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Disney Wins Round in Spider-Man Suit

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

On the eve of Halloween, a federal judge in Reading, Pa., reasserted that Stan Lee Media Inc. doesn't own Spider-Man.

merger

Reed Smith Financial Services Paralegals Move to Firm Client

By Gina Passarella |

Reed Smith has parted ways with 12 paralegals in its financial industry group in Pittsburgh in the last two weeks, with the firm acknowledging a group of paralegals went in-house to client Federated Investors.

gavel

Justices Uphold Ex-Judge Nocella's Removal From Bench

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The state Supreme Court has affirmed former Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Thomas Nocella's removal from the bench.

Gay Lawyer Seeks Trial in Suit Over Scuttled Lateral Move

By Max Mitchell |

Jeffrey Downs, the gay attorney who sued personal injury firms Anapol Schwartz and Raynes McCarty for allegedly scuttling his lateral move because of discrimination complaints he made, is arguing that his case is too contentious for the court to grant any of the defendants' summary judgment motions.

© Valeriy-Fotolia

Pa. Justices Deny Appeal in Juror Bias Med-Mal Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The state Supreme Court has declined to hear argument over whether a prospective juror in a medical malpractice case may be removed for cause because his or her spouse is a patient of the defendant doctor.

Jeffrey Campolongo

Mixed Results on Collateral Estoppel in the Eastern District

By Jeffrey Campolongo |

There may be a controversy brewing in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The issue stems from a recent decision regarding the preclusive effect of administrative proceedings from the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (UCBR) in a subsequent federal court discrimination lawsuit alleging similar facts. The results are two starkly different interpretations of a longstanding Pennsylvania Supreme Court precedent by members of the same court.

People in the News - Oct. 31, 2014 - Pietragallo Gordon Elects Brecht to Partner

Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti elected Pamela Coyle Brecht to partner.

An X-ray of a hip replacement

Curtain Rising for Bellwether Trials Over Hip Implants

By Amanda Bronstad |

The first bellwether trials over alleged defects in Zimmer Holdings Inc.'s recalled Durom Cup hip implant are moving ahead, with the first one set for Monday.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown

Judges Find Prearraignment Interviews to Be Invalid

By Joel Stashenko |

A prearraignment interview procedure routinely used by the Queens District Attorney's Office has been ruled invalid by the New York Court of Appeals, which found it renders subsequent Miranda warnings "inadequate and ineffective."

Credit Card Information Security Issues in Franchising

By Craig R. Tractenberg and Keri McWilliams |

Data breaches at Target, Home Depot, Neiman Marcus and P.F. Chang's are front-page reminders of the vulnerability of customer payment information in the retail sector. Verizon estimated that "74 percent of attacks on retail, accommodation, and food services companies target payment card information." In Federal Trade Commission v. Wyndham Worldwide, Case No. 13-cv-01887 (D. N.J. 2014), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) brought suit claiming that a franchisor's alleged failures to maintain reasonable security measures constituted unfair and deceptive practices under Section 5 of the FTC Act.

Avoiding Heightened Causation Standard for Retaliation Claims

By Traci M. Greenberg and William Rieser |

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, clarified the standard of causation a plaintiff must satisfy in order to prevail on a claim of retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1991, as amended.

 Philadelphia

Comcast Settles Subscribers' Antitrust Class Action for $50M

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The suit alleging that Comcast monopolized the Philadelphia-area cable market—which had gone to the U.S. Supreme Court where it became part of the high court's shift toward stricter standards for class certification—is settling for $50 million in cash and services, according to court papers filed this week.

pa map

Baylson, Wife Argue Dragonetti Case Should Stay in Phila.

By Gina Passarella |

A lawyer for U.S. District Senior Judge Michael Baylson of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and his wife, Dr. Frances Batzer Baylson, said a Philadelphia trial judge was wrong to find the couple's Dragonetti action could only be filed in the county in which the underlying litigation arose.

Federal Preemption Debated in Topamax Cases

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Lawyers in two multimillion-dollar Topamax birth-defect cases argued before the state Superior Court in Philadelphia on Wednesday over whether claims that the anti-seizure drug was inadequately labeled were preempted by federal law.

Superior Court Orders Retrial Over Consent to 'Experimental' Surgery

By Max Mitchell |

The state Superior Court will allow lack of informed consent claims to go forward against an employer's independent medical examination doctor who performed an "experimental" procedure to treat the plaintiff's work-related accident.

Paving a Road to Success With Early Assignments

By Dimple C. Patel |

So, you recently graduated law school and secured gainful employment. Well done. Now it's time to prove yourself by delivering quality work on your assignments. For even the most confident young attorneys, a new assignment can give rise to anxiety, stress and fear. If this sounds familiar to you, take a breath and break it down.

People in the News - Oct. 30, 2014 - Schwab Elected Pietragallo Gordon Partner

John A. Schwab was elected a partner with Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti.

Email Triggered CVS Class' Removal to Federal Court

By Sheri Qualters |

A federal appeals court is allowing drugstore chain CVS to move a purported wage-and-hour class action to federal court from state court under a new interpretation of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005's removal rules.

<b>MIDNIGHT JUSTICE:</b> The U.S. Supreme Court on April 21, 1992, issued many orders throughout the night in the appeal of inmate Robert Alton Harris. Activists in 1990 protest the planned execution.

Predawn Order Rare, but Nothing New for High Court

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court's recent 5 a.m. order in a Texas voting rights case was rare, but not unprecedented.

Textualism, the Supreme Court and Truant Kindergartners

By Kevin A. Golembiewski and David J. Berney |

When it comes to kindergarten students, Pennsylvania's compulsory attendance laws are far from a model of clarity. Ambiguities and contradictions in the laws and their implementing regulations have created significant confusion as to whether kindergarten students can be found truant.

Multimillion-Dollar Topamax Cases Headed to Argument

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Two Topamax birth-defect cases that have produced multimillion-dollar awards in favor of mothers who took the drug while pregnant are set to be argued today before the state Superior Court in Philadelphia.

gevel in a courtroom

Former Justice Orie Melvin Discontinues Appeal

By Max Mitchell |

Former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin has discontinued the appeal of her sentence, which included the unusual stipulation that she send out written apologies to people she had allegedly wronged.

gavel

Ex-Fox 29 Anchor's Case Over Racial Slur Survives, Again

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

One co-anchor's role in getting the other fired over a racial slur ties their employer, Fox 29, closely enough to the resulting lawsuit that the case has withstood summary judgment twice.

Protest for the legalization of medical marijuana

Eckert Seamans Eyes Passage of Bill Over Medical Marijuana Usage in Pa.

By Gina Passarella |

Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott appears to be banking on Pennsylvania approving the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court pose for photographs Sept. 13, 2011, at Philadelphia's historic Old City Hall. Pictured, top row, from left, are Justices Seamus P. McCaffery, Max Baer, Debra McCloskey Todd and Joan Orie Melvin. Bottom row, from left, are Justice Thomas G. Saylor, Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille and Justice J. Michael Eakin.

McCaffery's Departure Not the End of Pa. Judiciary's Woes

By Hank Grezlak |

The resignation of Justice Seamus McCaffery, while a source of relief for many in the Pennsylvania legal community, doesn't mean our judicial troubles are over. Not by a long shot. If anything, the McCaffery mess exposed a lot of problems with our courts and our suspect judicial-conduct system.

What Happens to Your Digital Estate After You Die?

By Jeffrey N. Rosenthal |

Ever wonder what happens to your social media accounts, email, online texts and other digital content when you die? Do they simply expire, leaving nothing behind but digital dust? Or can you authorize someone to take them over after you pass on? And if so, what powers would such a person possess?

People in the News - Oct. 29, 2014 - Pond Lehocky Opens South Phila. Office

Marc D. Jonas of Eastburn and Gray was appointed solicitor of the Montgomery County Development Corp. (MCDC).

Sonia Sotomayor.

Three Justices Swap Stories at Yale Law School

By Tony Mauro |

In an amiable conversation at Yale Law School on Oct. 25, three U.S. Supreme Court justices revealed their strengths, weaknesses, pastimes and even coffee preferences.

<b>PROP 46:</b> Campaign ads targeting trial lawyers appear to have shifted the momentum against raising California’s limit on damages.

Ballot Initiatives Affecting Courts to Be Weighed

By Amanda Bronstad |

Voters will decide at least 10 ballot initiatives affecting the courts Nov. 4—ranging from raising a limit on medical malpractice damages to creating an intermediate appellate court.

Agents and Employees May Be Liable for Customs Violations

By Thomas J. O'Donnell and Karolien M. Vandenberghe |

A recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has caused a great deal of concern in the importing community because of its broad interpretation of Section 592 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, which is the most commonly used customs penalty statute (19 U.S.C. Section 1592). In United States v. Trek Leather, No. 09-CV-0041 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 16, 2014), the Federal Circuit held that Section 592 allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection to impose civil penalties on corporate employees, officers and agents when these individuals make material misrepresentations or omissions in import transactions. Customs penalties under Section 592 are tied to the level of culpable conduct as determined by Customs. In cases of fraud, the maximum penalty is the domestic value of the goods. For gross negligence, the maximum penalty is four times the loss of revenue and simple negligence carries a maximum penalty of two times the loss of revenue.

Justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court pose for photographs Sept. 13, 2011, at Philadelphia's historic Old City Hall. Pictured, top row, from left, are Justices Seamus P. McCaffery, Max Baer, Debra McCloskey Todd and Joan Orie Melvin. Bottom row, from left, are Justice Thomas G. Saylor, Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille and Justice J. Michael Eakin.

Suspended Justice McCaffery Steps Down From Supreme Court

By Gina Passarella, Max Mitchell and P.J. D'Annunzio |

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery has retired from the court a week after he was suspended by a majority of his fellow justices, according to a court order.

Report: Pa. Federal Judges Carrying Average Caseload

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Pennsylvania's three federal trial courts fall roughly in the middle of a ranking of the country's nearly 100 district courts for workload per judge.

Superior Ct. Upholds $19.1M Award in Auto Accident Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A $19.1 million verdict awarded to a man whose right leg was amputated above the knee as the result of two successive car accidents has been affirmed by the state Superior Court.

Overall Pennsylvania Bar-Passage Rate for July Test Dipped

By Max Mitchell |

Although some schools saw passage rates for the Pennsylvania bar exam drop by around 10 percentage points, the overall passage rate for the Pennsylvania bar exam's July test saw only a slight drop over last year.

construction

Subcontractor Could Be on Hook for Construction Death

By Lizzy McLellan |

After waiving its immunity under the Workers' Compensation Act, a masonry subcontractor may have to reimburse the general contractor for a $3.1 million settlement owed after the death of the subcontractor's own employee at the construction site, now that the state Superior Court has decided that parts of an indemnification contract are valid as clear agreements.

David Unkovic and Donna Kreiser

Anatomy of a Bond Issue: The Participants and the Steps

By Donna L. Kreiser and David Unkovic |

In recent years, the securities and tax regulations governing municipal bonds have grown increasingly complex. More so than ever before, it is important for the issuer to understand what it is getting into and what its responsibilities are when it undertakes a bond issue.

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of Oct. 20

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Oct. 20. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Nov. 12.

For Wrongful-Birth Cases, Appeals May Be Just Beginning

By Lizzy McLellan |

When the state Supreme Court hears arguments in Sernovitz v. Dershaw, it will primarily address a procedural issue, but the court's decision will shape the fate of wrongful-birth and wrongful-life lawsuits in Pennsylvania.

Daniel J. Siegel

PBA Ethics Committee Issues Social Media Guidance

By Daniel J. Siegel |

A man received an $80,000 confidential settlement for his age-discrimination claim against his former employer. However, he forfeited that settlement after his daughter posted on her Facebook page that "Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT."

Modern Workplaces Add Complexity to Workers' Comp Cases

By Lizzy McLellan |

A day at work isn't always just a day at the office. Attorneys in workers' compensation practice know that all too well. And as technological advances allow more workers to telecommute and correspond on work matters from outside of the office, the conditions surrounding compensable incidents are increasingly complicated.

Unemployment Board to Eye Job Search Registration Excuses

By Max Mitchell |

The Commonwealth Court has left it up to the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review to determine what circumstances can excuse claimants from the requirement to register for an employment search service offered by the state.

verdicts and settlements

Employer Did Not Discriminate in Firing Ex-Military Employee

By Lizzy McLellan |

A federal judge has decided that Gemalto Inc. does not have to pay more than $600,000 to a former employee who asserted claims that he was terminated because of his military service under the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act and the Pennsylvania Military Leave of Absence Act.

verdicts and settlements

State Settles MCARE Row Over Hundreds Of Millions in Funds

By Gina Passarella |

The state has settled five years of litigation with several health-care provider groups over a $100 million transfer of funds from MCARE to the general fund as well as the state's calculation of the annual assessments it charges doctors.

ACLU May Challenge Speech Restrictions on Criminal Offenders

By John L. Kennedy |

Andy Hoover, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, said the group is looking into a possible challenge to SB 508, signed last week by Gov. Tom Corbett, which allows crime victims or prosecutors to prevent certain conduct, including speech, by offenders.

Corbett Eyes Bill to Allow Municipal Gun Ordinance Challenges

By John L. Kennedy |

Legislation that would allow any group or individual to challenge a local government gun ordinance stricter than state law, and recoup attorney fees, is before Gov. Tom Corbett.

Scott Bailey

Ga. Justices to Hear Case on Judge's Handling of Jury Note

By Alyson M. Palmer |

The Georgia Supreme Court has agreed to review a Court of Appeals decision that tossed a defense verdict in a medical malpractice case because the trial judge didn’t tell the lawyers he had received and responded to a note from jurors suggesting they were deadlocked.

'Sprinkles' Cupcake Company Settles Trademark Lawsuit

By Zoe Tillman |

National cupcake chain Sprinkles has reached a confidential settlement with a Maryland ice cream shop and bakery that filed trademark infringement claims.

People in the News - Oct. 28, 2014 - Stevens to Receive Justinian Society Award

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Correale F. Stevens is set to receive the Outstanding Citizen Award of the Justinian Society of Philadelphia at 11:30 a.m. today at the Union League.

Benefits Attorneys Can Receive From Writing Legal Blogs

By Gina F. Rubel |

Blogs have taken the Internet by storm. Almost everyone has something they want to say, information they want to share. Why do you think social media has infiltrated our daily routines and habits? Legal administrators, legal marketers and law firm marketing agencies, however, continue to battle the same question from lawyers who ask, "Why should I blog?" This question usually is followed quickly by, "I don't have time to blog."

Effective Investment Planning Techniques With IRAs

By Robert H. Louis |

Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) were added to the mix of retirement planning vehicles by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. The idea implicit in this retirement-saving and tax-saving opportunity was that it permitted individuals to save for retirement without the necessity of their employer adopting a plan. The initial limit of a $2,000 annual deductible contribution has risen over time to $5,500. Those who have attained age 50 may make an additional "catchup" contribution of $1,000 per year, a provision added to encourage even more saving. To make IRA contributions, the individual must have at least that amount of compensation income for the year. An exception to that rule, the spousal IRA, permits a contribution to an IRA for a spouse even though the spouse has no separate income (as usual, if certain conditions are met).

Pa. Law Weekly - People in the News - Oct. 28, 2014 - Erich J. Schock Named President of Board of Directors of The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties

Erich J. Schock of Fitzpatrick Lentz & Bubba was named president of the board of directors of The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties in Bethlehem, Pa.

Sam Stretton

Disqualification Rules for District Judges Have Changed

By Samuel C. Stretton |

Have the new district judge standards of conduct changed the disqualification requirements for district judges?

Robert J. Burnett and Nathan A. Kostelnik

PUC Decision Suggests Pipeline Operator Has Public Utility Status

By Robert J. Burnett and Nathan A. Kostelnik |

Landowners should be wary of the Oct. 24 decision by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission strengthening Sunoco Pipeline LP's claim as a public utility and possibly paving the way for other pipeline operators to perhaps invoke similar status.

Time Clock

Modern Workplaces Add Complexity to Workers' Comp Cases

By Lizzy McLellan |

A day at work isn't always just a day at the office. Attorneys in workers' compensation practice know that all too well. And as technological advances allow more workers to telecommute and correspond on work matters from outside of the office, the conditions surrounding compensable incidents are increasingly complicated.

Superior Court Kicks Auto Case to Centre County

By Max Mitchell |

The state Superior Court is using the recent ruling in Bratic v. Rubendall to allow defendants to transfer a motor vehicle case from Philadelphia to the Centre County Court of Common Pleas.

Littler Mendelson Hit With Fees By Federal Court in Case It Won

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Littler Mendelson has been ordered to pay sanctions in a case that it won on summary judgment in federal court in Philadelphia.

penn state

$60M NCAA, PSU Consent Decree Dispute Continues

By Max Mitchell |

Although seemingly resolved a month ago, another dispute has arisen between the NCAA and state officials over the $60 million consent decree the athletic body levied against Penn State University. This time the NCAA wants the state Supreme Court to get involved.

Third Circuit Asked to Nix Foreign Worker Rule

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Wages for U.S. workers are being kept down by the federal Department of Labor's method for setting the bar that allows employers to bring in foreign workers, a lawyer for a farmworker-rights organization argued to the Third Circuit late last week.

Pa. Superior Court Upholds Dismissal of Asbestos Exposure Claims

By Max Mitchell |

The testimony of two co-workers was not enough evidence to allow asbestos exposure claims against six manufacturers to proceed to a jury trial, the state Superior Court has ruled.

July 2014 Bar Exam Results Announced

The Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners has announced the results of the bar examination given on July 29 and 30. Of the 1,981 applicants who took the exam, 1,496 passed; the overall pass rate was 76 percent. The names of the successful applicants follow.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

High Court Fixes Mistake in Ginsburg Voter ID Dissent

By Tony Mauro |

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent in a Texas voter ID case contained an error that has now been deleted, the U.S. Supreme Court said Oct. 22.

People in the News - Oct. 27, 2014 - 'Hot Trends in Estate Litigation' Seminar

The Philadelphia chapter of the Women's White Collar Defense Association and Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads are set to present "Winning the Public Opinion Battle: When the Fourth Estate Is the 13th Juror," a discussion about controlling the narrative and managing the media to reach your desired outcome.

merger

The Significance of Engagement Letters: Till Death Do Us Part?

By Josh J.T. Byrne |

To understand the significance of the engagement letter, it may be best for attorneys to take the word "engagement" out of the professional context and think about how the word is used in the individual context. To become engaged is one of the most significant acts we undertake as individuals. So, too, in the professional context, becoming engaged is one of the most significant acts a professional can undertake. When you enter into an engagement, you are binding yourself to another person.

Bobby Davis, left, and attorneys Gloria Allred, center, and Mariann Meier Wang talk to reporters after a defamation suit case against Syracuse University and basketball coach James Boeheim was argued at the Court of Appeals in September.

Defamation Suit Revived Against Syracuse Basketball Coach

By Joel Stashenko |

The New York Court of Appeals reinstated a defamation suit Oct. 21 against Syracuse University and basketball coach Jim Boeheim for criticisms he leveled at two former Syracuse ball boys who accused his friend and top assistant, Bernie Fine, of molesting them.

Best Of 2014

Best Of 2014

Welcome to the results of The Legal Intelligencer's fifth annual "Best Of" poll, where our readers have cast their votes for the best providers of products and services to the legal community.

CBAP Helps Phila. Residents Avert Utility Shutoffs

By Henry J. Sommer and Mary Anne Lucey |

The onset of autumn has brought on the usual wave of gas, water and electric service terminations initiated by providers rushing to beat the winter moratoriums imposed by utility regulators. Poor families often have fallen behind in their payments because their inadequate incomes, barely sufficient to meet daily necessities, cannot absorb unanticipated catastrophic life events such as loss of employment, loss of child support, or family funeral expenses. The Consumer Bankruptcy Assistance Project (CBAP), a Philadelphia pro bono program sponsored by the bankruptcy bar of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, provides essential representation allowing these families to maintain their utilities, and thereby, their homes.

Directly above photograph of an application for a visa.

Aiding Unaccompanied Immigrant Children in Pa.

By Judith Bernstein-Baker |

This past summer, the media was filled with images of children, largely from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, crossing the border without their parents and turning themselves in to immigration authorities. They are youths like HIAS Pennsylvania's client, Maria, 16 years old, who was abused by her stepfather, and whose mother told smugglers to "have their way with her" in lieu of payment. She was held hostage for five days but, eventually, with the help of an adult, reached the U.S. border. Maria is a victim of human trafficking.

The Public Interest Calendar of Events

On Thursday, Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law is set to present the symposium, "Women's Rights and the Supreme Court: After Hobby Lobby and McCullen," from 2:15 to 5:30 p.m. in Room 140 in the Kline School of Law, 3320 Market St., Philadelphia. Slate Senior Editor Dahlia Lithwick will deliver the keynote address. For more information or to register online, visit http://goo.gl/aVnrh2.

Reed Smith Forms Ebola Task Force

By Gina Passarella |

As the world now eyes the newest case of Ebola in the United States with a New York doctor contracting the illness, Reed Smith has been advising a range of clients on a host of legal questions stemming from Ebola.

Text Messages and the Best-Evidence Rule

By Jeffrey S. Saltz |

It is hardly news that electronic communications—emails, text messages, instant messages and the like—have overtaken traditional writings as the prevalent means of conveying information. But while these messages move at the speed of light, courts have been somewhat slower in adapting the rules of evidence governing old-fashioned documents to these newer forms of communication. One issue that has given many courts pause is the applicability to text messages of the so-called best-evidence rule.

Ex-Traffic Court Judge Charged in Revived Bribery Probe

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Retired Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Thomasine Tynes turned herself in Thursday on corruption charges stemming from a bribery investigation that Attorney General Kathleen Kane had previously said was dead.

Third Circuit Eyes Dodd-Frank's Whistleblower Protection

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Whether Dodd-Frank's ban on agreements to arbitrate whistleblower actions can be applied retroactively was before the Third Circuit on Thursday.

gevel in a courtroom

Third Circuit Denies Removal of Jim Thorpe's Remains

By Gina Passarella |

The remains of Olympic athlete and football legend Jim Thorpe should stay in the Pennsylvania town that bears his name, the Third Circuit has ruled, holding it would be an "absurd result" to uphold a district court judge's determination to move them to an Indian reservation in Oklahoma.

Court Rules Energy Company on Hook for Bad-Faith Trespass Claim

By Max Mitchell |

A partial title search was not enough for an energy company to meet its due diligence burden to overcome a bad-faith trespass claim, the state Superior Court has ruled.

Using Federal Rules of Evidence to Authenticate Website Content

By Adriel J. Garcia |

When it comes to proffering into evidence material taken from websites, the authentication requirement is often the least understood and most overlooked hurdle to admissibility. Ultimately, electronic evidence is subject to the same rules of evidence as paper documents, but although a party seeking to admit an exhibit "need only make a prima facie showing that [the exhibit] is what he or she claims it to be," practitioners often fail to meet "even this minimal showing" when attempting to introduce electronically stored information (ESI), as in Lorraine v. Markel American Insurance, 241 F.R.D. 534, 542 (D. Md. 2007).

People in the News - Oct. 24, 2014 - Hancock Joins Willig Williams

Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads partner Timothy J. Bergere, chair of the firm's environmental and energy transaction practice, was selected as the chair of the environmental committee of the United States Law Firm Group.

Demonstration outside the U.S. Supreme Court to bring attention to reconsideration of the Citizens United v. FEC decision.  February 23, 2012.

Campaign Spending Skews Justice for Defendants: Study

By Marcia Coyle |

Skyrocketing spending on television advertising in state supreme court elections has rendered justices less likely to vote in favor of criminal defendants, a new study found.

<b>COOPERATE:</b> Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in July publicly credited GE Capital Retail Bank, now known as Synchrony Bank, for self-reporting violations.

CFPB Sets High Expectations for Cooperation

By Jenna Greene |

Forget to be or not to be. For lawyers defending companies under scrutiny by federal agencies, the real question is whether to self-report wrongdoing.

social media keys

Social Media and IP: The Good, the Bad and Avoiding the Ugly

By Peter D. Vogl and Diana M. Szego |

The advent of social media changed the world as we knew it. The number of social media sites and engaged users continues to grow exponentially. Hundreds of social media sites now exist that cover a wide variety of uses, from general social media (Facebook), to microblogs (Twitter), to photo or video sharing (Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube), to special interest (TripAdvisor, LinkedIn) and social news sites (Reddit). And, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project, approximately 74 percent of adult Internet users use social media sites. Facebook alone has over 1 billion registered users.

Statement Issued by U.S. Attorney On Justice McCaffery 'Unusual'

By Gina Passarella |

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is not often in the business of confirming or denying the existence of, let alone commenting on, pending or closed investigations. But the office issued a public statement Tuesday to say no criminal charges would be filed against suspended state Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery or his wife, Lise Rapaport, in relation to an investigation into Rapaport's acceptance of referral fees.

Student Nurse's Civil Rights Lawsuit Gets Green Light

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A private hospital and a public university could face millions of dollars in damages since a nursing student won summary judgment on her civil rights claim after she was tossed out of her graduate program for refusing to take a drug test.

$210K Award to Kline & Specter Over Referral Fees Reversed

By Max Mitchell |

The state Superior Court has reversed a $210,000 award a Philadelphia trial judge ordered attorney Donald E. Haviland Jr. to pay his former firm, Kline & Specter, over failure to pay referral fees from cases he took with him when he left the firm in 2006.

documents

Montco DA Implements Changes to Office Following Kerns Case Debacle

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Prompted by a misread lab report that led to the end of the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office's prosecution of a rape case against a county Republican Party leader, the district attorney has announced the addition of new checks and balances to her office.

Third Circuit Wrestles With Attorney Fees Under ERISA

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

After broaching the issue in a nonprecedential opinion released last summer, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit suggested during arguments Tuesday morning that it might soon answer definitively whether the catalyst theory for recovering attorney fees applies in ERISA cases.

Football

What Do the NFL's Issues Say About Employer Discretion?

By The YL Editorial Board |

On Feb. 15, the National Football League found itself in a familiar position. Not only was it the lead story on every sports and news station, it was due to another NFL player in trouble with the law. This time it was the Baltimore Ravens' Ray Rice, who was arrested for assaulting his now-wife, Janay Rice. A few days later, a video was released showing Ray Rice dragging Janay Rice's unconscious body off of an elevator. With no video of what happened inside the elevator, the country was left to speculate, and the NFL was left with a huge problem. How would Commissioner Roger Goodell discipline Ray Rice with the country watching closely?

People in the News - Oct. 23, 2014 - Widener Law to Honor Judge Brobson

Steven J. Engelmyer, a partner in Kleinbard Bell & Brecker, was appointed to serve on the board of directors of the Arden Theatre Co.

<b>PASSIONS FLARE:</b> Among the disputes before courts are voting restrictions in various states.

Justices Fielding Emergency Requests for Intervention

By Marcia Coyle |

Whether it's a coincidence or a product of an overheated political environment, the U.S. Supreme Court has been a magnet for a remarkable string of highly charged emergency requests during the past two weeks.

U.S. Virgin Islands.

Buchanan Ingersoll Hit With Lawsuit by U.S. Virgin Islands

By Jenna Greene |

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney on Monday was hit with a multimillion-dollar malpractice suit by the U.S. Virgin Islands, which alleged the law firm gave wrong advice about whether a bond issue would be tax-exempt.

New Nonprofit Supports Children in Adult Criminal-Justice System

By Lauren Fine and Joanna Visser Adjoian |

In Pennsylvania, children can be charged as adults as young as age 10, and Pennsylvania imprisons more children for the rest of their lives without the possibility of parole than any other state in the country, which imprisons more children than any other country in the world. A new Philadelphia-based organization—the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project (YSRP)—was created to support these children prosecuted in the adult criminal system and the lawyers who represent them by providing technical assistance for defense attorneys at sentencing and by supporting youth and their loved ones through the time the young people are released from prison.

Calculating Your Tax on Capital Gains and Losses

By Michael J. Kline |

As we approach the final months of 2014, individuals begin to evaluate income earned for the year and deductions incurred. This is being done with the goal of minimizing their tax liability. Many individuals will concentrate on the amount of income they earned through their investments, which inevitably leads to a review of their capital gains and losses.

State’s JCB Under the Gun in Investigation of McCaffery

By P.J. D'Annunzio 
and max mitchell |

While the Pennsylvania Supreme Court expects the state's Judicial Conduct Board to investigate and determine whether to charge Justice Seamus P. McCaffery within 30 days, lawyers said meeting the deadline might be an unrealistic goal for the modestly-staffed disciplinary body.

gavel

McCaffery, Rapaport Drop Defamation Suit

By Gina Passarella |

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery and his wife and chief judicial assistant, Lise Rapaport, have dropped their defamation lawsuit against The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News over articles about referral fees Rapaport was paid, the parties confirmed.

Third Circuit Considers Arbitrator Fitness Rules

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Where the burden falls for investigating the fitness of arbitrators could determine the outcome of a multimillion-dollar suit against investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Courts Split on Class Arbitrability in Energy Cases

By Gina Passarella |

In the wake of a Third Circuit ruling as to whether the court or the arbitrator determines if a case is suitable for class arbitration, two district judges in the Middle District of Pennsylvania split on how to apply the ruling to separate putative class cases involving the same energy company.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane

Pennsylvania AG Needs to Live Up to Oath of Office

By The Editorial Board |

To Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane: We strongly recommend that you act like the attorney general. Please stop this silly game you have been playing with the emails between state employees and members of the judiciary. You are the chief law enforcement officer of Pennsylvania and, by means of the common-law doctrine of parens patriae, you are guardian of the vital interests of the citizens of the commonwealth.

Hayes Hunt and Arthur P. Fritzinger

Reporting and Investigating Potential Employee Wrongdoing

By Hayes Hunt and Arthur P. Fritzinger |

Companies in every industry—private and public—struggle with the difficult task of promptly identifying employee wrongdoing and responding appropriately. The National Football League continues to be embroiled in a controversy arising from its reaction to the off-the-field conduct of its players. Penn State University continues to make attempts to repair its reputation after the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Lloyds Banking Group recently dismissed eight employees and sought to recoup millions in bonuses after it was revealed that they, along with employees of at least two other British banks, had attempted to manipulate benchmark interest rates from 2006 to 2009. Even government organizations struggle with this issue: Last month, Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Joseph C. Waters Jr. resigned amid an investigation by the FBI that has lasted more than a year.

People in the News - Oct. 22, 2014 - Spergel Elected Managing Partner of Manko Gold

Jonathan H. Spergel became managing partner of Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox in Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Voter ID to Take Effect in Texas

By Tony Mauro |

A rare Saturday morning order from the U.S. Supreme Court allowing a strict voter ID law to take effect in Texas "risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters," three justices warned in dissent.

<b>IN TEXAS:</b> The cleanup commenced at the apartment where the first U.S. victim lived. A Dallas nurse has retained a lawyer.

Hospitals Sweat Potential Liability From Ebola

By Amanda Bronstad and Andrew Ramonas |

As public health authorities moved to calm fears about the risk from Ebola, lawyers last week urged health care and other clients to take precautions against spreading the potentially fatal disease—and to mitigate attendant lawsuits.

Justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court pose for photographs Sept. 13, 2011, at Philadelphia's historic Old City Hall. Pictured, top row, from left, are Justices Seamus P. McCaffery, Max Baer, Debra McCloskey Todd and Joan Orie Melvin. Bottom row, from left, are Justice Thomas G. Saylor, Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille and Justice J. Michael Eakin.

Post-McCaffery Suspension, Court Must Work on Rebuilding

By The Editorial Board |

We applaud the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for taking swift, but measured, action with regard to Justice Seamus P. McCaffery—suspension with pay, and a direction to the Judicial Conduct Board to accelerate its investigation. We are sympathetic to the due process concerns raised by Justice Debra Todd in her dissent to the Supreme Court's action, but we are of the view that the due process rights of an individual justice must be balanced against, and ultimately give way to, the greater interests of the public in a judiciary that is free from taint, and the interest of the institution of the Supreme Court, which must now work diligently to restore its reputation for integrity and professionalism. That reputation—the most valuable capital of any high court—is in serious need of repair.