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Gloria Ramirez, right, and  sister Erica wait to sign up for health insurance on California's state exchange. Two federal appeal courts have split on whether the federal government can create exchanges in states that declined to set up their own.

Appeals Courts Set Up Next Health Reform Fight for Justices

By Marcia Coyle |

Two federal appellate panels Tuesday issued conflicting rulings on the availability of subsidies for health insurance purchased on federally run exchanges and moved the next major battle over the Affordable Care Act closer to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Bingham Headlines Latest Round of Merger Rumblings

By Brian Baxter |

After a spate of lateral departures following a tough financial year in 2013, Bingham McCutchen has reportedly sounded out several Am Law 100 firms about a potential union, which comes at a record-setting time for law firm mergers.

People in the News - July 24, 2014 - Morgan of Archer & Greiner Elected President of tGCBA

Albert Mezzaroba was named of counsel to Genova Burns Giantomasi Webster.

National News

National News From The Legal Intelligencer

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

Adopting Information Governance in Small and Midsized Firms

By Johan T. Widjaja |

The recent focus on information governance (IG) in the legal industry has usually been related to prelitigation data and information management for clients. The objective of these IG efforts is to prevent the high costs of e-discovery after a litigation has started by implementing prelitigation policies to regulate a client's data by knowing what data the client owns, where it is, who owns it and how long it should be retained. Concurrently, the law firm itself is undergoing a change in the way it handles its own and its clients' data. The law firm records management industry has been evolving to an information governance framework. The records function within the firm has traditionally been more of a back-end function, with the idea that everything was created in paper, made into an official record, indexed and hopefully regulated by retention schedules.

In 10-Story Fall Death Case, Parties Reach $4.45 Mil. Settlement

By Gina Passarella |

The estate of a cellular infrastructure technician who died after falling 10 stories from a Philadelphia rooftop has been settled with several defendants for a total of $4.45 million.

Courtroom

Fourth-Year Takes on HP Argument, Pro Bono Case and Motherhood

By Gina Passarella |

In the midst of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius' representation of longtime client Hewlett-Packard in a securities fraud suit against the company and its former chairman, Mark Hurd, the federal judge in California overseeing the case issued what can only be described as a very unusual order.

Indicted Ironworkers Lose Motion to Dismiss Racketeering Case

By Gina Passarella |

A federal judge in Philadelphia has denied the motion to dismiss racketeering charges filed by five of the 10 Ironworkers union members who were indicted in February for allegedly intimidating people into using union labor.

Phila. Bar Association Issues Guidelines on Social Media Use

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A recent Philadelphia Bar Association ethics opinion detailing how lawyers may instruct their clients on the use of social media provides greater clarity to lawyers caught in the middle of a constantly "evolving" digital landscape, some attorneys said.

Football

Appeal Sought From NFL Concussion Settlement

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The seven former football players who objected to the settlement with the NFL in the case over concussions are now seeking appellate review from the Third Circuit.

Court Upholds $10 Mil. Children's Motrin Verdict Against McNeil

By Gina Passarella |

The state Superior Court has upheld a $10 million verdict against McNeil-PPC in a case in which a 3-year-old girl was left blind in one eye and suffered damage to her reproductive system and permanent disfigurement of much of her skin after taking several doses of Children's Motrin.

Court Says Seller Has No Duty to Disclose Murder-Suicide

By Gina Passarella |

The occurrence of a murder-suicide in a home does not create a material defect that must legally be disclosed to a potential buyer, the state Supreme Court ruled Monday in a case of first impression.

Shredded paper series - confidential

Phila. Settles Gun Application Data-Breach Case for $1.43 Mil.

By Gina Passarella |

The city of Philadelphia has agreed to a $1.43 million settlement in a class action brought by unsuccessful applicants to carry firearms who alleged the city disclosed confidential information about the applicants on a website database, the plaintiffs' attorneys said Tuesday.

Larry Hayes

Q&A Session With Larry Hayes, General Counsel of QVC

The following is a transcript of a radio program hosted jointly by Executive Leaders Radio and The Legal.

Martin J. Doyle and Igor Pleskov

Court's Ruling in Mortgage Case Poses Threat to MERS

By Martin J. Doyle and Igor Pleskov |

On June 30, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted, in part, summary judgment to the Montgomery County recorder of deeds in its action against Merscorp Inc. and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. (MERS) for MERS's failure to record mortgage loan assignments.

<b>BETSY BENJAMINSON:</b> “I plan to vigorously represent my interests in regard to the subpoena.” Toyota wants her to come to the United States for a deposition.

Toyota Subpoenas Translator Who Posted Its Secrets

By Amanda Bronstad |

Toyota Motor Corp. has subpoenaed a former translator-turned-whistleblower, hoping to discover how she secured access to hundreds of confidential documents that she posted on an online blog, including information relating to computer code it considers its "crown jewels."

<b>LAW SCHOOL:</b> No longer “the path into the middle class that it once was.”

Law School Enrollment Slump Continues for Fourth Year

By Karen Sloan |

The number of applicants to American Bar Association-accredited law schools declined by about 8 percent this year, dashing hopes for a reversal in a four-year downward trend.

People in the News - July 23, 2014 - Duane Morris Partner Named Co-Chair of the ABA Committee

David J. Wolfsohn, a partner with Duane Morris in Philadelphia, was named co-chair of the American Bar Association's intellectual property litigation committee for the 2014-15 term.

Energy Law

Energy & Environmental Law

The future of Philadelphia's oil industry; managing an environmental enforcement investigation; the next decade of PA shale development; the benefits of going green with alternative energy; and more can be found in our Energy and Environmental Law Supplement.

Dan Markel.

Slain FSU Law Prof Mourned as Police Investigate

Legal educators were left reeling at the shooting death of Florida State University College of Law professor Dan Markel.

Judith Levy, introducing her family during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Rise of Gay Judges Amid Little Controversy

By Todd Ruger, John Council and John Pacenti |

President Obama and Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are seldom aligned, but the two Republicans from Texas were lockstep with the president when he nominated Robert Pitman, who is openly gay, to the federal bench late last month.

Litigation Increasing Along With Need for Price Certainty

By Gina Passarella |

Corporations are showing an increased willingness to enter into or fight litigation than they were a few years ago, but only if their law firms can be very specific when it comes to the cost, Pennsylvania litigators have said.

Risperdal Judge Won't Reconsider Punitive Damages Ruling

By Gina Passarella |

A Philadelphia judge has declined to reconsider his decision denying hundreds of plaintiffs in the Risperdal mass tort litigation the ability to seek punitive damages.

Teacher's Race Discrimination Claim Survives

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Claims of racial discrimination brought by one of two black teachers in the Boyertown Area School District have survived a motion to dismiss in federal court.

Traffic Court

Prosecutor: 'No Apology' for Case Against Traffic Ct. Defendants

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

During the final day of arguments in the Philadelphia Traffic Court trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Wzorek made clear that federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials stood by their case against the defendants, despite claims from a defense attorney that the investigation went too far.

Corbett Ramps Up Re-election Efforts

Gov. Tom Corbett began a statewide tour and with it his re-election campaign, immediately after signing the state budget July 10.

Legislators Consider Possible Response to Funding Cuts

Legislative leaders are mulling their options after Gov. Tom Corbett wiped $65 million from programs and other spending earmarked for use by the General Assembly when he signed the state budget.

People in the News - July 22, 2014 - Kate C. Oeltjen Joins Flaster Greenberg

Kate C. Oeltjen joined Flaster Greenberg as an associate in the litigation department.

A Marketing Consultant's Argument for the End of 'Dress Casual'

By Stacy West Clark |

My job as a law firm marketing consultant is to always give lawyers the best advice to help them get more business. I am going to give you my very best advice today that could make all the difference in your practice. It will be very short and sweet and I am sorry, but you may not like it.

Robert H. Louis

Essential Retirement Income Planning With Use of IRAs

By Robert H. Louis |

Individual retirement accounts, universally known as IRAs, entered the world of retirement saving with the enactment of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. The concept of an IRA was to permit people to save on their own for retirement, rather than relying solely on employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Kermit Rader

A Battle Looms Over Gas Lease Extensions

By Kermit Rader |

One of the issues most frequently encountered by both gas companies and landowners is whether a lease automatically extends beyond its initial term or expires at the end of it.

Ken Komoroski

The Next Decade of Pennsylvania Shale Development

By Ken Komoroski |

Marcellus Shale oil and gas development began in 2004 with little fanfare except for the occasional 911 calls from local residents who saw fire burning from a flare stack in a farmer's field but didn't know why.

Kevin C. Abbott, Nicolle R. Snyder Bagnell and Lucas Liben

Dual-Purpose Leases in Pennsylvania:

By Kevin C. Abbott, Nicolle R. Snyder Bagnell and Lucas Liben |

In this era of the Marcellus Shale, the right to drill for and produce oil and gas in Pennsylvania is well known as a valuable right that is the subject of thousands of oil and gas leases in the state.

Andrew Levine, Catherine Ward and Nathaniel Koonce II

Is Bakken Crude the Future of Philadelphia's Oil Industry?

By Andrew Levine, Catherine Ward and Nathaniel Koonce II |

Not two years ago, the 140-year-old South Philadelphia Sunoco refinery nearly closed its doors for good, which would have resulted in the loss of 850 jobs. Instead, the refinery, renamed Philadelphia Energy Solutions, now processes approximately 330,000 barrels of oil per day and employs more than 1,000 people.

Daniel Clearfield and Sarah Stoner

Benefits of Going Green With Alternative Energy

By Daniel Clearfield and Sarah Stoner |

Helping clients understand 
the potential for saving money by investing in alternative energy projects has the potential to get you on that "greatest lawyer" list—if you know where to look for the savings. Remember, alternative energy options are not just restricted to rooftop solar or a wind turbine.

Timothy J. Bergère, Christine M. Prokopick and K. Carrie Sarhangi

Managing an Environmental Enforcement Investigation

By Timothy J. Bergère, Christine M. Prokopick and K. Carrie Sarhangi |

Criminal enforcement of environmental laws is on the rise. In recent years, the resources available to federal and state agencies have significantly increased. While traditional areas of investigation—solid waste and water pollution—remain active, increased enforcement scrutiny has been directed toward vessel pollution, worker endangerment underlying events like plant explosions, and energy development.

Rodd W. Bender and Michael C. Nines

Changes to Pennsylvania Cleanup Standards

By Rodd W. Bender and Michael C. Nines |

From the latest diet or exercise fad to New York City's recent court defeat in its efforts to limit the size of sugary drinks sold in restaurants, the news is full of stories about America's struggle against ever-increasing waistlines.

Woof

Biteless Prior Incident Enough for Punitives Claim in Dog-Bite Case

By Max Mitchell |

A common pleas court judge will allow a plaintiff in a dog-bite case to pursue punitive damages based on alleged notice of vicious propensity, even though the dogs had not bitten anyone before the incident.

Samuel Stretton

The proposed judicial conduct rules would impact judges’ ability to serve as executor

By Samuel C. Stretton |

I am a district judge who also has a law practice. Can I still continue to serve as an executor?

Kenneth L. Racowski

A Primer on Pennsylvania Annuity Case Law

By Kenneth L. Racowsk |

Annuities have historically been a popular retirement investment option. In particular, variable annuities, which combine an insurance policy and mutual funds, can provide tax-deferred retirement savings, upside growth with downside protection and guaranteed income throughout the holder's lifetime.

Three children in silhouette

Victim Interviewer's Notes Might Be Discoverable, Court Rules

By Gina Passarella |

The state Superior Court has ordered a more thorough review by the trial court of whether a center that interviewed child sex-abuse victims could be shielded from having to turn over related documents in the criminal trial of the alleged abuser.

Ex-Solicitor Must Repay Arbitrator Fee to County

By Max Mitchell |

Money a county paid its solicitor for acting as interest arbitrator in a labor dispute will have to be repaid to the county, despite a resolution the county adopted agreeing to pay the attorney for the work, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

PLW - People in the News - July 22, 2014

Hill Wallack partner Denise M. Bowman was named chair of the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce's board of directors for the 2014-15 term.

verdicts and settlements

Jury Awards Plaintiff In Admitted Rear-End Collision

According to the plaintiff's pretrial memorandum, Michael B. Clark, who was 66 at the time and had formerly worked as a lineman at PPL, was driving east along Blakeslee Boulevard when he stopped to make a left turn onto Mall Lane in Mahoning Township, Pa.

verdicts and settlements

Soccer Prospect Awarded for Botched Bowel Procedure

A college soccer star once weeks away from going to Colombia on a contract to play professionally was awarded $3.34 million for injuries he suffered after a botched groin surgery that put an end to his athletic career

Recent Action

Following is a listing of executive, legislative and judiciary action for the week of July 14. The state House of Representatives is set to return to session Aug. 4; the state Senate is set to return Sept. 15.

Scott A. Coffina

President's Recess Appointments Struck Down in Noel Canning

By Scott A. Coffina |

Last month's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting President Obama's January 2012 recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board came at a delicate time, with a debate raging between the president and Congress over the limits of the president's executive authority.

zoning

Justices Take Up Deadline for Post-Enactment Appeals

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear argument on whether a defective notice of enactment of a zoning and land development ordinance triggered a 30-day window for filing appeals regarding defects that occurred when the ordinances were initially passed by the zoning board.

J. Alexander Hershey

Supreme Court Diminishes the Role of Prudential Standing

By J. Alexander Hershey |

The U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous decision in Lexmark International v. Static Control Components, 134 S. Ct. 1377 (March 25, 2014), is noteworthy for resolving a split among the circuit courts.

Gina F. Rubel

Nine Ways to Focus on Client Retention

By Gina F. Rubel |

As a legal marketer, I am constantly reading articles for lawyers about business development. Common titles are "Biz Dev for Lawyers," "How to Be a Law Firm Rainmaker," "How to Bring Business to Your Law Firm," "Using Social Media to Grow Your Book of Business," and so on. While everyone is pushing the acquisition of new business, how about focusing on the low-hanging fruit–the clients who already trust you with their business.

Personnel Files Are at Risk of Disclosure in Legal Mal Cases

By Gina Passarella |

A recent ruling in a legal malpractice case opening the door to Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young turning over personnel files is a reminder that law firms may want to be cautious about what they write in performance reviews.

Football

Football Head-Injury Case Against High School Survives

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Sheldon Mann took two major hits in one high school football practice and is now described in court papers as "incapacitated."

Traffic Court

'Little People' Not 'Screwed' in Traffic Court, Lawyer Says

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

In response to the prosecution's argument that ordinary people couldn't get special treatment for their tickets from traffic court judges, a defense attorney in the Philadelphia Traffic Court trial Friday said "the little people" never "got screwed."

Doctor Not Shielded by Co-defendants' Settlements in RICO Suit

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

One of the doctors who was allegedly part of a scheme to inflate the cost of medical care for car accident victims can't use his fellow doctors' settlement agreements with State Farm to dodge his part of a $12 million judgment, a federal judge has ruled.

gavel

Sheriff's Sale Notices

The third publication of the Sheriff's Sale mortgage foreclosure notices for the August 5, 2014, sale, which includes the properties postponed from previous sales, as well as the the tax sales scheduled for July 22 and July 24, are now available.

Frank D'Amore

Five Key Factors to Success in Cross-Selling Efforts

By Frank Michael D'Amore |

Although some firms do quite well at cross-selling, it has become a Holy Grail for many others. In light of the difficulty of landing new clients, firms understandably see value in marketing additional services to existing customers. There should be lower hurdles to surmount with such clients, as they hopefully respect the firm, which makes the sales effort much easier.

San Quentin State Prison.

Justices Unlikely to Review Anti-Death Penalty Ruling

By Marcia Coyle |

A federal judge's decision striking down California's death penalty would be unlikely to receive a warm reception from the U.S. Supreme Court, which repeatedly has turned away similar challenges during the past 20 years.

empty pockets

Deep Pockets Gone With Joint and Several Liability Repeal

By Max Mitchell |

Attorney John W. Zotter of Zimmer Kunz in Pittsburgh represented two trucking companies that were involved in separate multivehicle accidents in the summer of 2011.

People in the News - July 21, 2014 - Karenina Wolff Named Philadelphia VIP's Volunteer of the Month

The Philadelphia Veterans House Inc. elected Duane Morris associate Dmitry Tuchinsky to its board of directors.

FedEx is charged in an indictment in California for its alleged role in the distribution of controlled substances.

FedEx Indicted in Alleged Drug-Distribution Conspiracy

By Amanda Bronstad |

FedEx Corp. was indicted Thursday on charges of shipping illegal drugs to online pharmacies that ended up in the hands of dealers and addicts.

Third Circuit Rules Debtor Need Not Validate Debt Pre-Suit

By Peter J. Kreher and Frank P. Trapani |

In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit addressed an important issue regarding the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). In McLaughlin v. Phelan Hallinan & Schmieg, -- F.3d --, (June 26, 2014), the court addressed whether a consumer must first seek "validation" of a debt under the FDCPA as a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit. This article reviews the FDCPA and the court's decision, which held that debtors may now sue under the FDCPA without first attempting to have a debt collector validate a disputed debt, and discusses the implications of the court's decision.

RICO Suit Stemming From 'Kids-for-Cash' Scandal Filed

By Gina Passarella |

The co-owner of two juvenile detention facilities at the heart of the "kids-for-cash" judicial corruption scandal in Luzerne County has sued the other co-owner, that person's former law firm and several others in a RICO action alleging he has suffered millions in damages because of the defendants' alleged wrongdoing.

Court Rejects PUC Getting First Crack at Oil and Gas Disputes

By Gina Passarella |

The Commonwealth Court has thrown out as unconstitutional a provision of Pennsylvania's oil and gas law that gave the Public Utility Commission the first chance to review the validity of local ordinances regulating the industry.

Traffic Court

Closing Arguments Begin in Traffic Court Trial

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The prosecution in the Philadelphia Traffic Court trial told jurors during closing arguments Thursday that the defendants in the case violated the most basic principle of the judicial system: equal protection of law.

Pa. Justices to Hear Informed-Consent Med Mal Case

By Gina Passarella |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has granted the appeal of a doctor who was denied the ability to use a patient's informed consent as his main defense at trial.

Wal-Mart Asks to Keep Alleged Bribery Records Confidential

By Jeff Mordock |

A Delaware Court of Chancery order requiring Wal-Mart to release internal documents regarding its directors' knowledge of alleged wrongdoing by the company's Mexican affiliate was too broad, the retailer's attorney told the Delaware Supreme Court last week. But an attorney representing the company's shareholders said the number of documents it requested was essential for the purpose of pursuing derivative claims against the retailer.

Shkedy/Smolen

Tax and Estate Implications of Same-Sex Marriage in Pa.

By Amy Neifeld Shkedy and Rebecca Rosenberger Smolen |

On May 20, in Whitewood v. Wolf, No. 1:13--1861 (M.D. Pa. May 20, 2014), U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III of the Middle District of Pennsylvania struck down Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that it violates both the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. The next day, Gov. Tom Corbett announced that he would not appeal the ruling, making Pennsylvania the 19th state to legalize same-sex marriage. This ruling effectively provides same-sex married Pennsylvanians with the same state law marital rights, benefits and obligations as any other married couple in Pennsylvania. In this article, we will summarize some of the rights, benefits and obligations in the income tax and estate planning arena that married same-sex couples who are Pennsylvania residents will now need to mindful of as they arrange their financial affairs.

Bank Liable for Aiding and Abetting Breach of Fiduciary Duties

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

Given the improving economy, bankruptcy filings are at the lowest levels since before the Great Recession. Instead, many companies are implementing out of court by balance sheet debt restructurings or sales. Often the senior secured lenders pressure the company to commence a sale process and the company's board must grapple with the alternatives of pursuing an expedited sale process or pursuing alternative restructurings that could result in a better recovery for shareholders. The board engages a financial adviser as an expert to evaluate strategic alternatives, one of which is fashioning and implementing a sales process.

Yahoo Exec Sues Harassment Accuser for Defamation

By Marisa Kendall |

A Yahoo Inc. executive sued for sexual harassment last week has fired back in a countersuit, calling the harassment claims "outrageously false."

Joseph Cavallo, left, with attorney John Barnett during his arraignment in Los Angeles.

California Lawyers Accused of Trying to Extort Sheik

By Amanda Bronstad |

A prominent personal injury attorney in Orange County, Calif., has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempting to extort a Saudi sheik by falsely accusing his son of sexually assaulting and torturing his client.

Atheist Dan Courtney, of Hamlin, N.Y., delivers the invocation at the Greece town board meeting on Tuesday. The community's leaders won a U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the right to start such gatherings with a prayer.

Supreme Court Ruling Leads Atheist to Offer Invocation

By Joel Stashenko and Tony Mauro |

An atheist invoked the Founding Fathers' belief in the consent of the governed as the basis of just government Tuesday as he delivered the invocation before a town board that won U.S. Supreme Court approval in May to start its meetings with religious invocations.

People in the News - July 18, 2014 - Sommer of Eastburn & Gray to Speak at PBI Seminar

Joanne D. Sommer of Eastburn & Gray is set to serve as a faculty member at the "Snapshots of Special Education Law" program, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, on July 22 in Philadelphia.

Paxil Birth-Defect Mass Tort Set to Close in Philadelphia

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The Paxil birth-defect litigation in Philadelphia, which once included about 1,000 cases, now has only two left in the city's court system.

gavel and book

Malpractice Suit Against Gross McGinley Revived

By Gina Passarella |

A legal malpractice suit against Gross McGinley has been reinstated after the state Superior Court found there was a question of fact as to whether the plaintiff and primary shareholder of the law firm's client had standing to sue on behalf of his company.

insurance policy

Geico Can't Dodge Bad-Faith UIM Claim

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A Vietnam veteran's claim that Geico acted in bad faith when handling his underinsured motorist benefits case has survived in federal court in Pittsburgh.

gevel in a courtroom

High Court Denies Appeal in Pietragallo Gordon Malpractice Case

By Gina Passarella |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has denied the appeal of a former Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti client who saw his $525,000 legal malpractice award against the firm overturned.

Public Speaking Is a Key Component to a Successful Career

By Vivian Luckiewicz |

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Do one thing every day that scares you." This year I took that quote to heart when I accepted the nomination to be president of The Philadelphia Association of Paralegals. I certainly was not afraid of the work involved; I knew I had the support of my fellow board members and could always count on them to lend a hand. What scared me was that as president I would have to speak--in public--in front of crowds of people. I cringed at the thought of it. I knew that the minute I stood up to speak, I would forget my name (and anything else I planned to say). Yet, here I am, seven months into my term as president, still alive and slowly conquering my biggest fear.

The Philadelphia Association of Paralegals Calendar of Events

Today, the litigation and technology committee meeting is set for 12:30 p.m. at the Jenkins Law Library, 833 Chestnut St., Suite 1220. Dan Giancaterino, education services manager of the library, will present a lunch-and-learn titled "Beyond the Walls." He will touch upon the role of the law library in the digital era, electronic research and resources, trends, accessibility and on-site versus remote access. Contact litigation (litigation@philaparalegals.com) or technology (technology@philaparalegals.com) committee chairs to confirm your attendance.

merger

Referral Fees: Managing the Risks of 'Easy Money'

By The YL Editorial Board |

"Hey, you're a lawyer. May I ask you a question?"

People in the News - July 17, 2014 - Parker McCay Promotes Silverstein to Counsel

Kevin E. Raphael, a partner in Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, was named vice chairman of education for the American Health Lawyers Association fraud and abuse practice group for the 2014-15 term.

President Barack Obama

Law Profs Urge Obama to Hold Line on Anti-Gay Bias

By Karen Sloan |

A group of law professors have sent a letter urging President Obama not to include a religious exemption in his promised executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

Bert Rein of Wiley Rein, who represented Abigail Fisher (right) in Fisher v University of Texas, addresses the media after arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court in October 2012.

Divided Fifth Circuit Upholds UT's Race-Conscious Admissions

By Tony Mauro |

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday the University of Texas can continue to use race as a factor in admissions in spite of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2013 ordering greater scrutiny of the university's affirmative-action program.

Two Former Utah AGs Indicted

By Amanda Bronstad |

Former Utah Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff were arrested on Tuesday and charged in a massive public corruption scandal.

Judge Awards $50 Mil. to Attorneys in Truck Stop Suit

By Gina Passarella |

A Pennsylvania federal judge has granted final approval of a $130 million settlement in an antitrust suit between independent truck-stop owners on one side and trucker fleet payment card company Comdata Inc. and three national truck-stop chains on the other.

Off-Label Marketing Suit Against Cephalon Tossed

By Gina Passarella |

A group of workers' compensation insurers who alleged Cephalon took advantage of the laws providing for full prescription coverage to those injured on the job had their claims dismissed Monday.

Fake Dictionary, Dictionary definition of the word Evidence.

Evidence Closes in Philadelphia Traffic Court Trial

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

In the eighth week of trial for Philadelphia Traffic Court judges accused of ticket-fixing, both the defense and the prosecution finished presenting their evidence. Closing arguments are scheduled to start Thursday morning.

Vector illustration of an increasing graphic bar statistics.

Growth Potential of South Jersey's Legal Market in Doubt

By Zack Needles |

While a number of large and midsized firms, as well as scores of smaller practices, call it home, the verdict still appears to be out on whether South Jersey is an up-and-coming legal market or one that's past its prime.

People in the News - July 16, 2014 - Raspanti to Present at American Board of Trial Advocates Convention

The Philadelphia chapter of the Legal Marketing Association is set to host an educational program that will cover the use of blogs and social media tools in law firms.

What You Need to Know About Corporate Designee Depositions

By Hayes A. Hunt and Joshua N. Ruby |

In a world where the overwhelming majority of cases never make it to trial, depositions take on outsized importance.

Three children in silhouette

Legal Protections for Unaccompanied Minors Under Pressure

By Michelle T. Kobler |

The unprecedented arrival of unaccompanied minors without proper immigration status from Central American countries has been much in the news recently.

Karen LeCraft Henderson.

D.C. Circuit Rejects Guantanamo Detainee's Challenge

By Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Monday rejected a constitutional challenge brought by Osama bin Laden's former personal assistant to his conviction by a military commission for conspiracy to commit war crimes.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, center, announces Monday Citigroup will pay $7 billion to settle an investigation into risky subprime mortgages. With Holder, are, from left, Tony West, the lead Justice Department negotiator in the Citigroup case; John Walsh, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado and Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Citigroup Settles With Government for $7 Billion

By Brendan Pierson |

New York will get $182 million out of a $7 billion settlement between Citigroup Inc. and the federal government over the bank's activity in the subprime mortgage market, which was announced Monday.

Facebook's campus at 1601 Willow Road in Menlo Park, CA

Protecting the IP in Social Media

By John M. Persinger |

How much would your company pay for a "like" on Facebook?

Football

Smooth Sailing Ahead for the NFL Concussion Settlement?

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Having swiftly gone from being rejected as not sufficient in January to clearing preliminary approval last week, the settlement between the NFL and its former players who sustained head injuries is likely on route to final approval, according to court watchers.

Lawyer Called 'Sociopath' Seeks Judge's Recusal

By Gina Passarella |

A bankruptcy attorney currently under review by the Western District of Pennsylvania bankruptcy court for alleged "systemic" misconduct is appealing a decision of the judge overseeing the review to recuse in only two of the hundreds of cases in which the lawyer is involved.

Close up of a Smartphone Camera

Superior Court: Search of Smartphones Requires Warrant

By Max Mitchell |

The state Superior Court has held that pictures obtained through a warrantless search of a smartphone are inadmissible under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Traffic Court

Traffic Court Defendant Denies Knowledge of 'Consideration'

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Chester County Magisterial District Judge Mark Bruno testified in the Philadelphia Traffic Court trial that he had never heard of the term "consideration" as it relates to the alleged ticket-fixing scheme.

Alan Nochumson

Court Expands Scope of Right to Redeem Property Sold at Tax Sale

By Alan Nochumson |

An opinion recently issued by the Commonwealth Court may have dramatically changed the way tax sales in Philadelphia are viewed by delinquent property owners and third-party bidders.

gavel, scale, and law book

Conduct Board Increasingly Focusing on Demeanor Violations

By Max Mitchell |

Misconduct charges that the Judicial Conduct Board brought against an Erie County judge last week highlight a growing trend of judges facing increasing scrutiny for demeanor- and behavior-based offenses, lawyers familiar with the disciplinary system said.

Recent Action

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of July 7. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to Harrisburg on Sept. 15.