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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.

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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.

Law Firm Diversity: Identification and Implementation

By Gina F. Rubel |

Diversity was a big topic at this year's Philadelphia Bar Association Bench-Bar Annual Conference in Atlantic City, N.J. As the chair of the law practice management committee, I had the privilege to host "Creating and Maintaining a Diverse and Inclusive Law Practice for All."

Litigation Departments of the Year Ceremony 2014

Litigation Departments of the Year Awards Ceremony Slideshow

The Litigation Departments of the Year Awards were given out at a recent dinner hosted by The Legal Intelligencer at the Franklin Institute. View the slideshow to see highlights from the evening.

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.

Pa. Supreme Court Suspends McCaffery

By P.J. D'Annunzio and Max Mitchell |

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery has been suspended by his peers on the court based on the recent pornographic email scandal as well as other allegations of wrongdoing involving referral fees paid to his wife and attempts to "exert influence" over judicial assignments.

Medical MDL Consolidated in Eastern District

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

More than 20 cases brought against health insurance company Aetna have been centralized in federal court in Philadelphia.

Abuse of Process Case Against Fox Rothschild Withdrawn

By Gina Passarella |

An abuse of process suit against Fox Rothschild and two of its partners settled on the eve of trial with no monetary damages being paid.

More Plaintiffs Attorneys Looking to Handle Whistleblower Cases

By Max Mitchell |

With new incentives for whistleblowers and high-profile awards making headlines, an increasing number of plaintiffs attorneys are looking to expand into the often-difficult qui tam arena.

Passenger Can Benefit From Driver's Full Tort Coverage

By Lizzy McLellan |

Thanks to a novel detail in state law, a passenger injured in a car accident is allowed to use the driver's full tort coverage, despite being an insured of her husband's limited tort policy.

Sam Stretton

The Judicial Discipline System Should Be Reconsidered

By Samuel C. Stretton |

After the Bruno decision, where does professional judicial discipline stand in Pennsylvania?

Federal-State Split Forming Over MERS's Authority

By Max Mitchell |

A split between state and federal courts has begun to emerge over the authority of the mortgage registry company MERS, according to several attorneys who work in the field.

Courts Weigh in on the Protection of Software Code

By J. Alexander Hershey |

Two substantial decisions rendered in 2014 have provided additional context to the protection of computer software under existing intellectual property law. It is a common complaint that existing intellectual property principles apply poorly to new technologies like software. In fact, the degree of protection available for software code and the ideas underlying its nature or function remains somewhat unresolved.

Pa. Law Weekly - People in the News - Oct. 21, 2014 - Stacey Willits McConnell Appointed to Board of Directors of Main Line Animal Rescue

Stacey Willits McConnell, partner at Lamb McErlane and chair of its trusts and estates department, was appointed to the board of directors of Main Line Animal Rescue (MLAR).

Executive and Legislative Action for Week of Oct. 13

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Oct. 13. Members of the state House of Representatives were scheduled to return to session Oct. 20. Members of the state Senate are scheduled to return to session Nov. 12.

Corbett Eyes Bill to Close DUI Loophole

By John L. Kennedy |

Legislation that would require a conviction for a first DUI offense before conviction and sentencing for a second offense is before Gov. Tom Corbett. The state House of Representatives attached the language to SB 1239.

Waterfront Buffer Changes Sent to Governor

By John L. Kennedy |

HB 1565, which would eliminate a mandatory 150-foot development buffer from streams and other waterways the Department of Environment Protection classifies as "high quality," is before Gov. Tom Corbett.

David McCallum, left, who spent 29 years in prison, answers questions from the media after his conviction was vacated in Brooklyn Supreme Court Wednesday. With him are his mother Ernestine and his attorney Oscar Michelen.

Man Walks Free After Brooklyn Conviction Vacated

By Andrew Keshner |

Nearly 30 years after David McCallum was convicted of murder at age 17 on the strength of a confession he said was beaten out of him—and no other evidence tied him to the crime—he walked out of a Brooklyn, N.Y., courthouse Oct. 15 as a free man.

James B. Comey.

FBI Director Assails Tech Companies Over Data Encryption

By Andrew Ramonas |

FBI Director James Comey Jr. on Oct. 16 pressed Apple Inc. and Google Inc. to rethink the default encryption they offer on mobile devices, saying that the security feature could lead the United States to a "very, very dark place."

People in the News - Oct. 21, 2014 - Archer & Greiner Promotes Six to Partner

Molly Campbell, a Reed Smith associate in Philadelphia, was named chair of the Young Professionals Council of Philadelphia Young Playwrights.

Where Were the Lawyers Who Could Fix the L&I Department?

By Peter F. Vaira |

On Sept. 25, a blue-ribbon commission appointed by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter issued a report on the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections. The report was triggered by the collapse of a building during a demolition June 5, 2013, at 22nd and Market streets in Philadelphia. The building collapsed on an adjacent Salvation Army thrift store, killing six people and injuring 13. One of those killed was the daughter of the treasurer of Philadelphia who was in the thrift shop donating clothing. The demolition process on that building was licensed and overseen by L&I. I served as the executive director of the mayor's commission.

Alan Nochumson

Subsequent Purchasers of New Home Cannot Sue Builder

By Alan Nochumson |

This situation is all too common in my practice—individuals purchase a home and, afterward, they discover defects with the home that were not disclosed or discovered during the home-purchasing process. The new homeowners have many potential avenues to seek legal redress: their seller, their real estate agent and that of the seller, and their home inspector.

Justices Take Up Whether Juries Should Determine Biosolids Use

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on whether juries should be able to determine if spreading a fertilizer made from recycled sewage sludge, known as biosolids, constitutes a "normal agricultural practice."

pa map

Harrisburg and Lancaster Firms Looking Up, Heading South

By Lizzy McLellan and Max Mitchell |

Business for law firms in Harrisburg and Lancaster has been improving at a steady pace, but an additional opportunity has presented itself for those willing to venture south.

verdicts and settlements

Nursing Home Chain Settles False Claims Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A nursing and rehabilitation facility chain is paying $38 million to settle claims that it defrauded Medicare and Medicaid programs by billing for substandard care in what the U.S. Department of Justice is calling the largest failure-of-care settlement with a chain of this type yet.

Blaine A. Lucas

Pa. Supreme Ct. Clarifies Unnecessary Hardship Standard for Use Variances

By By Blaine A. Lucas and Alyssa E. Golfieri |

On July 21, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rendered a decision in Marshall v. City of Philadelphia, 2014 Pa. LEXIS 1785 (Pa. 2014), that clarified the unnecessary hardship standard applicable to the granting of a use variance.

Steven Silver

States Could Soon Lean on Casinos for Overdue Child Support

By Steve Silver |

Since Pennsylvania's first casino opened its doors in 2006 at the Mohegan Sun in Wilkes-Barre, the state has relied on casinos for property tax relief, job creation and subsidies for the horse-racing industry.

gavel

Partition Case Reinstated Due to Immunity Question

By Max Mitchell |

The Commonwealth Court has reinstated a personal injury suit against a school because the record lacked sufficient information about how an accordian-style partition was secured to school property to justify the application of governmental immunity.

verdicts and settlements

Jail Failed to Treat Prisoner's Decaying Tooth

By Max Mitchell |

According to the pretrial memorandum of plaintiff Joseph W. Consonery Jr., he was incarcerated on Feb. 6, 2009, at the Washington County Correctional Facility. On that day, he told a nurse he had an infected tooth and he needed to see a dentist, the memo said. Days later, Consonery's tooth "snapped," which led to ongoing bleeding, the memo said.

NASA, Air Force Get $965K FCA Settlement

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A Lancaster, Pa.-based thermal technology company is settling False Claims Act allegations for $965,000, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia.

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.

Eakin: McCaffery Threatened to Release Emails

By Max Mitchell and P.J. D'Annunzio |

In the wake of a report that Justice J. Michael Eakin received allegedly sexually explicit emails, the justice released a statement Friday admitting he received such emails, and said fellow Justice Seamus P. McCaffery threatened to release information linking Eakin to the emails unless Eakin pressured Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille to retract his earlier statements about McCaffery sending sexually explicit emails.

Businessman team silhouette in front of world map eps 10

Pa. Firms Use Global Footprints to Get Fortune 500 Clients

By Gina Passarella |

While there are only a few Pennsylvania firms among those most frequently used by Fortune 500 companies, some of the largest corporations in the world call on Pennsylvania firms of all sizes for a variety of legal needs.

Third Circuit Revives Biotechnology Company Shareholder Lawsuit

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

In a split opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has revived a suit over the sale of assets from a now-defunct biotechnology company.

Justices Refuse to Eye Medical-Provider Class in Insurance Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The state Supreme Court has declined to hear arguments in a case involving the decertification of a class of medical providers who have received overdue medical benefit payments from Progressive Insurance Co. excluding interest.

Close up of a Smartphone Camera

A Suggested App Toolkit to Help Mobile Lawyers Get Started

By Johan T. Widjaja |

We live in a mobile world and our smartphones and tablets are replacing the need for laptops and desktop computers. Even the most intensive and sophisticated applications such as graphics and video-editing software have been emulated by apps, available at a fraction of the traditional cost of these programs. These advanced graphics and video-editing apps might not have all of the bells and whistles some of the desktop versions have, but they are getting pretty close. Further, the interface and the mobility that the tablets and smartphones offer usually make up for the lack of some features. From a workflow perspective, many artists can use the apps to make quick edits, usually in collaboration with others. How can attorneys make use of currently available apps? This "Mobile Lawyer App Toolkit" suggests some basic apps to get started, surrounding the crux of practicing law—note-taking, legal research and drafting of documents.

People in the News - Oct. 20, 2014 - Braid Is Philadelphia VIP Volunteer of the Month

Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young partner Mark Chopko presented at the XV International Congress of Canon Law on Sept. 18 at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Broadcaster in Philippines Wins Web Pirate Battle

By Sheri Qualters |

Philippines broadcaster ABS-CBN Corp. has secured a $10 million federal consent judgment against a copyright and trademark infringer as an early victory in a broader court campaign against Internet pirates.

Judge Bars Firm From Pursuing Breach of Contract Claim

By Christine Simmons |

Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman cannot pursue a breach of contract claim for $2.3 million in legal fees against a former client's company, a judge has ruled.

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Sheriff's Sale Notices

The third publication of the Sheriff's Sale mortgage foreclosure notices for the Nov. 4, 2014, sale, which includes properties postponed from previous sales, are now available, along with the tax sales for October.

Reports Show Playing Team Sports Benefits Women's Careers

By Frank Michael D'Amore |

The benefits associated with playing sports have been extolled in this column over the years. For instance, a two-part series, "Ten Lessons From Athletes to Excel in the Boardroom," was published in the May 20, 2013, and June 17, 2013, editions of The Legal. The series discussed some of the most significant characteristics embodied by those who participated in sports—such as perseverance, goal-setting and the ability to operate in a team environment—and gave examples of how they were a boon to the careers of lawyers.

McCaffery Apologizes for Emails, Then Fires at Castille

By Max Mitchell and P.J. D'Annunzio |

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus P. McCaffery has issued an apology for sending pornographic emails, but fired back at Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, calling him a liar over a statement the chief justice released Wednesday.

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.

Court and city officials at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Philadelphia Family Court building. From Left: U.S. Rep Bob Brady, D-Pa.; former Gov. Edward G. Rendell; Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille; Family Court Supervising Judge Margaret T. Murphy; Family Court Administrative Judge Kevin M. Dougherty; Justice J. Michael Eakin; Deputy Mayor Everett A. Gillison.

New Phila. Family Court Building Dedicated by FJD

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The dedication of the Philadelphia Family Court building Thursday afternoon marked the culmination of a years-long process—at times mired in controversy—to centralize the city's family court system into one location.

Eastern District Judge Tosses Thalidomide Case Against GSK

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The time for Edmund Andre to bring a suit against the maker of thalidomide has long since passed, a federal judge in Philadelphia has ruled, rejecting Andre's expert and the argument that the company's initial cover-up of the drug's effect on babies born to women who took it would extend the statute of limitations.

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Fifth Circuit Offers Guidance on Corrective Disclosures

By Peter J. Kreher and Frank P. Trapani |

In Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi v. Amedisys, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit offered important guidance on how to evaluate whether alleged corrective disclosures meet the standard for pleading loss causation established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Dura Pharmaceuticals v. Broudo. This article describes the court's analysis and discusses the implications for plaintiffs and defendants in securities fraud cases.

People in the News - Oct. 17, 2014 - Dena B. Calo Joins Saul Ewing

Gary Ruckelshaus joined Blank Rome as a partner in the litigation department.

U.S. Supreme Court (Oct. 5, 2014)

Texas Abortion Law Blocked by U.S. Supreme Court

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court late Tuesday halted enforcement of several parts of a federal appeals court ruling that shuttered abortion clinics throughout Texas.

<b>DANGER:</b> Graffiti marks a neighborhood controlled by the Mara-18 gang in Ilopango, El Salvador. One of the pro bono program’s clients fled north after the gang menaced her and her 7-year-old son.

Pro Bono Program Advocates for Adult Asylum-Seekers

By Katelyn Polantz |

First-year associate Lauren Connell cried with her client. That's the way pro bono drains you, she said, recalling the work she's done this month with battered and afraid Latina women under detention in Texas.

Lawall/Welwarth

A New Trend in Reducing Pension Obligations in Chapter 9?

By Francis J. Lawall and Lesley S. Welwarth |

Many municipalities across the United States remain under severe fiscal distress as a result of financial promises made that no longer can be honored. One of the largest of those obligations often arises from unfunded or underfunded pension benefits accrued over decades of employee service.

Former State Senator Granted Nolle Pros

By Max Mitchell |

Former state Sen. Robert J. Mellow, who is a defendant in the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission corruption case, has been nolle prossed.

Dilworth Paxson Hires American Water Works Ethics Officer

By Gina Passarella |

Dilworth Paxson has added Thomas S. Wyatt as a partner in the firm’s corporate and business department.

Chief Justice: Email Review Exonerates Six Supreme Court Justices

The following press release was issued by Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald Castille on Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts letterhead on Oct. 15, 2014.

documents

Memo to File: Protecting Attorney-Expert Communications

By David H. Glusman and Michael J. Molder |

As litigators, you are experts in trying cases. Typically, you are not experts in mechanical engineering, corporate finance or neurology. But litigation today, like so much of life, involves highly technical issues. In many cases, a general knowledge of science or commerce or health care is not enough for an attorney to represent his or her client effectively.

Castille Says McCaffery Only Justice to Send Explicit Emails

By Max Mitchell and P.J. D'Annunzio |

Justice Seamus P. McCaffery was the only Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice to have sent or received any of the pornographic emails found as part of an internal review at the state Attorney General's Office, according to Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille.

Mushroom Antitrust Case Set for Review By Third Circuit

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The unsettled question of whether an agricultural collective's accidental inclusion of a non-agricultural member would cut through the collective's shield from certain antitrust laws has been certified to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

NTSB Seeks Dismissal of Wolk Firm Suit

By Gina Passarella |

The National Transportation Safety Board has argued an aviation law firm and several of its clients don't have standing to sue the board for failure to provide crash investigation materials.

'Extremist' Group Can Continue Sidewalk Demonstrations

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The state Superior Court has ruled that an "extremist" group's racially-charged demonstrations on the sidewalk outside of a Philadelphia mall were protected by the First Amendment.

The Philadelphia Association of Paralegals Calendar of Events

On Oct. 20, the board of directors meeting is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at Saul Ewing, 1500 Market St., Centre Square West, 38th floor.

Pro Bono Work Can Help You Personally and Professionally

By Desiree M. Purvenas-Hayes and Lisa M. Dean |

The American Bar Association has announced Oct. 19 through Oct. 25 as the National Pro Bono Celebration.

Redefining the Steps of the Law Firm Career Ladder

By Valerie Fontaine |

Until about 25 years ago, most lawyers joined a firm upon graduation from law school, worked hard as an associate for five to seven years and then, in most cases, became an equity partner, staying until retirement or death.

People in the News - Oct. 16, 2014 - Villanova Law's Giannella Memorial Lecture

Matthew H. Haverstick, a partner at Conrad O'Brien, was appointed by Gov. Tom Corbett to serve as a member of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

Justices Thomas, Ginsburg, and Scalia joined in dissent Tuesday over the court's denial to review a sentencing dispute from the D.C. Circuit.

Scalia, Thomas and Ginsburg Align in Sentencing Dispute

By Tony Mauro |

An unusual lineup of three U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday scolded the majority for declining to resolve a long-running dispute over judicial discretion in sentencing.

A nurse delivers a whooping cough vaccination to a student.

Vaccine Injury Cases Fill Special Court's Docket

By Jenna Greene |

Until he was 4 months old, Braden Lerwick was a normal, healthy baby. But in the days and weeks after he got a routine vaccination, he began crying inconsolably, grew unresponsive and suffered seizures. Now age 10, he is profoundly handicapped, unable to speak or feed himself.

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The Affordable Care Act and Personal Injury Damages: Part II

By Brett A. Margolin |

In Part I, we put medical expense damages on the examination table. In this article, we roll out some new, crinkly table paper and give the ACA lost health insurance damages a thorough physical.

Longtime Client Sues Squire Patton for Malpractice, Fraud

By Gina Passarella |

A Pennsylvania company has filed a nine-count complaint against its longtime outside general counsel, Squire Patton Boggs, over allegations the firm was conflicted in representing the company and its sole founder and allegedly helped that founder inappropriately benefit from the company's stock plan to the tune of millions of dollars.

Offender Must Register Web IDs Under Megan's Law

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The Commonwealth Court has ruled in an apparent issue of first impression that reporting a convicted sex offender's Internet aliases under Megan's Law IV would not violate his First Amendment rights.

Close up of human hands pushing keys of laptop

Internet Chat Transcripts Allowed at Trial

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Yahoo Messenger chat transcripts, screen captures and videos can be shown at the trial of a man accused of lying in his application for naturalization, a federal judge in Pittsburgh has ruled.

Young Conaway, Attorney Hit With Fraud Lawsuit in Florida

By Jeff Mordock |

A New York investor group that unknowingly financed a phony treasure hunt for emeralds dating back to the 1600s filed a lawsuit last week in a Florida federal court alleging Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor and firm attorney Bruce L. Silverstein attempted to profit from the scheme.

business man with pen drawing graphics on world map

Recognition Comes Before Enforcement With Foreign Judgments

By Paige H. Forster |

General counsel know what it's like to be on the receiving end of a complaint and to guide litigation through the trial court and the appeal. Perhaps less familiar is being on the receiving end of an opponent's efforts to enforce a judgment rendered outside the United States.

People in the News - Oct. 15, 2014 - HBAPA to Honor Rodriguez of USCIS

The Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania is scheduled to honor Leon Rodriguez, director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, at its Legal Education Fund Scholarship Dinner at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Ballroom at the Ben, 834 Chestnut St., Philadelphia.