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Pair Can't Get Punitives Verdict Vacated Post-Settlement

By Gina Passarella |

A Pennsylvania federal judge has denied the request to vacate $2.25 million in punitive damages against two former heads of a medical supply company who argued they settled the underlying patent infringement cases and the judgment was hurting their chances of obtaining new employment.

Jury box..Photo by Jason Doiy.2-9-11.054-2011

Panel Upends $2.5 Mil. Award to Man Injured in Fall

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The state Superior Court has tossed a $2.5 million verdict awarded to a man who fell 40 feet from an electrical transmission pole after his lanyard detached from a ladder.

Litigation Funding Sometimes a 'Necessary Evil' for Lawyers

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Litigation loans for clients in dire need of money to pay the rent or for an attorney trying to cover case expenses are generally viewed by lawyers as a costly option of last resort.

Leaders Managing 'Staggering' Costs of Firm Merger Talks

By Gina Passarella |

In an economy in which revenue is hard to come by, mergers are increasingly viewed as a way for firms to capture market share. But merger discussions could also lead to lost revenue opportunities, making them a tricky proposition for firm leadership.

Citigroup Can't Compel Arbitration in Life Insurance Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A subsidiary of Citigroup failed in its bid to compel arbitration in a life insurance dispute in federal court in Pittsburgh.

Eckert Seamans Responds to Zappala's Disqualification Motion

By Gina Passarella |

Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott said it should not be disqualified from representing a "kids-for-cash" scandal defendant in a civil suit when the firm sued that defendant in a civil rights suit on behalf of one of the kids because both parties signed conflict waivers.

pa map

Defendants May Now Have Easier Time Changing Venue in Pa.

By Max Mitchell |

The uphill battle defendants faced when trying to get their cases moved from a plaintiff's chosen venue has been leveled somewhat thanks to the state Supreme Court's decision last month in Bratic v. Rubendall, according to attorneys who spoke with the Law Weekly.

Pa. Law Weekly - People in the News - Sept. 2, 2014 - Human Relations Appointment

Attorney Loren L. Speziale, a partner at Gross McGinley, was appointed to the Bethlehem Human Relations Commission.

Leonard Deutchman

Courts Recognize the Importance of Cooperation in E-Discovery

By Leonard Deutchman |

In Boston Scientific v. Lee, No. 1:13-cv-13156-DJC (N.D. Cal. August 4, 2014), the court addressed two areas of e-discovery of particular interest: the need for cooperation in conducting e-discovery successfully, and the digital forensic investigative steps frequently taken when a high-level employee leaves a company to start or join a rival and is suspected of taking with him or her important intellectual property—what I refer to as "departing employee triage," or DET.

Justices Won't Hear Case on Rights for Online Impersonators

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has declined to hear argument on whether online commenters have a constitutional right to falsely attribute nonsatirical postings to someone with direct connection to the subject matter.

Pa. Municipal Pension Systems Strained, Auditor General Says

By John L. Kennedy |

Scranton's pension system is on a path to running out of funds in three to five years, according to an audit performed by the office of Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.

Report: Kane Issued Administrative Subpoenas on Shale Players

By John L. Kennedy |

Attorney General Kathleen Kane has issued administrative subpoenas throughout the shale industry in Pennsylvania, according to a story published on

Yona Weissman

Judge Suppresses Images Found in Cellphone Search

By John Caher |

In an early application of a new U.S. Supreme Court precedent on cellphone records and the Fourth Amendment, a judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., has suppressed evidence that allegedly would have shown that a defendant photographed a child sex-crime victim during a trial.

<b>COUNTRYWIDE:</b> Bank of America's liability stemmed from its acquisition of the lender.

BofA $16.7 Billion Settlement Marks End of an Era

By Julie Triedman and Jenna Greene |

With Bank of America Corp.'s $16.7 billion settlement over the marketing and sale of subprime residential mortgage-backed securities, prosecutors closed out the largest remaining government-enforcement actions stemming from the financial crisis.

Vasilios J. Kalogredis

Standards and Interstate Cooperation on Telemedicine

By Vasilios J. Kalogredis |

The American Medical Association (AMA) and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) recently issued significant documents for the development and use of telemedicine. The AMA publication recommends safeguards and standards for physician practice and payor coverage of telemedicine. The FSMB document, which is a discussion draft, provides a blueprint of an interstate telemedicine compact with the force of law. Together, these documents suggest increased interest in streamlined licensing and uniform standards for the practice of telemedicine.

Non-U.S. Whistleblower's Dodd-Frank Retaliation Claim Rejected

By Robert L. Hickok, Gay Parks Rainville and William A. Liess |

On Aug. 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a decision that helps clarify the territorial reach of the anti-retaliation provision of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, 15 USC Section 78u-6(h). In Liu Meng-Lin v. Siemens AG, No. 13-4385 (2d. Cir. Aug. 14, 2014), the court held that Congress did not intend the provision to apply extraterritorially to claims by a foreign whistleblower employed abroad by a foreign corporation where all events related to the whistleblower's disclosures occurred outside the United States. After affirming the district court's dismissal of Liu Meng-Lin's retaliation claim against Siemens AG on this ground, the court declined to address the additional argument advanced by Siemens that the Dodd-Frank anti-retaliation provision does not protect whistleblowers, like Liu, who fail to report potential securities violations to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) before the alleged retaliation.

People in the News - Sept. 2, 2014 - Forum of Executive Women Elects Directors

The Forum of Executive Women, a membership organization of more than 400 influential women representing diverse businesses in the Greater Philadelphia region, announced four new directors for fiscal year 2014-15.

verdicts and settlements

Jury Sides With Defense in Treatment Center Slip-and-Fall

According to a pretrial memorandum from the plaintiffs, on Aug. 31, 2010, Robert Smith was treated at the renal department of the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Justices Take Up Hospital's Liability for ER Doc's Acts

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear argument on whether a plaintiff may state a claim for vicarious liability against a hospital for the alleged conduct of an emergency room doctor by pointing out that she was part of an emergency response team and had not previously treated the patient.

verdicts and settlements

Defense Contractor Settles Following Collision in Kuwait

By Max Mitchell |

According to court documents, on Nov. 19, 2009, Brian Mark Patton, a 37-year-old Pennsylvania resident who worked as a corrections officer but was serving a tour of duty as a reservist for the U.S. Navy, was driving an SUV along a two-lane road in Kuwait with David Morgan, who was also a corrections officer serving a tour of duty, as passenger.

Will Sylianteng

Identifying and Preventing Scorched-Earth Litigation

By Will Sylianteng |

As attorneys, we would like to believe that we are members of a civilized and high-brow profession. And why shouldn't we? Our clients bicker, fight and can't stand each other. Then, they hire us to civilly negotiate their claims in their stead, and authorize us to take the case to trial only if those negotiations fail.

Jeff Jubelirer

For Communicators, It's Back-to-School Season, Too

By Jeff Jubelirer |

It's back-to-school season, but it doesn't just have to be a time of wonderment and curiosity for students; it can also be a time when you as an attorney with communications responsibilities for your firm or organization can get geared up to learn new things.

Legislative, Judicial Action for Week of Aug. 25, 2014

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of legislative and judicial action for the week of Aug. 25. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Sept. 15.

Sam Stretton

Judges Must Report Misconduct to Uphold 
the Legal Profession's Integrity

By Samuel C. Stretton |

What are the responsibilities of a judicial officer to report another judge or lawyer for professional misconduct?

State Finds Representation in $50 Mil. Foxwoods Suit

By Gina Passarella |

The Office of General Counsel has hired Ballard Spahr to represent it in defending a lawsuit by the owners of proposed Foxwoods Casino, who are trying to recover the $50 million application fee paid to open a casino in Philadelphia.

Chamberlain Hrdlicka Projects Rebound From 2013 Financial Dip

By Max Mitchell |

Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White, Williams & Aughtry, a Texas-based firm with a Pennsylvania presence, is projecting a rebound in 2014 after seeing declines in gross revenue, profits per equity partner and revenue per lawyer in 2013.

Debt collection

Revealing Account Number Violates Fair Debt Collection Law

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The Third Circuit has reversed a district court on an issue that "implicates a core concern animating" the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

unfinished automobiles in a car plant

Panel Affirms Ford's Win in Asbestos Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Ford Motor Co. cannot be held liable in a case involving asbestos-containing auto parts manufactured and distributed by its subsidiary in the United Kingdom, the state Superior Court has ruled.

Revel Casino Hotel.atlantic city

As Casino Gambling Busts, Atlantic City Law Firms Play On

By David Gialanella |

The planned shuttering of three casinos over Labor Day weekend or soon after—Revel, Showboat and Trump Plaza—would seem to have dealt a cruel hand to the legal industry in Atlantic City, N.J. But, nearly four decades after gambling was legalized in the city, lawyers there say they're carrying on.

Back to School: Current State and Federal Child Labor Laws

By Erin Winters |

With schools headed back in session, now is the time for employers to review hiring, payment and scheduling practices for workers under the age of 18. The myriad of federal and state child labor laws that employers must heed range from work permit requirements to the hours and type of work performed, all of which vary based on an employee's age and whether school is in session.

When Compliance Is Not Enough: The Case of Whiskey Fungus

By Alva Mather |

American whiskey business is booming. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, sales of bourbon and Tennessee whiskey are up 19.6 percent since 2008. Revenue exceeded more than $2.4 billion in 2013 alone. Indeed, Congress has recognized bourbon as a "distinctive product of the United States" and regulators have sought to keep this business truly American, by establishing rules and regulations limiting the definition of "straight-bourbon" and "Tennessee whiskey" to products manufactured in the United States.

Court: 'Brutal' Cavity Search Violated Arrestee's Rights

By Amanda Bronstad |

The "brutal and physically invasive" removal of a package containing cocaine during a body-cavity search of a suspected drug dealer without a warrant violated his Fourth Amendment rights, a federal appeals court has ruled.

King Downing, a New York-based attorney who traveled to Ferguson, Mo., this week, hands out an educational pamphlet outside the St. Louis County Justice Center.

Post-Protests, Attorneys Brace for Ferguson Lawsuits

By Zoe Tillman |

Clashes between protesters and police in Ferguson, Mo., subsided late last week, but the work for lawyers is far from over.

People in the News - Aug. 29, 2014 - La Ratta Reappointed ABA Chair

Anthony R. La Ratta, a partner with Archer & Greiner, was reappointed as chair of the probate and fiduciary litigation committee of the American Bar Association.

Former Traffic Court Defendant Bruno's Suspension Lifted

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

More than a month after his exoneration on fraud charges related to the Philadelphia Traffic Court ticket-fixing case, Chester County Magisterial District Judge Mark Bruno's judicial suspension has been lifted.

Third Circuit Sets FMLA Return-to-Work Standard

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A Reading Hospital office worker's Family and Medical Leave Act claim has allowed the Third Circuit to set a standard for when an employee's right to return to work is triggered.

Ex-Attorney's Unauthorized Practice of Law Conviction Upheld

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The state Superior Court has upheld the criminal conviction of an attorney who—after his disbarment—continued to represent two clients in lawsuits.

Chancery Court Applies McWane Doctrine to First-Filed Arbitration

By Jeff Mordock |

In a case of first impression, the Delaware Court of Chancery applied the McWane doctrine to dismiss a lawsuit filed by LG Electronics against a radio communications device manufacturer because the parties initiated arbitration before pursuing litigation in Delaware.

Maximizing the Summer Associate Experience for Both Sides

By Patrice M. Turenne |

The summer before the last year of law school can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking time for any law student. If you have managed to land a coveted summer associate position, you should feel fortunate. Not only will you gain invaluable professional experience, but you may also secure your future employment, as many law firms hire directly from their summer associate classes. This article is designed to provide guidance to future (and current) summer associates, as well as to the law firms that hire them. To make the most of the experience for both parties, it is vital that the program be designed in a way that benefits both the summer associates and the firm.

Faced With a Page Limit? It's More an Opportunity Than a Limit

By Bart D. Cohen |

Oft-quoted humorist Will Rogers said "the minute you read something that you can't understand, you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer." We have since made ourselves far more comprehensible to laypeople. But even most laypeople can achieve comprehensibility in their writing. Where choosing words carefully is an integral part of our practices, we might aspire to a higher standard—concise comprehensibility. But there are still among us too many brevity-challenged litigators, which is why courts impose page limits.

(From left to right) Reed Smith's Len Bernstein, Jim Mogan, Dana Janquitto, and Alexandra Sheedy-Rodriguez, with Will Rogers and Anthony Cucchi of The Trust for Public Land.

Reed Smith Helps Phila. Turn Concrete Into Green Space

By Alexandra Wilson |

In Philadelphia, a walk in the park might not be as easy as it seems.

<b>VISIT:</b> AG Eric Holder Jr., left, meets Missouri State Highway Patrol capt. Ron Johnson.

DOJ Deepens Its Role in Ferguson Shooting Investigation

By Todd Ruger |

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. made the fight against police misconduct a priority long before his visit last week to Ferguson, Mo., where violent clashes between law enforcement and protesters flared following the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

People in the News - Aug. 28, 2014 - Dolan Is Philadelphia VIP Volunteer of the Month

Philadelphia VIP selected Kimberly Dolan as its August volunteer of the month.

DLA Piper Putting Emphasis on Philadelphia

By Gina Passarella |

DLA Piper's Philadelphia office has fluctuated over the years when it comes to attorney head count, with about 40 lawyers of the firm's 4,000 attorneys currently working in the city.

Pepper Hamilton

Freeh's Accident Highlights Need for Leadership Depth

By Gina Passarella |

Pepper Hamilton Chairman Louis J. Freeh, a former judge and director of the FBI, was in a New Hampshire hospital Tuesday after suffering serious injuries in a one-car accident in Vermont.

© Valeriy-Fotolia

Secant Dismissed From Pelvic-Mesh Mass Tort

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Secant Medical, the sole Pennsylvania-based defendant in Philadelphia's pelvic-mesh mass tort, has been dismissed from the litigation.

Jury box..Photo by Jason Doiy.2-9-11.054-2011

Third Circuit Ruling Reverses Judge in Batson Challenge Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The Third Circuit reversed the writ of habeas corpus granted to a man who alleged the prosecution had been racially motivated when it tossed black jurors before his trial in 2001.

Justices Deny Rohm and Haas' Appeal in Brain-Cancer Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The state Supreme Court has declined to hear a brain-cancer-cluster case against Rohm and Haas that was initially dismissed, but revived later by the state Superior Court.

Third Circuit Clarifies False Claims Act Pleading Requirements

By Jeffrey G. Weil and Michael J. Melusky |

There is a split among the circuits regarding what a whistleblower must plead to survive a motion to dismiss in False Claims Act (FCA) cases. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has now spoken for the first time on the issue.

picture of man hands signing contract

Enforcing Contractual Statutes of Limitations in ERISA Plans

By Mark J. Oberstaedt |

Last term's U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding time limitations to sue regarding Employee Retirement Income Security Act welfare benefit plans, as well as the cases decided since by lower courts, provides important guidance to drafters of ERISA plan provisions. Those charged with drafting such plans would be well served to include contractual limitations on the time to sue in order to provide nationwide unanimity in enforcement, avoid the litigation of stale claims and set expectations of plan participants.

Insurance Supplement

Insurance Law

The Insurance Law Supplement includes articles on food contamination, settlement without consent, the definition of "occurrence," employer's liability exclusions and more.


Justice Ginsburg Speaks Out on Rulings, Race

By Marcia Coyle |

The turmoil in Ferguson, Mo., and the controversial stop-and-frisk policy in New York City illustrate a "real racial problem" in America, one that recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have done little to help, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told Legal affiliate The National Law Journal.

People in the News - Aug. 27, 2014 - Yoa Joins Capehart Scatchard

Michael A. Morse and Pamela C. Brecht of Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick and Raspanti are set to be featured presenters at the Philadelphia Bar Association's 2014 Bench-Bar and Annual Conference on Oct. 17 in Atlantic City, N.J.

Restatement Rift Remains as Bar Awaits Tincher Ruling

By Saranac Hale Spencer, Max Mitchell and P.J. D'Annunzio |

The products liability bar has resigned itself to the confused state of the law in Pennsylvania since the rift between the state and federal courts emerged about five years ago.

Archer & Greiner Sues Client for $1.15 Mil. in Fees

By Gina Passarella |

New Jersey-based Archer & Greiner has sued a Pennsylvania-based client in federal court for more than $1.15 million in alleged unpaid legal fees.

Competition Spurs Firms to Eye Starting Salary Increases

By Gina Passarella |

First-year associate salaries are on the rise at some Pennsylvania firms with at least one firm with a presence in the state paying out $160,000 to new associates this year.


Lawyer Suspended for Using Client Money to Pay Support

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A lawyer who paid his child-support bills with money from a client's personal injury settlement has been suspended by the state Supreme Court for a year and a day.

Kenneth Portner

The Future of Settlement Without Consent in Pa.

By Kenneth Portner |

A "consent to settle" clause is a common feature of liability insurance policies. The clause provides that an insurer is not responsible to pay a claim that the insured settles without the insurer's consent.

Joshua Mooney

Cracking Coverage Issues in Data Breach Cases

By Joshua Mooney |

Five years ago, data breaches were a blip on the risk-management radar screen. Now, they can send a cold shiver down the spine of any corporate board. If a company suffers a data breach, we are talking about significant exposure, including lawsuits, agency enforcement actions and damage to reputation and brand name.

Insurance Supplement

Insurance Law

The Insurance Law Supplement includes articles on food contamination, settlement without consent, the definition of "occurrence," employer's liability exclusions and more.

Brandon Palladino

Panel Blocks Man's Effort to Benefit From Victim's Estate

By Andrew Kesher |

Citing the "clear causal link" between a man's unlawful killing of his mother-in-law and the benefits he stood to gain, a Brooklyn, N.Y., appellate court has ruled that wrongdoers cannot indirectly inherit a victim's assets.

Kings County Supreme Court at 360 Adams St.

Media Outlets Ruled Not Liable for Using Wrong Photo

By John Caher |

Media outlets that publicized a police photo of a suspected sexual predator—and then left the picture on their websites long after a misidentified man complained—cannot be held liable for defamation, a Bronx judge has held.

Sam Stretton

Is There Anything Unethical About Electronic Closings?

By Samuel C. Stretton |

In an electronic closing, the standard jury trial is flashed before the jurors exactly as the judge charges. All exhibits, particularly photos or videos, are displayed to the jury. The lawyer's comments are written and published to the jury. The lawyer speaks them, but many times is looking at a computer when doing so.


Justices to Eye Estoppel by Deed in Oil and Gas Cases

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on whether a lease entitles an oil and gas company to a 62-acre property, despite the fact that the lease was entered into when the landowners only had title to half the property and payment only covered 31 acres.


Complaints Are Separate From Liens, Superior Court Rules

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Actions to compel judgment on mechanic's liens must be filed separately from the liens themselves, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled, affirming both case law on the issue and the trial court's opinion.

verdicts and settlements

Plaintiff Claimed Railing Unhinged, Caused Fall

On March 31, 2011, plaintiff Joseph Ragan, 31, an independent salesperson for third-party energy suppliers, was accessing his basement at 10031 Westbourne Place in Northeast Philadelphia. Ragan leased the property from Kathleen Dragoni and Thomas Garofolo III. Ragan alleged that as he descended the basement stairway, he grasped the wooden railing and in doing so it unhinged, which caused him to fall down the stairs, approximately 12 steps. Ragan claimed that he suffered a spine injury.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of Aug. 18

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Aug. 18. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Sept. 15.

Timothy J. Horstmann

MSRB Proposes Relaxed Duties for Municipal Advisers

By Timothy J. Horstmann |

On July 23, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board issued Regulatory Notice 2014-12, requesting comment on its proposed revisions to Draft Rule G-42, concerning the standards of conduct and duties of municipal advisers. The MSRB's changes to the rule incorporate many of the comments previously received from the public, the effect of which would be to substantially relax the duties owed by municipal advisers to their municipal entity clients.


Judicial Estoppel Won't Apply to Employment Arguments

By Max Mitchell |

A health care company was not barred from arguing in a workers' compensation action that a former employee was acting outside the course of his employment, even though the company had admitted in a previous civil action that the former employee had been acting in the course of his employment, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

verdicts and settlements

Plaintiff Claimed Police Struck Him With Gun

On Dec. 1, 2010, plaintiff Anthony Kenney, a self-employed car detailer in his late 30s, was driving on Federal Street in the North Side of Pittsburgh, when he turned onto Lafayette Avenue and was pulled over by an unmarked police car.

Pa. Law Weekly - People in the News, Aug. 26, 2014 - PUC Approves Appointment

Stevens & Lee shareholder Linda R. Evers' appointment to serve on the board of directors of the Sustainable Energy Fund was approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

James R. Nixon Jr.

Are We on the Path to Custody Rights for Step-Parents?

By James R. Nixon Jr. |

Consider the following hypothetical scenario: Tom and Ann get married in their early twenties and have a child, Ben. Unfortunately, shortly after Ben is born, Tom and Ann get divorced and they agree to have a week on/week off shared physical custody schedule of Ben. Tom remarries Diane, who serves as an involved step-parent to Ben on the weeks when Ben is living in their household.

Blaine A. Lucas

Government Interest in Railroad Rights-of-Way

By Blaine A. Lucas and Alyssa E. Golfieri |

On March 10, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a decision in Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States, 134 S. Ct. 1257 (2013), addressing whether the federal government retains any interest in railroad rights-of-way that were created by the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875, 43 U.S.C. § 934 et seq.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Health Department Updates Fracking Complaint Process

By John L. Kennedy |

The state Department of Health announced that it has updated its handling of complaints related to fracking in the Marcellus Shale region.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

PUC Appeals Decision Stripping Its Review Authority

By John L. Kennedy |

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission appealed a Commonwealth Court ruling that stripped it of its authority to review local government ordinances under the oil and gas law, Act 13 of 2012.

People in the News - Aug. 26, 2014 - Rubinich Joins Rawle & Henderson

Zachary M. Rubinich joined Rawle & Henderson as a partner in the firm's Philadelphia office.

Desert traverse

Auto Accident in Kuwait Leads to Jurisdictional Dispute

By Max Mitchell |

When Virginia resident Morgan Lee Hanks' Mitsubishi Pajero collided with the Dodge Durango driven by Pennsylvania native Brian Mark Patton, who died in the accident, the ensuing motor vehicle litigation was anything but ordinary.


Linking Business Development to Partner Compensation

By Timothy B. Corcoran |

In recent years, as client fee pressure has increased and client loyalty has decreased, law firms are investing significant time and money in business development programs. Some partners receive training to dust off selling skills that were largely unnecessary during a time of plenty. Other partners receive training, then individualized coaching, then more training, then more coaching, in an often-futile attempt to turn everyone into a capable rainmaker. Mathematically, if every equity and income partner generates just a little bit more, this is far more impactful than demanding even more production from our handful of true rainmakers. Trouble is, this rarely works out as planned. There are logistical, financial and psychological barriers to this plan of turning every partner into a rainmaker, and it's time law firm leaders recognized its ineffectiveness, and instead adopt a more productive approach. It's time to touch the third rail of law firm management: partner compensation.

Do You Have a Right to Be Forgotten on the Internet?

By Jeffrey N. Rosenthal |

Have you ever been surprised by what you find when searching for yourself online? For some, unflattering photos, outdated personal information, embarrassing posts and inaccurate new stories may be just a click away.

Michael R. Kelley

Coverage for Losses Caused by Food Contamination

By Michael R. Kelley |

Accidental food contamination causes significant numbers of illnesses and deaths each year.

Gordon Woodward

The Evolving Definition of Occurrence

By Gordon S. Woodward |

In the immortal words of Bob Dylan, the times they are a-changing. In the often placid world of insurance coverage, this change has been most evident with regard to the definition of the term "occurrence." The meaning of this term is at the heart of coverage in standard commercial general liability (CGL) policies, and how the definition of occurrence is construed by the courts often determines whether coverage exists. This article will briefly review the traditional view of occurrence as it relates to coverage for faulty products or defective work, an emerging national trend, and recent developments in Pennsylvania.

George Stewart and Mike Sampson

Interpretation of Employer's Liability Exclusions

By George Stewart and Mike Sampson |

Business owners frequently invite contractors onto their premises to perform specified work. Often, the contract pertaining to such work requires that the business owner be named as an additional insured under the contractor's commercial general liability, or CGL, policy, thereby affording the owner additional protection should an incident involving the contractor's work result in a claim against the owner.

Implied Warranty Doesn't Extend to Subsequent Home Buyers

By Max Mitchell |

Subsequent home buyers may not sue for breach of an implied warranty of habitability, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

Steven Davis

Pa. Insurance Department's Role in Global Regulation

By Steven Davis |

Pennsylvania is the fifth-largest insurance market in the United States and the 14th-largest in the world, outranking countries such as Australia, Spain and India, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The Pennsylvania Insurance Department is charged with regulating this vast marketplace in accordance with the state's insurance laws, which focus the department's duties on Pennsylvania's insurance issues.

National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.

Federal Judge Expresses Concern Over NLRB Stance

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Calling out the National Labor Relations Board as moving toward "serving as the litigation arm of the union" rather than enforcing federal labor law, a federal judge granted the NLRB's broad subpoenas of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, but stayed their implementation so that UPMC can seek appellate review.

McCaffery Responds to Papers' Subpoena Request

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

In response to The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News' bid to subpoena law firms for information on referral fees paid to his wife, state Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery in a court filing called the papers' bid "improper."

Medical Supply Provider Appeals Class Decertification Decision

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A medical equipment provider is fighting a Philadelphia judge's decision to revoke class status given to medical providers suing insurance companies for failure to pay interest on late reimbursements.

Local Lawyers Take a Break From Practice to Join JAG Corps

By Ben Seal |

Practicing at a private law firm can be plenty stressful, and the demands placed on lawyers are often exhausting, but two Philadelphia attorneys are going through intense training in order to use their legal skills in an entirely new situation.

The Public Interest Calendar of Events

On Sept. 16, Philadelphia VIP is scheduled to hold a fundraiser, A Taste for Justice, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th St., Philadelphia. The event will feature a wine and cheese pairing by Blue Mountain Vineyards and Valley Shepherd Creamery, a silent auction, and critically acclaimed Chef Michael O'Halloran. There is no cost to attend, but donations are appreciated. Register online at

Josh J.T. Byrne

Roundup of Bar Associations' Ethics Advisory Opinions

By Josh J.T. Byrne |

Few lawyers who have not specifically looked into the subject have any idea how prolific the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania bar associations are at generating advisory ethics opinions. So far in 2014, the Philadelphia Bar Association issued six advisory opinions and the Pennsylvania Bar Association issued two formal opinions and at least 15 advisory opinions. While we do not have space to explore all of these opinions, we will review some of the highlights below. Attorneys should be aware of these opinions, which serve as "FAQs" regarding our profession.

PFA Act Allows Entry Of Orders Against Foreign Nationals

By Deborah L. Culhane |

Recent trends indicate that Pennsylvania is the beneficiary of increasing international migration. With increased migration comes more complex family law issues. These issues are compounded in cases of cross-border family violence. Consider, for example, a case of domestic violence where the parties are on opposite sides of an international border, or opposite sides of the globe. Such cases may involve considering an array of jurisdictional issues and unique remedies. However, one should not overlook an obvious source of remedies: Pennsylvania's Protection From Abuse Act (PFA Act).

People in the News - Aug. 25, 2014 - Ogletree Deakins to Host Employment Seminar

The Pittsburgh and Philadelphia offices of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart are set to host a complimentary half-day seminar to address the latest labor and employment law topics impacting all employers.

Bald Eagle drying out his feathers in Kodiak, Alaska.

Hobby Lobby Cited by Court in Fight Over Eagle Feathers

By Tony Mauro |

A federal appeals court Aug. 20 invoked the U.S. Supreme Court's June Hobby Lobby decision in a long-running legal battle over the possession of bald eagle feathers by members of an Indian tribe that is not federally recognized.

Lawyers Playing Key Roles Amid Unrest in Ferguson

By Zoe Tillman |

Equipped with a camera and basic training on how to use a gas mask, New York attorney King Downing walked the streets of Ferguson, Mo., on the night of Aug. 19. Downing was on the ground as a legal observer, documenting the interaction between police and protesters.

Closeup of American flag

Securing Policy Change to Restore Veterans' Benefits

By Michael Taub |

In 2011, I began to notice a disturbing trend with many of my Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) clients, who are predominantly homeless veterans. I meet most of my clients at homeless shelters and a drop-in center for veterans, and on any given visit to one of these facilities at that time, roughly a quarter were reporting to me that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had suddenly terminated their VA benefits--benefits that made up their entire monthly income, sometimes as high as $2,858 each month.

Pittsburgh-Area Diocese Wins Obamacare Injunction

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The nonprofit organizations related to a suburban Pittsburgh diocese don't have to comply with Obamacare's contraceptive mandate since a federal judge has granted them a permanent injunction.

Handcuff Photo Struck From Orie Melvin's Sentence

By Max Mitchell |

Former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin will not need to send apologies written on photographs of herself in handcuffs to members of the state judiciary, the state Superior Court has ruled.


High Court Widens Trial Judges' Prerogative to Transfer Venue

By Max Mitchell |

The state Superior Court has not been giving trial court judges the proper discretion to grant venue transfers when witnesses hail from distant counties, the state Supreme Court said in a decision examining a 17-year-old standard regarding forum non conveniens.

Former Vice President Al Gore

Gore Files Suit Against Al-Jazeera in Delaware Court of Chancery

By Jeff Mordock |

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore has filed a lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Chancery alleging Al-Jazeera America Holdings Inc. is withholding $65 million owed to Current Media's shareholders after the Qatar-based news agency last year paid roughly $500 million for the cable network.

Damages in Consumer Class Actions in Which No Harm Occurred

By Thomas J. Cunningham and Jay G. Safer |

Many consumer protection statutes contain a provision for the award of statutory damages and for the recovery of attorney fees by a successful plaintiff. Statutory damages are intended to serve as a proxy in situations where the actual damages suffered by a consumer might be difficult to quantify or value. For example, in the typical Telephone Consumer Protection Act case, the harm caused to the plaintiff may be the annoyance of receiving unwanted calls, texts or faxes. Reducing that harm to a dollar value is subjective—some people are more bothered than others.