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Latest News

Jaw Necrosis Claims Against Novartis Winnowed Down

By Gina Passarella |

A Pittsburgh federal judge has reduced the claims against Novartis Pharmaceuticals in three lawsuits alleging the company's drug Zometa caused the plaintiffs' jaws to deteriorate.

Should Firms Do More to Protect Proprietary Marketing Plans?

By Max Mitchell |

Although legal marketers occasionally work with sensitive materials, law firms have done little to protect marketing schemes and strategies when it comes to chief marketing officers and staffers jumping ship, according to several marketers.

penn state

Federal Judge Won't Stop Spanier Prosecution

By Max Mitchell |

A federal judge has dismissed ex-Penn State University President Graham Spanier's suit seeking to have the prosecution against him dropped.

Alexander

Reed Smith Transitions Leadership Team Under New MP

By Gina Passarella |

Reed Smith has finalized plans for a transition in its management team in the wake of global managing partner Sandy Thomas being elected to his first full three-year term at the helm of the firm.

$27 Million Awarded in Western Pa. Bankruptcy Court

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A western Pennsylvania solar panel manufacturer that filed for bankruptcy last year just got a $27 million judgment against a Chinese company that fell through on a deal to acquire the company.

Directly above photograph of an application for a visa.

Employer Must Prove Worker's Citizenship Status, Justices Say

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The state Supreme Court has ruled that a worker from Ecuador, who invoked the Fifth Amendment when asked about his citizenship in a workers' compensation case, did not prove by remaining silent that he was an undocumented worker.

Donald Manno

Acquitted Lawyers' Lives, Practices Shaken by Six-Year RICO Case

By Mary Pat Gallagher |

"All's well that ends well" is one way to look at what happened to three lawyers charged with criminal racketeering and fraud, who were acquitted by a federal jury July 3.

Firms Should Take Care in Creating LGBT Practice Groups

By Gina Passarella |

It may appear to be a good time to begin marketing legal services to same-sex couples in Pennsylvania given the overturning of the state's ban on gay marriage, but lawyers who have long represented the community warn firms not to just stick "LGBT" in front of their practice and hope for work.

The Unforeseen Consequences of Hobby Lobby Decision

By R. Barrett Marshall |

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement seems to be progressing very quickly. The media reports new regulations, executive orders and court opinions that, little by little, are providing piecemeal protections to discrete groups under the rainbow umbrella. These include: hospital visitation for unmarried same-sex partners, a new frontier in insurance coverage for transition-related medical care, and most recently in Pennsylvania, marriage equality. The community is making considerable inroads in legal and social recognition, but it is important to acknowledge the larger legal landscape and the dangers that lie in other decisions. The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, 573 U.S. ____ (2014), may well have provided more potential for discrimination against the LGBT community than our current, or even aspirational, protections will withstand.

Peter

New Standards Announced for ERISA Company Stock Cases

By Peter H. "Tad" LeVan Jr. |

In the final week of its term, the U.S. Supreme Court issued the opinion of Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, --- U.S. --- (June 25, 2014), an important decision defining the standard of care that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) imposes on certain plan fiduciaries. While failing to generate the media coverage of other hot-button opinions the court issued that week, the impact of Fifth Third to ERISA practitioners cannot be overstated: It fundamentally changed the legal landscape of ERISA company stock cases and will have far-reaching effects on ERISA jurisprudence for years to come.

The Public Interest Calendar of Events

On Thursday, the Philadelphia Bar Association's law school outreach committee of the public interest section is set to host the "Summer Brown Bag Lunch Series," from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market St. The 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. To download a schedule of the programs, visit the public interest section's Web page at www.philabar.org.

People in the News - July 28, 2014 - Jeffrey M. Brenner Joins Post & Schell

Jeffrey M. Brenner joined Post & Schell as an associate in the insurance law department, representing the firm's insurer clients in the litigation of complex coverage and bad-faith disputes.

Second Circuit Rules Inmate Faced Burden to Religion

By Mark Hamblett |

A Muslim inmate who was placed in solitary confinement conditions for more than two months after refusing to drink water during the Ramadan fast to provide a urine sample has had his First Amendment claim reinstated.

Slain Florida State University College of Law professor Dan Markel

Markel Made Reputation Online, and Is Remembered There

By Karen Sloan |

Dan Markel launched his pioneering PrawfsBlawg as soon as he landed an assistant professorship at the Florida State University College of Law in 2005—even before teaching his first class. So it seems fitting that the reaction to Markel's July 20 shooting death was immediate, intense and to a large degree expressed online.

housing fees

Working to Develop Affordable Housing in Pennsylvania

By Rachel Blake |

Regional Housing Legal Services (RHLS) is a nonprofit law firm working to increase opportunities to create and sustain affordable rental housing, preserve low-income homeownership, and revitalize declining communities.

Drivers' Phone Use Doesn't Support Punitives, Rulings Say

By Max Mitchell |

Attorneys seeking punitive damages against drivers who were talking on their cellphones at the time of an accident need to show a little more than just cellphone use, attorneys who spoke with the Law Weekly said.

Traffic Court

Axing Traffic Ct. Was About Ethics, Not Fraud, Officials Say

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Following the acquittal of the six judges accused of ticket-fixing in the Philadelphia Traffic Court trial, several members of the criminal defense bar said the federal jury was correct in finding that no fraud was committed.

Sponge-in-Patient Case Doesn't Require Expert Witness

By Gina Passarella |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has made clear in a published opinion what it said has always been the classic example of a res ipsa loquitur case—leaving a sponge in a patient speaks for itself and doesn't require an expert witness to prove negligence or causation in a medical malpractice trial.

Former Nazi Guard Dies on Eve of Judge's Extradition Order

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A federal magistrate judge issued an opinion extraditing a former Nazi guard to Germany to stand trial for mass murder shortly after he died.

gavel and book

Union Leader Dougherty Loses Bid to Reseal FBI Affidavit

By Gina Passarella |

Labor union leader John J. Dougherty has lost an attempt in federal court to reseal a years-old FBI affidavit of probable cause to search his home that was made public through litigation in state court.

Eastern District of Pa. Nominees Sit for Judiciary Committee Hearing

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Just over a month since they were nominated, the four candidates for the bench in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania have made it through their Judiciary Committee hearing.

Vector illustration of an increasing graphic bar statistics.

Minimum-Wage Increase Attacks Advantages of Franchising

By Craig R. Tractenberg |

The International Franchise Association (IFA), a Washington, D.C.-based trade group, and five franchisees filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court in Seattle seeking to block Seattle's recently enacted law to increase the city's minimum wage to $15 per hour.

People in the News - July 25, 2014 - Obermayer Rebmann Partner Bertin Elected Treasurer of PBA Section

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel partner Michael E. Bertin was elected treasurer of the family law section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Supreme Court Gets 'Incomplete' Grade for Transparency

By Tony Mauro |

A coalition formed to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to increase transparency criticized the justices Tuesday for not doing more to boost public access to court proceedings in the term just ended.

Sonia Sotomayor.

Clinton Docs Reveal Concerns About Court Nominees

By Marcia Coyle, Tony Mauro and Todd Ruger |

The latest papers from the Clinton White House reveal behind-the-scenes concerns about three lawyers who would join the U.S. Supreme Court: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

Jeffrey Campolongo

26 States Introduce Laws to Combat Workplace Bullying

By Jeffrey Campolongo and Yalda Hajavi |

While there may still be some people naive enough to think that "words will never hurt me," in some cases words have all the power and intention to do just that. Workplace bullying destructs the emotions and mentality of its victims, leading to immense psychological and emotional trauma, according to workplacebullying.org, the nation's grassroots legislative movement to enact the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill. The reality is that bullying is not only evident on the playground, but it is found within the workplace as well. As adults, the conditions are even tougher. In the workplace, the demands to perform well are high and the stakes of consistently performing well are even higher. What should an employee do when bullied in the midst of trying to perform at work?

picture of man hands signing contract

MERS Knocked Down, but Not Necessarily Out, in Court Ruling

By William J. Maffucci |

Merscorp Inc. and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc., known collectively as MERS, were created in the 1990s to expedite and reduce the expense of selling and reselling loans on the secondary mortgage market. Lenders and other investors who become members of MERS nominated it to act as their mortgagee of record.

Traffic Court

Traffic Ct. Defendants Not Guilty on Fraud, Conspiracy Charges

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The Philadelphia Traffic Court trial, which endured for nearly two months, concluded with jurors finding four of the traffic court judges guilty of perjury and giving false statements, but not guilty of charges related to ticket-fixing.

merger

Nelson Levine Looks to Client to Fill COO Role

By Max Mitchell |

As part of an effort to add muscle to the firm, Nelson Levine de Luca & Hamilton has hired a longtime Harleysville Insurance senior official as the new executive vice president and chief operations and strategic officer.

Silent Threats Most Concerning, Judicial Security Experts Say

By Jeff Mordock |

The most serious threats to judges come from disappointed litigants who don't openly air their unhappiness, as was illustrated recently when federal agents alleged insurance executive Jeffrey B. Cohen silently amassed a cache of weapons with Delaware Court of Chancery Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster as his target.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.