads to Appendectomy

By Max Mitchell |

A woman who allegedly had her appendix needlessly removed after her radiology slides were mixed up with another patient's has secured a nearly $6 million verdict against the radiology firm.

Vasilios J. Kalogredis

OIG Opinion Views a Cost-Sharing Arrangement Favorably

By Vasilios J. Kalogredis |

On April 19, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued Advisory Opinion 16-04.

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Attorney Robert G. Hess, 93, Dies

Attorney Robert G. Hess, 93, died on April 21 in Langhorne.

People in the News—May 3, 2016—Jacobson & John

Jacobson & John partner Hollie B. John is set to present as part of Lehigh University's 44th Special Education Law Conference.

Preparing for New Crowdfunding Regulations on the Horizon

By Katayun I. Jaffari 
and Kimberly W. Klayman |

On May 16, Regulation Crowdfunding is set to come into effect. Regulation Crowdfunding or Rule 100(a) was adopted in October 2015 and is applicable to crowdfunding offerings conducted in reliance on Section 4(a)(6) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. In preparation for the effectiveness of the crowdfunding rules, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a bulletin that serves as a guide for companies and investors, whose activities will be covered by Regulation Crowdfunding (the bulletin). This article summarizes the practical terms of the ­crowdfunding rules and the bulletin.

Workplace Implications of Resolution on Muslim Holidays

By Denise M. Maher |

Following the Philadelphia City Council's Jan. 21 passage of a nonbinding resolution urging the city of Philadelphia to recognize the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha as city and school district holidays, many employers have fielded questions about making these dates company holidays.

Pa. Law Firms Face Challenge in Matching 2015's Real Estate Boom

By Gina Passarella |

Pennsylvania's largest law firms had above-average financial performances in 2015, often driven by blockbuster years for their real estate practices. While real estate lawyers are still largely bullish through at least 2016, there are signs of a slowdown on the horizon, and the question now becomes how to replicate what was at times double-digit growth.

Talcum powder.

J&J Hit With $55M Verdict in Another Big Loss over Talcum Powder

Johnson & Johnson lost another verdict over claims that the use of talcum powder caused a woman’s ovarian cancer after a jury in Missouri awarded $55 million on Monday. The verdict comes after another Missouri jury on Feb. 22 awarded $75 million in the first award against Johnson & Johnson over talcum powder’s links to ovarian cancer.

Health, safety and environment workers contracted by BP clean up oil on a beach in Port Fourchon, La., May 23, 2010.

A Flood of Oil Spill Lawsuits Expected Against BP this Month

Despite the $20 billion settlement BP PLC struck with the U.S. Department of Justice over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, tens of thousands of lawsuits could hit the courts this month, adding to the oil company’s ballooning costs.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers

Judge: Twitter Must Clear Hurdle in Secrecy Challenge

The core issue in Twitter's challenge of government policies is whether information subject to a gag order has been properly classified, wrote U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

PNC Not Covered by Insurer for $102M Class Settlement

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal appeals court has ruled that PNC Bank's excess insurer is not on the hook for covering the $102 million settlement—which includes $30 million in attorney fees—that the bank reached with plaintiffs in an overdraft class action.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane

DA Calls Kane’s Latest Motion Frivolous

By Ben Seal |

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane's motion to quash charges against her based on selective prosecution revealed a selective memory, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office said Monday in a reply brief.

University of Arizona Law School’s Use of GRE Scores Creates LSAT Trouble

The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law’s recent decision to accept GRE scores in lieu of Law School Admission Test scores from applicants could cost the school its membership in the Law School Admission Council.

gavel

Insurer’s Bid to Get Out of Defending Law Firm Survives

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A case brought by a liability insurer seeking a judgment that it does not have to defend a law firm in a legal malpractice suit has been allowed to move forward by a federal judge.

Transgender and LGBT Rights at Work on Monday's 'The American Law Journal'

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has gone where Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court have not explicitly gone before. A new ruling expands LGBT protections on the job. But are transgender rights at work keeping up?

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Photo by John Disney/Daily Report.

Scalia's Antitrust Legacy: Part 2, The Dissenting Opinions

By Carl W. Hittinger 
and Julian D. Perlman |

In March, we wrote about Justice Antonin Scalia's three majority opinions in substantive antitrust cases. Notably, Scalia also authored three dissenting opinions in substantive antitrust cases, in rapid-fire succession in 1991, '92 and '93. In the majority opinions, Scalia seized upon alternative, innocuous explanations for alleged anticompetitive conduct, even when an anticompetitive motive was equally if not more plausible, and in two cases reversed jury verdicts for plaintiffs. In the dissents, Scalia's skepticism regarding the antitrust laws is even more evident: Scalia does not attempt to explain away what some (including two juries) characterized as anticompetitive conduct, as in the majority opinions; rather, he recognized and accepted plaintiffs' characterizations of defendants' conduct (as required by the posture of the cases), but concluded that even so, plaintiffs could not find a remedy in the antitrust laws. Furthermore, in each dissent, he also would have had the court reverse the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and affirm the particular California federal district court in the case, and grant judgment for defendants on the pleadings or on summary judgment.

People in the News—May 2, 2016—Duane Morris

Duane Morris' Women's Impact Network for Success is sponsoring an event titled "The Good Business of Doing Good: Building a Better Business Community."

Need for Vigilance Seen in Wake of Voters' Abolishment of Traffic Court

By Max Mitchell |

Nearly two years ago, witnesses filled a federal courtroom with stories of an inside track for the politically connected at the Philadelphia Traffic Court, with descriptions of clandestine meetings between judges and defendants, a secret system of notes tipping off judges to those seeking special treatment and promises of a "hookup" in exchange for campaign donations.

Potential Humidifier Class Action Can Move Forward

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A proposed class action by consumers claiming that Honeywell International humidifiers were defectively designed and inadequately covered by warrantee has survived the company's push to have the case tossed.

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Affiliations Are Still Risky Under Section One of Antitrust Act

By Mark L. Mattioli |

In the push to coordinate health care, many hospitals and providers are seeking to enter into affiliation agreements with other providers whereby they utilize their resources for a central economic purpose. In some cases, the entities are unable to consummate a corporate merger due to, for instance, the religious affiliation of one of the entities. Under these affiliation agreements, the providers remain separate corporate entities, but centralize all other functions to operate as one entity. This type of affiliation is usually accomplished through a joint operating agreement centralizing contracting and budgeting in one entity. The U.S. Supreme Court in American Needle v. National Football League, 560 U. S. 183 (2010), looked to how the entities operated to determine whether they are capable of conspiring under Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Leonard Deutchman

A Party Can Lose Under New Rule 37(e), but Prevail Under Rule 37(a)

By Leonard Deutchman |

In Friedman v. Philadelphia Parking Authority, Civ. No. 14-6071 (E.D.PA, March 10, 2016), U.S. District Judge Mark A. Kearney of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in an unpublished findings of fact and conclusions of law, carefully parsed through the efforts of the Philadelphia Parking Authority—or, more accurately, the lack thereof—to preserve and produce discovery and found that, despite large and inexplicable errors by the parking authority, there was insufficient evidence to conclude, under the recently amended Rule 37(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, that it had intentionally destroyed or withheld discovery, and so refused to grant the plaintiffs' motion for an adverse inference instruction.

Acquitted Man Wins $1M for Malicious Prosecution Claims

A man acquitted of vehicular homicide charges after he struck a police officer with his car was awarded more than $1 million for claims that he was the victim of a malicious prosecution stemming from the fatal incident.

High Court to Review Sex-Offender Registry Requirements

By Ben Seal |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments over the constitutionality of a retroactive increase to an individual's time spent on the state's sex-offender registry following the 2012 enactment of new guidelines.

Capitol Report

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative activity for the week of April 25. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session May 2; and members of the Senate on May 9.

Beaver County Woman Secures Jury Verdict in UIM Case

A Beaver County jury awarded nearly $1.2 million to a woman injured in a car accident in her lawsuit against an insurance company.

Employer Not Liable For Worker's Injury Rushing From Jobsite

By Gina Passarella |

A man who injured his knee as he rushed to his car in his employer's parking lot responding to a family emergency is not entitled to workers' compensation benefits, the Commonwealth Court has ruled, finding the man wasn't acting within the scope of his employment.

Adequate Statewide Funding for All Criminal 
Indigent Defense is Necessary.

By Samuel C. Stretton |

I am a criminal defendant who filed a pro se post-conviction hearing petition. The Court of Common Pleas has promised to appoint me a lawyer, but it's been months and there's no lawyer appointed. What is happening?

People in the News—Pa. Law Weekly May 3, 2016—Austin Law Firm

Sara A. Austin, a partner in the Austin Law Firm, is set to become president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association at the end of its annual meeting, scheduled for May 13 in Hershey.

Judicial Retirement Age Ballot Question in Limbo

By Ben Seal |

The question over judicial retirement was put to voters, whether it was official or not. But whether the question—and the answers—will count is an issue for Pennsylvania's courts to decide.

Lawmakers Anxious for On-Time Budget

By John L. Kennedy |

With the primary elections over, state lawmakers will be anxious to get back to Harrisburg and send a budget to Gov. Tom Wolf before the July 1 deadline and start of the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Resolution Overturning Oil and Gas Regs Proposed

By John L. Kennedy |

The chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee called for a legislative resolution overturning oil and gas regulations, which recently received final approval from the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC).

Industrial plant at night

Taking Another Look at the Environmental Indemnity

By Grant E. Nichols |

For at least the past 30 years, parties involved in the purchase or sale of properties that contain environmental exposure have had to negotiate environmental indemnity agreements, either to protect assets, transfer liability, or to simply get a deal across the finish line.

White House Fence-Jumper From Conn. Challenges Arrest on Constitutional Grounds

Joseph Caputo's American flag cape billowed behind him as he scaled and leaped over the White House fence last Thanksgiving in his attempt to deliver President Barack Obama his rewritten version of the Constitution.

penn state

AG Drops Appeal in Prosecution of Ex-PSU Officials

By Max Mitchell |

The state Attorney General's Office has decided not to ask the Supreme Court to reinstate several dismissed charges against three former Penn State officials awaiting trial for allegedly covering up sex abuse by serial child molester Jerry Sandusky.

Outback Used 'Secret Shopper' Reviews as Pretext, Suit Says

An African-American woman from North Bergen has sued the company that runs the Outback Steakhouse chain of restaurants, claiming that her termination after 18 years as a bartender and server, purportedly because of a pair of negative “secret shopper” reviews, violated anti-discrimination laws.

J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building (Federal Bureau of Investigation). Washington, D.C. March 31, 2016. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Former Rendell Chief of Staff Charged in FBI Probe

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

John Estey, an ex-chief of staff to former Gov. Ed Rendell and former Ballard Spahr partner, has been charged with using a lobbying firm as a pass-through for campaign donations to state politicians, the result of an undercover FBI investigation into lobbying of the Pennsylvania legislature.

Montgomery McCracken Settles ERISA Suit for $980K

By Gina Passarella |

Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads has agreed to pay $980,000 to settle claims brought by a class of employee benefit plans that claimed the law firm received fees misappropriated from their plans by disbarred attorney and the operator of their trusts, John Koresko, according to a motion to approve the settlement.

Morgan Lewis Denied Access to Dilworth Docs in Newspaper Row

By Gina Passarella |

A Philadelphia judge has denied Morgan, Lewis & Bockius' bid to obtain documents from Dilworth Paxson to aid in the former firm's defense of a suit filed against it by the publishers of Philadelphia's major daily newspapers.

Businessman texting

Texting a Distracted Driver Could Now Bring Liability

By Ben Seal |

As drivers encounter an increasing number of distractions behind the wheel, Pennsylvania law is adjusting to consider how civil damages should be meted out in motor vehicle accidents. If a recent opinion from a Lawrence County judge is any indication, anyone sending a text message might now be found liable for accidents on Pennsylvania's roads if they knowingly divert a driver's attention.

Marijuana Law: Protecting Your Client and License

By Steven M. Schain |

It's really here, it's really lucrative, and it's really tricky.

Cozen O'Connor Launches Website, Expands Startup Community Ties

By Lizzy McLellan |

With the launch of a new website and expansion of its partnership with a local accelerator, Cozen O'Connor is looking to grow its recognition within the startup community.

Christine M. Flynn

Tips for Extracting Key Elements of a Police Report

By Christine M. Flynn |

Paralegals play an important role in assembling documents and organizing facts during the investigative aspect of a case. A police report is undoubtedly a key document in this process. While a police report may be inadmissible in a case (depending upon situation or jurisdiction), it is certainly relied upon by a host of individuals, including attorneys and claims personnel in the assessment, investigation, evaluation, negotiation or litigation of property damages and personal injury claims. A police report contains not only facts relating to an occurrence, but also an abundance of other valuable case-related information.

The Philadelphia Association of Paralegals Calendar of Events

• On May 7, the Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations is set to host a ­technology summit at the Community College of Philadelphia's business and industry building, 1750 Callowhill St. For more information, visit Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations' website at goo.gl/cnOG0t.

People in the News—April 29, 2016—Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession

The Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession is set to present its annual Anne X. Alpern Award to U.S. District Senior Judge Norma L. Shapiro of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and its Lynette Norton Award to Marion K. Munley, a partner of Munley Law.

Pa. Justices Deny Appeal in Overdraft-Fee Class Action

By Ben Seal |

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has declined to review a lower court ­decision allowing a class action alleging ­improperly-assessed bank overdraft fees to proceed.

Copyright Klingon? Not Quam Ghu'vam, IoD!

Weighing in on a suit over a Star Trek spinoff, lawyers say—in Klingon, naturally—"That just won't stand, man!"

Michael Critchley

Closures Were 'Inconvenience,' Not Crime, Bridgegate Lawyer Says

A federal judge in Newark is weighing motions to throw out the indictments of Bridget Anne Kelly and William Baroni in the Bridgegate scandal after defense lawyers for the two pitched an assortment of theories to support dismissal of the charges.

Data Breach Class Action Against Health Plans Rejected

By Gina Passarella |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has once again thwarted a proposed class action lawsuit against two health plans over the loss of a flash drive with nearly 300,000 patients' data, in part relying on a ruling that came down between the plaintiffs' first and ­second attempts to certify the class.

istockphoto.com

Lifetime Achievement Award Winners Announced

The Legal will be presenting a group of Pennsylvania luminaries with Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Football isolated on a white background as a professional sport ball for traditional American and Canadian game play on a white background.

Ex-NFL Players Sue Lawyers Over Fees in Concussion Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Former professional football ­players involved in the NFL concussion litigation have sued their former ­attorneys in federal court over liens placed or intended to be placed on the players' individual cuts of the league's $1 billion settlement.

State OAG Loses Appeal of Fired Narcotics Agent's Reinstatement

By Ben Seal |

The Office of Attorney General lacked cause to discharge a narcotics agent whose misconduct the agency had said threatened her credibility, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

People in the News—April 28, 2016—Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey

Eric G. Fikry of Blank Rome is set to be named president of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ) on June 16 at APALA-NJ's 19th annual gala in Voorhees, New Jersey.

Gina F. Rubel

Doing Business With Russians? Understanding Cultural Differences Can Help

By Gina Rubel |

In Russia, there is a folklore story, The Little Scarlett Flower, which has been told to children through the generations. The tale, which is nearly identical to Beauty and the Beast, was published by Sergey Timofeyevich Aksakov in 1858, after he heard it from a caregiver as a child. While some scholars believe the story is an adaptation of the myth of Cupid and Psyche, no one knows the true origin of the story because there have been many adaptations. However, the story that we have grown to know and love as a Disney classic was penned in France by Madame Gabrielle de Villeneuve in 1740.

Engineer's Complaints to Employer Protected by FLSA

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has ruled that a building engineer's complaints to his supervisors over not being allowed to work overtime, while not explicitly citing the Fair Labor Standards Act, qualified as protected activity under the FLSA.

Left to right: Eugene Mar and Erik Olson, Farella Braun + Martel

Keep These Cases in Mind When Segmenting Patents

If a patent portfolio contains multiple related but separate inventions, a licensor should be specific about exceptions.

Top 10 Tips for Acing Summer Associate Interviews

As the summer associate hiring process has become increasingly competitive, law students are constantly looking for ways to stand out and set themselves apart from their peers.

Facebook's campus at 1601 Willow Road in Menlo Park, CA.

Facebook Sued Over Texts to Recycled Cell Numbers

Technology companies—and their text notifications—have become a big target of litigation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

SEPTA Hit With Class Action Over Background Checks

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A man claiming his offer of employment as a bus driver with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority was revoked because of his criminal history has filed a class action lawsuit against SEPTA in federal court.

Phila. Jury Awards $44M Over Brain Damage Claims

By Max Mitchell |

A Philadelphia jury has hit the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania with a $44.1 million verdict for failing to recognize a woman's adverse reaction to anti-coagulant medication before she suffered a brain hemorrhage.

As AG Race Advances, Kane Is the ‘Elephant in the Room’

By Ben Seal |

As election season enters its next phase and the race for Pennsylvania attorney general shifts to a two-person contest, the current leader of the office figures to take a more prominent role in conversations surrounding the campaign. The drama that has followed state Attorney General Kathleen Kane and created disarray in her office in recent months could be a key factor in drawing differences between Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro and state Sen. John Rafferty Jr., R-Montgomery, as the campaign unfolds to be her successor.

The cover of the July 27, 2015 issue of New York

Cosby's Subpoena for Magazine's Notes, Materials Is Denied

Bill Cosby's attempt to get notes and outtakes from New York Magazine reporters who interviewed women alleging they were sexually assaulted by the comedian was rejected by a Southern District judge Tuesday.

People in the News—April 27, 2016—Blank Rome

Blank Rome partner Nicholas C. Harbist is set to moderate the "Regulators' Roundtable: The Latest in Government Enforcement" at the American Bar Association's seventh annual National Institute on Internal Corporate Investigations and Forum for In-House Counsel, which is scheduled from Wednesday to Friday in Washington, D.C.

Julie A. Uebler

How Performance Reviews Can Make (or Break) Discrimination Cases

By Julie A. Uebler |

Although there always seems to be a new opinion out there on how or whether to implement the annual performance review, it's hard to imagine the modern workplace without some sort of performance evaluation system. The way in which human resources teams structure, supervise and implement performance reviews can often impact the risks of employment litigation—for good and bad. This article highlights the legal risks associated with poorly administered performance reviews, identify how such evidence can be used as a sword by employees in litigation, and identify practical steps employers can take to reduce those risks.

Importance of Protecting Intellectual Property in Cuba

By Lawrence E. Ashery |

As the relationship between the United States and Cuba continues to improve, significant business opportunities will arise. For any organization seeking to engage in the Cuban economy, the importance of having intellectual property protection is paramount.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane

Kane: Criminal Charges Result of Retaliation

By Lizzy McLellan |

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has argued that the criminal charges against her should be quashed because criminal prosecutions for grand jury leaks are rare, and only occurred in her case because of two former state prosecutors' efforts to retaliate against her.

OAG Seeks to Dismiss Former Agent's Whistleblower Suit

By Lizzy McLellan |

Attorneys for the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General have filed a motion to dismiss a former agent's whistleblower and First Amendment retaliation complaint against the office and several of its employees, including Chief of Staff Jonathan Duecker.

For Attorney General Kane and Cosby, Delay May Play Into Appeal Strategy

By Lizzy McLellan |

The criminal cases involving Bill Cosby and Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane have a few things in common—both are high-profile, taking place in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, and are being prosecuted by the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.

United States Capitol Building

Trade Secrets Bill Poised to Pass Congress

IP litigators support reform to simplify the existing state-by-state patchwork.

Funding Accord Reached Over Juvenile Lifers

By Max Mitchell |

After several months of discussions, city agencies have begun nailing down funding agreements so Philadelphia's criminal justice system can take the next step in resentencing hundreds of inmates given unconstitutional life sentences as juveniles.

Kraft brand parmesan cheese on the shelves of a Walgreens store in Washington, D.C.  April 27, 2016.

Claims of Wood Pulp in Parmesan Cheese Spur 45 Class Actions

Nearly 45 lawsuits have been filed alleging that four brands labeled "100% Grated Parmesan Cheese" including Kraft and Wal-Mart's private brand fail to tell consumers that they actually contain fillers made from wood pulp.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer discussed his new book at a Yale Law School symposium on Wednesday, but dodged questions about the appointment of a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia.

SCOTUS Revives Officer's First Amendment Suit Against Paterson

The U.S. Supreme Court has reinstated a First Amendment suit by a Paterson police detective who was demoted based upon a mistaken impression that he was engaging in political activity.

Pa. Justices Side With Firm in Fee Dispute

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has ruled a law firm cannot be held liable for breach of contract under a fee agreement a nonpartner entered into before he joined the firm.

Zoloft.

Plaintiff Wants Zoloft Case Sent From MDL to California

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A Zoloft birth-defect case involving a California-based distributor of the drug should be sent back to that state from the multidistrict litigation based in Philadelphia, the plaintiff argued.

People in the News—April 26, 2016—Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker

Kathleen D. Wilkinson, partner with Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, was appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to serve on the Board of Law Examiners for a ­three-year term.

Supreme Court Considers Constitutionality of Body Searches

By Stephen A. Miller
and Leigh Ann Benson |

Police officers often ask drivers suspected of drunken driving to submit to a Breathalyzer test. In Minnesota and 12 other states, however, a driver's ­refusal to submit to that test is an independent criminal offense. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide this spring whether those laws violate the Fourth Amendment by depriving individuals of their right to be protected from unlawful searches and seizures.

How Digital Presence Can Make—or Break—Your Marketing Success

By Meg Charendoff |

Technology is changing how ­clients make legal purchasing decisions. In a Mad Clientist blog post from February titled "How Clients Hire: 6 Demands and Rewards from the New Generation GC" by Michael Rynowecer of the BTI Consulting Group, Rynowecer describes how the "next generation of GCs and CLOs" are taking over and how they increasingly rely on technology in their hiring process. One takeaway from conversations he had with more than 100 general counsel (GCs) and chief legal officers (CLOs) is that they are conducting more "pre-hire due diligence than you can imagine," and most of this due diligence occurs online, before you ever speak—that is, if you ever speak.

Pepper Hamilton

What Caused 'Abrupt' End to Pepper-Reed Merger Talks?

By Gina Passarella |

Pepper Hamilton and Reed Smith's merger discussions, though still in the early stages, were moving along in a positive direction until, for reasons that remain unclear, they hit an abrupt speed bump the afternoon of April 22, sources familiar with the talks said.

Voting

Election Watchers Expect Close Finish In State AG Primary

By Ben Seal |

After a relatively brief primary cycle, a close finish is expected in the hotly ­contested race for the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania attorney general that once hinged on the question of what qualifications matter most for the job but has since pivoted to a more conventional political battle.

Robert Plant.

Led Zeppelin 'Stairway' Trial Likely to Proceed Without Drug, Alcohol Evidence

A federal judge in Los Angeles on Monday tentatively excluded evidence of drug and alcohol use from the May 10 copyright infringement trial over Led Zeppelin’s iconic “Stairway to Heaven.” At the same time, a lawyer suing the band asked that members Robert Plant and Jimmy Page clarify whether they plan to show up in court.

The Legal Announces Attorney of the Year Finalists

As part of The Legal’s upcoming Professional Excellence Awards supplement, the three finalists for Attorney of the Year have been named.

Pa. Becoming Destination for Growing Invokana Litigation

By Max Mitchell |

The number of lawsuits over the ­diabetes drug Invokana is increasing nationwide, and attorneys who work in the area expect a significant chunk of the litigation to come to Pennsylvania.

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby, right, arrives for a court appearance Feb. 3, 2016, in Norristown.

Cosby Criminal Appeal Quashed, Stay Lifted

By Lizzy McLellan |

The Superior Court has granted a motion to quash Bill Cosby's appeal in the Pennsylvania Superior Court, and lifted a temporary stay on the criminal case against Cosby in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.

Slump in Energy Market Brings More Restructuring Activity

By Lizzy McLellan |

When Pennsylvania landowners and companies began to cash in on the Marcellus Shale, local law firms expected a greater need for energy-related legal work, but the more recent slump in energy prices has left a number of energy companies reeling, bringing more bankruptcy and ­restructuring work to some firms.

Lack of Coram Nobis Hurts Convicted Innocents

By Marissa Bluestine |

Since 1989, over 1,700 people have been exonerated of crimes they did not commit. Among the lessons learned from those exonerations is that the criminal justice system is slow to react to the needs of the convicted innocent trying to gain their freedom or clear their names.

Pa. Justices to Mull Board's Prohibition of Suspended Attorney

By Ben Seal |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to review whether a state agency is required to allow a suspended attorney to represent a party in its hearings and proceedings.

Avoiding Taxation of Costs for Electronically Stored Info

By Patricia C. Collins |

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure regarding electronically stored information present challenging ­procedural and substantive issues for parties to litigation. More practically, and, in most cases as a threshold issue, they present cost challenges for litigants. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently reviewed whether the costs related to electronic discovery are taxable to the losing party under 28 U.S.C. Section 1920(4) in Camesi v. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, No. 15-1865 (March 21, 2016).

The Public Interest Calendar of Events

On Friday, Philadelphia VIP is set to provide training on the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program at Fox Rothschild's 2000 Market St., Philadelphia location from noon to 2:15 p.m. Bob Lukens, an expert attorney in foreclosure, and Tony Abata, a housing counselor, will lead the training. For more information, visit www.phillyvip.org.

Advocacy in a Dynamic Child Welfare System

By Tracey L. Thomasey |

Since 2012, the Philadelphia child welfare system has been transitioning to a new model of service delivery using Community Umbrella Agencies (CUA) to work with families through an Improving Outcomes for Children (IOC) initiative. IOC has moved responsibility for foster care and in-home family services to 10 CUAs that are based in local communities so that families and providers can build familiarity with each other.

Do Bipartisan Votes Presage Lasting Coalition?

By John L. Kennedy |

Republican legislators have secured veto-proof majorities on a series of key measures by attracting some Democrats.

verdicts and settlements

Jury Awards $6.4M In Asbestos Case

A Philadelphia jury awarded a former PECO Energy employee and his wife more than $6.4 million over claims that he was exposed to asbestos-containing products that caused him to develop lung cancer.

High Court to Eye Need for Juvenile Sentencing Safeguards

By Ben Seal |

As courts and government agencies across the state sort through the unconstitutional sentences of life without parole handed to nearly 500 Pennsylvania inmates, the state Supreme Court has said it will review whether it should create procedural safeguards to ensure the sentence is used sparingly.

Blaine A. Lucas

Municipality's Obligation to Process Development Plans in Good Faith

By Blaine A. Lucas 
and Alyssa E. Golfieri |

On Jan. 13, the Commonwealth Court rendered a decision in Honey Brook Estates v. Board of Supervisors of Honey Brook Township, 2016 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 52 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2016), that reaffirmed a municipality's obligation to act in good faith when processing subdivision and land development plans. The Commonwealth Court originally articulated the elements of this obligation in Raum v. Board of Supervisors, 370 A.2d 777 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1977).

The Impact of the Medical Marijuana Act on Employers

By Lauri A. Kavulich |

The Pennsylvania House and Senate have been abuzz in the last few weeks with SB3, the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act, which was signed into law. Why is the Medical Marijuana Act important to Pennsylvania employers and employment law attorneys? Because employees have protections under this act in the workplace, and the law specifically sets forth parameters on how the use of medical marijuana by an employee shall be treated by an employer.

verdicts and settlements

Contractors Settle For $1.2M After Worker's Fall

A contractor and a general contractor have agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle claims stemming from a fall at a construction site.

People in the News—Pa. Law Weekly April 26, 2016—Peacock Keller

Peacock Keller elected two new partners, Rachel K. Lozosky and Donald B. Formoso.

Capitol Report

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a list of legislative and executive activity for the week of April 18. Members of the House of Representatives are scheduled to return to session May 2, and members of the Senate May 9.

/image/pa/300_pics/Andrew_Ralston_Article.jpg

Plaintiff's Past Medical History Should Be Deemed Relevant

By Andrew H. Ralston Jr. |

A plaintiff is caused to suffer a dramatic reduction in his earnings because of a medical condition, which condition also causes him to suffer terrible pain and suffering. Then, the negligence in question in your case occurs. And, of course, the plaintiff attempts to attribute all of their wage losses, and pain and suffering—from the moment of the alleged negligence forward—to the alleged negligence alone.

construction

Evidence-Based Treatment Bill Worries Workers' Comp Bar

By Ben Seal |

Incorporating evidence-based guidelines for medical treatment in workers' compensation cases could have severe consequences for injured workers and lawyers on either side of the practice, attorneys said, but a bill in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is nonetheless looking to make the change—and facing significant objections in the process.

Court Vacates Order Requiring Doctor to Answer Questions

By Ben Seal |

A plaintiff's treating physician is not required to provide answers to a series of defense interrogatories if he was not independently retained by plaintiffs counsel, a Lackawanna County judge has ruled upon reconsideration.

Sam Stretton

Substantial Contributions Should Require a Judicial Recusal

By Samuel C. Stretton |

I am in a county in Pennsylvania and I do domestic law and I noticed a new judge who seems to favor a particular lawyer. Recently, I checked the judge's campaign reports and found that lawyer donated approximately $25,000 to the judge's campaign. Should the judge be hearing that lawyer's cases?

Common-Law Retroactivity Still at Issue in Marriage Equality

By Ben Seal |

Penny Jeannechild and Gail Shister are going through a breakup with a twist.

People in the News—April 25, 2016—Clark Hill

Eric M. Hocky of Clark Hill participated in the annual meeting of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, where he was moderator and panelist on "Managing Today's Oversupply of Railcars."

Pepper Hamilton

Pepper Hamilton and Reed Smith End Merger Discussions

By Gina Passarella |

Pepper Hamilton and Reed Smith have ended merger discussions less than two weeks after the firms confirmed they were eyeing the possibility of joining forces.

Sperm Bank Sued over Donor Mix-Up

A white Ohio woman has filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago alleging that an Illinois sperm bank committed consumer fraud after mistakenly providing her sperm from a black donor. She had requested a white donor.

Volunteers unload water behind First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church as leaders held a town hall meeting to discuss the ongoing Flint water crisis on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016 at the church in Flint. More than 15 Penske and Ryder moving trucks, along with three semi-trucks and a state police escort, hauled more than 15,000 cases of water -- more than 100,000 individual bottles -- to the church.

A Flood of Nearly 100 Flint Civil Suits Filed Amid Criminal Charges

Criminal charges filed this week against three government employees over the Flint water crisis come as many state and local officials are fighting off civil cases by hiring their own attorneys and, in some cases, already moving to dismiss the litigation.

GlaxoSmithKline headquaters.

Drugmaker Wants Trade Secrets Protected in GSK Theft Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A third-party pharmaceutical ­company tangentially involved in the prosecution of alleged trade-secret theft from GlaxoSmithKline has asked the judge to restrict the use of its confidential ­information during discovery to certain locations.

Pa. Firms Make Waves in Am Law 100 Rankings

By Gina Passarella |

Amid the slowest rate of revenue growth the Am Law 100 has seen in two decades save the Great Recession, Pennsylvania firms made strong gains in core financial metrics and great waves on this year's Am Law 100 rankings by Legal affiliate The American Lawyer.

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby, right, arrives for a court appearance Feb. 3, 2016, in Norristown.

Pittsburgh Cosby Accuser Appeals Lawsuit Dismissal

By Lizzy McLellan |

A Pittsburgh woman who has alleged Bill Cosby sexually assaulted her and then defamed her has argued in a federal appeal that Cosby's statements about her were not protected opinions.

Ethics Rules for Pot Practice Less Hazy

By Gina Passarella |

The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has put out for public comment proposed amendments to ethics rules aimed at protecting lawyers who represent those in the state's newly legalized medical marijuana industry.

Uber

Uber Strikes Expensive Peace Pact With Drivers

Settlement includes $84 million guaranteed and a sweetener if Uber's valuation shoots up after an IPO or acquisition.

Evidence-Based Treatment Bill Worries Workers' Comp Bar

By Ben Seal |

Incorporating evidence-based guidelines for medical treatment in workers' compensation cases could have severe consequences for injured workers and lawyers on either side of the practice, attorneys said, but a bill in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is nonetheless looking to make the change—and facing significant objections in the process.

Risk in Tax Matters Should Not Be Taken Lightly

By Mark S. Carrow |

The tax deadlines of March 15 and April 18 (and April 19 for the lucky folks in Maine and Massachusetts) are behind us; but it is always incredible how some taxpayers come up with interesting reporting positions during tax season. Every year, I get several phone calls from outside parties doing rounds of opinion shopping.

Craig R. Tractenberg

Enforcement of Court Orders and Contempt Proceedings

By Craig R. Tractenberg |

Enforcement of court orders can be frustrating. "Corporate can't do anything," bragged the Meineke infringer to his customers.

Jeffrey Campolongo

C&R Agreements May Waive Subsequent Employment Law Claims

By Jeffrey Campolongo |

As is often the case in the practice of law, the simplest of details can have the hugest impact on the outcome. Take for example, the recent case from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania of Zuber v. Boscov's, No. 15-3874 (E.D. Pa., Apr. 7, 2016). What was believed to be a rather benign settlement and release of a workers' compensation claim turned out to be a complete bar to a subsequent claim brought in federal court under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

People in the News—April 22, 2016—Widener University Commonwealth Law School

Widener University Commonwealth Law School is set to host "Reconciling Quality of Life and Development."

Morgan Lewis and Skadden Look to Shed D.C. Office Space

The time has come for two law firms to shrink their Washington digs. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius hopes to rid itself of the former Bingham McCutchen offices next summer. All or most of its Washington lawyers will move to Pennsylvania Avenue if the firm can find subtenants for its offices at 2020 K Street.

Man Acquitted of Killing Officer Wins $1M Against Phila.

By Max Mitchell |

A man acquitted of vehicular homicide charges after he struck a police officer with his car has been awarded more than $1 million for claims that he was the victim of a malicious prosecution stemming from the fatal incident.

Defensive Measures Taken Now Can Help Prevent Financial Crisis Later

By David Itkoff |

Estate planning is typically defined as the process by which one plans for the handling of personal affairs in case of incapacitation or death. In this regard many people assume the subject is covered simply by such topics as wills and trusts, powers of attorney and signed health care directives. While these aspects properly deal with the usual legacy issues or anticipated final phases, there can be many other life event issues that may arise due to unforeseen illness or prolonged disability that could adversely affect earnings and drain assets.

Fox Rothschild Grows Revenue 9.6 Percent, PPP Under 1 Percent

By Gina Passarella |

For the second year in a row, Fox Rothschild has grown gross revenue close to or above the 10 percent mark, thanks in large part to significant expansion that has seen the firm's head count grow nearly 16 percent since 2013.

Political Consultant Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy, Tax Charges

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A political consultant from Allentown pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to charges stemming from an FBI investigation into the Allentown and Reading city governments.

U.S. Supreme Court

Justices Rule $2B in Iranian Assets Can Go to Terror Victims

The U.S. Supreme Court, affirming a ruling by the Second Circuit, said Congress did not violate the separation-of-powers doctrine when it passed legislation to enable enforcement of a $1.75 billion judgment against assets held by Bank Markazi, the Central Bank of Iran.

People in the News—April 21, 2016—Clark Hill

Daniel J. McGravey joined Clark Hill's Philadelphia office as senior counsel in the labor and employment practice group.

Plaintiff in Dismissed Paxil Case Seeks Stay, New Trial

By Max Mitchell |

The plaintiffs in the Paxil birth-defect case that was tossed midtrial earlier this month have asked for a new trial, and a stay in the mass tort litigation.

Senate Dems Can't Block Delay of Vote on Retirement Age

By Ben Seal |

An effort by three Democratic state senators to prevent the General Assembly from delaying a public vote on the mandatory judicial retirement age in Pennsylvania has been rejected by the Commonwealth Court.

How to Handle Professional Setbacks and Move Forward

By Dena Lefkowitz |

It feels like 1994 all over again.

Streets of Old Havana, Shortly after sunset, 2016.

US Companies Should Proceed Cautiously Into Cuba and Iran

By David M. Laigaie
and Joshua Hill |

Over the last several decades, international trade has blossomed and the world has gotten significantly smaller.

Acquisition Planning 101: Get Your Team Ready

By Mark S. Carrow |

Increasing market share and profitability can be accomplished pretty quickly via an acquisition. Planning for the right target requires a strategy on many fronts. Assemble your team and carve out the responsibilities accordingly. Working together, united by a common goal, will create positive team morale during your process. If the deal falls through, your team becomes savvy and less inept to miss issues in your next deal.

Frank D'Amore

Two Things Partners Should Do Now to Learn About Their Firm

By Frank Michael D'Amore |

In the not too distant past, there were very few things that a partner needed to do post-haste as to his or her job, other than stay on top of his or her active matters.

Avoiding Panic Selling in a Declining Stock Market

By Alan Mandeloff |

With memories of the 2008-09 market crash still fresh in the minds of many investors, the stock market got off to a miserable start as 2016 got under way. The selling started on the first trading day of the New Year and continued largely unabated throughout the rest of January. The S&P 500 Index lost 5.1 percent for the month, which was the worst start to a new year since 2009.

Family Business Succession Challenges With Other Professionals

By Robert H. Louis |

How should we advise business owners to prepare for retirement and for the transition of business ownership? The answer to this question probably calls for types of expertise in addition to those provided by lawyers.

Benefits of the Creation of Certain Trusts

By Sara A. Wells and Caleb S. Sainsbury |

Trusts are flexible legal documents which can be used in a myriad of situations. Practitioners often use trusts to preserve wealth within families and across generations. However, a trust can also be a helpful vehicle to collect and manage assets for non-family members. The case of Strider and Gallagher illustrates how powerful this estate planning tool can be.

medical malpractice

Court Won’t Overturn $10.1M Award Against CHOP

By Max Mitchell |

A Philadelphia judge has denied the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's bid to overturn a $10.1 million verdict awarded last year over a child's delayed meningitis diagnosis.

Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor

Saylor Calls Up Five Judges to Hear Union Leader’s Appeal

By Gina Passarella |

Pennsylvania Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor has appointed five judges to serve as temporary justices on the state Supreme Court for the purpose of hearing just one case, the appeal of labor union leader John Dougherty in his defamation suit against a former newspaper columnist.

Robert Kugler

Judge Nixes Firm's Suit Against Feds Over Tax Collection Efforts

A federal judge in Camden has dismissed a suit filed by a defunct law firm and its former leader against the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Treasury Department and an IRS agent over allegedly illegal tax collection practices.

Defense attorney Gerald Shargel, pictured left, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane appeared in court April 20, 2016, in Norristown for a pretrial hearing.

Phila. Judge: Kane’s Attorney Filed False Affidavit

By Lizzy McLellan |

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane withdrew a request to file a particular motion under seal Wednesday after one of her attorneys was admonished in a court order Tuesday for allegedly lying in an affidavit.

Federal Aviation Act Doesn’t Pre-empt Products Suit

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

In a case involving a malfunctioning ­airplane engine that led to a fatal crash, a federal appeals court has ruled that the Federal Aviation Act, which largely governs in-flight safety, does not pre-empt state law products liability claims.

Defense attorney Gerald Shargel, pictured left, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane appeared in court April 20, 2016, in Norristown for a pretrial hearing.

Kane Seeks Appeal of Pretrial Order

By Lizzy McLellan |

Attorney General Kathleen Kane is seeking to appeal an order denying several motions in which she sought relief in her criminal case, including a dismissal of the charges against her.

5 Takeaways From Oral Arguments on Obama's Immigration Action

By William A. Stock |

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in United States v. Texas, No. 15-674, an appeal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit's decision to enjoin the centerpiece of President Obama's 2014 executive actions on immigration enforcement.

Christopher Carusone

Evaluating, Challenging Regulatory Overreach in Energy Industry

By Christopher Carusone |

"You Can't Fight City Hall." While this famous phrase is ­believed to have its origins in the political corruption of the ­mid-1800s in New York City's Tammany Hall, it can also be used to describe the steep climb faced by corporate counsel when challenging a government agency in the promulgation of regulations. But don't tell that to the nation's energy industry. Indeed, the energy industry is at the very center of several high-profile cases challenging the statutory authority and processes used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in promulgating sweeping new regulations on energy production. In doing so, the industry is blazing a new trail in the fight against regulatory overreach that corporate counsel in all industries would be wise to monitor.

housing

People in the News—April 20, 2016—Regional Housing Legal Services

Judy Berkman, managing attorney with Regional Housing Legal Services, is set to receive Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia's Good Neighbor Award in recognition of her commitment to affordable housing.

Zappala Campaign Returns $15K From DeNaples' Company

By Ben Seal |

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr.'s campaign for Pennsylvania attorney general has returned $15,000 donated by Pocono Gardens Realty, a company owned by Scranton-area businessman and convicted felon Louis DeNaples.

Joel Pisano

Third Circuit Hears Argument Alleging Judicially Coerced Plea

A federal appeals court in Philadelphia grilled an attorney representing a convicted Ponzi schemer April 19 over his argument that a federal judge in New Jersey coerced his client into pleading guilty to a separate scam, tacking on two years to his existing 22-year prison sentence.

PayPal HQ Campus Outdoor.SOURCE: PayPal

PayPal Sued Over Telemarketing Calls

In the latest TCPA suit to drop against a consumer tech firm, lawyers claim that PayPal used an alarming email to solicit a customer's cellphone number.

Morgan Lewis, Dilworth Dispute Meaning of Privilege in Doc Fight

By Gina Passarella |

Lawyers for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius urged a Philadelphia judge Tuesday to reject "Hail Mary" attempts by Dilworth Paxson and Philadelphia Media Network to explain why documents Dilworth has related to the sale of the media company are protected by attorney-client privilege.

Tylenol.

Plaintiff in Bellwether Tylenol Case Racks Up Evidentiary Wins

By Gina Passarella |

A federal judge overseeing the Tylenol multidistrict litigation in Pennsylvania has awarded the plaintiff a number of ­evidentiary wins leading up to the first ­bellwether trial in September.

Court OKs Uber Subsidiary in Pa.

By Max Mitchell |

A subsidiary of the ride-sharing giant Uber will be able to operate in Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

9 Lawyers, Including Partners, Leave Carlton Fields for Duane Morris

Five Miami partners, including former Akerman president Robert Zinn, and four associates from Carlton Fields Jorden Burt are decamping for Duane Morris.

Charles F. Forer

Consequences of Excluding Material Evidence From Arb Proceeding

By Charles F. Forer |

Bob knows arbitrators have lots of power. He knows their awards ­cannot be overturned even if they are dead wrong on the law. He knows they have all kinds of "discretion" when it comes to evidentiary issues. Sometimes, however, enough is enough.

Michael E. Bertin

Court May Modify Custody Without Petition to Modify

By Michael E. Bertin |

A common issue that faces ­family court judges and attorneys is whether a trial court can modify a child custody order when a matter before the court is not pursuant to a petition to modify custody. Oftentimes, this issue will present itself when a case is in court on a petition for contempt of a custody order or a petition to enforce a custody order. In the past, instances have arisen where trial courts have modified child custody orders when the issue before the bench was a contempt action. The line of cases that followed held that a trial court could not modify a child custody order if a petition to modify custody was not before it. Therefore, attorneys trained themselves to file both a petition for contempt and a petition to modify custody to be heard simultaneously in the event the relief sought would be to modify the custody order.

People in the News—April 19, 2016—Dilworth Paxson

Dilworth Paxson attorney Linda D. Hoffa is set to serve on the faculty for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute's 22nd annual Employment Law Institute.

Lease Gives No Rights to Royalties on Lost or Used Gas

By Ben Seal |

Property owners who leased the oil and gas rights to their land cannot recover royalties for gas lost or used prior to the point of sale, the Superior Court has ruled in an issue of first impression.

gavel

Recusals Leave Only Two Justices to Hear Dougherty's Appeal

By Gina Passarella |

While labor union leader John Dougherty won his bid to have the Pennsylvania Supreme Court revive an appeal in his ­defamation suit against a former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist, recusals have left only two justices available to hear the case and have left all parties at odds over how to fill the empty slots.

Kanye West

Kanye West Tweets Central to Music-Streaming Suit

Lawyers say the rap star duped fans into signing up for the streaming service Tidal, a platform owned by hip-hop mogul Jay Z.

Reed Smith Washington, D.C. offices. November 12, 2014.

Reed Smith Hires Comcast Deputy GC to Data Security Group

By Gina Passarella |

Reed Smith has hired the former deputy general counsel of Comcast Corp., adding privacy and data security capabilities as it relates to matters before the Federal Communications Commission.

Energy Market Doldrums Spark Royalty Litigation

By Lizzy McLellan |

As players in the energy industry continue to grapple with low gas prices, energy lawyers have noticed an uptick in royalty-related litigation.

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court on the day of arguments in the immigration case United States v. Texas.  April 18, 2016.

Kennedy Calls Obama Immigration Action 'Upside Down' As Justices Appear Divided

As cheers and chants from immigration supporters and opponents filled the air outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, the justices struggled over the legality of Obama administration's plan to delay temporarily the deportation of nearly 4 million illegal immigrants. At the end of the 90-minute argument, the eight justices appeared divided on the threshold question of whether Texas had standing to challenge the immigration plan in federal court and divided over the fundamental issue of whether the plan violates federal law and the Constitution.

Shapiro Maintains Financial Edge as AG Primary Nears

By Ben Seal |

Josh Shapiro has a significant lead in available spending money as the race to secure the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania attorney general enters its final week.

Football

Appeals Court Upholds $1B NFL Concussion Settlement

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Over objections from dozens of ­retired National Football League players, a federal appeals court has upheld the league's $1 billion concussion litigation settlement that would compensate more than 20,000 former players.

Whoops! Male Judicial Candidate Attempts to Join Female Class Action

While 300 women who are current and former lawyers for Farmers Insurance Group will be splitting $4 million as a part of a settlement of a federal pay bias class action lawsuit, one attorney who won't likely get any that money is Leslie "Les" Sachanowicz, a San Antonio prosecutor who's running for judge.

People in the News—April 17, 2016—Offit Kurman

Offit Kurman is set to host an all-day workshop to help employers manage unionized workforces on May 17.