Latest News

Alternate Fuel-Tank Designs Discoverable in Daimler Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has allowed a plaintiff to conduct discovery on alternate fuel-tank designs in the case of a man who burned to death in a fire caused by a fuel tank rupture on a truck manufactured by Daimler subsidiary Freightliner.

Ballard Spahr CMO Gone After Eight Months

By Gina Passarella |

Ballard Spahr has parted ways with its chief marketing and business development officer after just eight months, the firm's chairman confirmed.

insurance policy

Carrier May Need to Cover Injuries in 'Concealed' DUI

By Max Mitchell |

An insurance company may have to cover injuries caused when friends of a passenger involved in a drunken-driving accident pried the man from the car and took him to his girlfriend's apartment in an effort to conceal the collision, a court of common pleas judge has ruled.

Superior Court Affirms Dismissal of Firm's Dragonetti Action

By Lizzy McLellan |

The state Superior Court has upheld the dismissal of a Philadelphia law firm's Dragonetti action that stemmed from a string of settlements and assignments of security interests.

divorce decree

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts in Event of a Divorce

By Scott J.G. Finger and Jennifer A. Kosteva |

When a married parent creates an irrevocable trust for the benefit of his or her children, the married parent, as the creator or settlor of the trust, often provides for his or her spouse to have certain rights with respect to the trust. For example, the settlor may name his or her spouse as a trustee of the trust or include the spouse as an income beneficiary of the trust during the spouse's lifetime, with the principal being held for the benefit of the children.

People in the News - July 31, 2015 - Besser Joins Klehr Harrison

Alison A. Besser joined Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg as an associate in the real estate and finance department.

Curtis Child

Former Court Exec Sends Spam Emails to Calif. Judges

By Cheryl Miller |

Curtis Child, a former executive with the California Administrative Office of the Courts, has miffed some judges around the state after sending a widespread email touting the virtues of his new employer, CourtCall LLC.

<b>HELD:</b> Albert Woodfox has been held in solitary confinement for his role in the 1972 murder of a prison guard at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola. He was serving time for robbery.

Solitary-Confinement Challenges Head to Supreme Court

By Marcia Coyle |

Legal challenges to solitary-confinement policies are working their way through the federal courts to the U.S. Supreme Court faster than one justice in particular may have anticipated.

Angela Giampolo

EEOC Ruling Paves Way for LGBT Workplace-Discrimination Lawsuits

By Angela D. Giampolo |

On July 17, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled in a 3-2 decision that sexual orientation discrimination is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because it's a form of "sex" discrimination, which is explicitly forbidden. The EEOC relied on its previous decision finding that Title VII bars discrimination on the basis of gender identity, protecting transgender employees, but this groundbreaking decision effectively declares that employment discrimination against gay, lesbian and bisexual workers is unlawful in all 50 states.

In this May 7, 2015 photo, Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., speaks during a My Brother's Keeper town hall at the School of the Future in Philadelphia. Fattah, an 11-term Democrat from Philadelphia, was indicted Wednesday, July 29, 2015, on charges that he misappropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars of federal, charitable and campaign funds. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

US Rep Fattah Hit With Corruption Charges

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pennsylvania, and four associates have been indicted on racketeering charges stemming from several schemes, including one in which Fattah allegedly accepted an illegal $1 million campaign loan, according to federal prosecutors.


PNC Loses Bid to Decertify Predatory Lending Class

By P.J. D'Annunzio 
and Gina Passarella |

The Third Circuit has rejected PNC Bank's bid to decertify a class of plaintiffs who alleged as far back as 2003 that a Virginia-based bank it later acquired had engaged in predatory lending practices.

Gay Wedding Exchanging Rings

Common Law Marriage Retroactively Applied to Same-Sex Couple

By Gina Passarella |

A Pennsylvania state court judge has declared a same-sex couple married under common law even though one of the spouses died before the state's ban on same-sex marriage was struck down.

New Trial Set in Med Mal Case Over Barred Expert Report

By Lizzy McLellan |

A Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas judge has granted a new trial in a medical negligence case over an expert report that was excluded from the case, but referenced in testimony.

How to Harness Emotional Intelligence to Ensure Success

By Dena Lefkowitz |

The new animated movie "Inside Out" takes the audience inside the brain of an 11-year-old girl named Riley, where her responses to situations are governed by five emotions personified. They are Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust, and they vie for command of the internal control center to influence Riley's behavior. When her family moves to San Francisco from Minnesota, where she was a happy part of a community, hockey team and circle of friends, Joy and Sadness get lost. Difficulties with the move ensue and all of the developments are seen through the lens of Fear, Anger and Disgust. Riley behaves accordingly, to the consternation of her parents, who are used to seeing their daughter with Joy primarily at the helm. They don't understand or know how to respond to her new attitude.

People in the News - July 30, 2015 - Stutzman Plans PBI Course

Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young partner Andrew K. Stutzman was the course planner for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute's CLE course "New Residential Mortgage Rules Affecting the Origination and Closing Processes."

Anti-death penalty activists hold a four day liquid-only fast and vigil to mark the anniversaries of the 1972 Furman and 1976 Gregg Supreme Court decisions involving the death penalty. The vigil, organized by the Abolitionist Action Committee, coincided with court's last public session of the current term when the opinion in Glossip v. Gross was expected to be announced. June 29, 2015.

Inmates Want Death Case Reheard, Citing Dissent by Breyer

By Tony Mauro |

After absorbing defeat in the U.S. Supreme Court lethal-injection case Glossip v. Gross in June, lawyers for three Oklahoma death-row inmates decided to take advantage of what they saw as the decision's silver lining.

Geoffrey Berman of Greenberg Traurig in Florham Park, NJ

For NJ Firms, Change of Pace Means Change of Space

By David Gialanella |

Perhaps it's too soon to eulogize the concept of the coveted corner office.

divorce decree

Planning for a Child's Divorce When Establishing a Trust

By Jennifer A. Kosteva and Scott J.G. Finger |

As future spouses contemplate a possible divorce when they enter into a prenuptial agreement, parents of future spouses (which can be any parent) should contemplate their child's potential divorce when establishing a trust for the child's benefit. Parents with a child who is facing a divorce often ask what they can do to protect the child's inheritance from the child's soon-to-be ex-spouse. The best protection that a parent can provide takes place before there is a potential divorce, and even before there is a marriage.

FCC Issues Declaratory Ruling on TCPA

By Richard Ernsberger |

The Federal Communications Commission recently released its omnibus declaratory ruling and order on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C Section 227, to provide clarification on the TCPA to consumer and telemarketers July 10. This article provides an overview of some of the guidance provided by the FCC.

Wiretap Act Charges Against Lawyers a 'Wake-Up Call'?

By Max Mitchell |

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane's charging of two attorneys over alleged violations of the Wiretap Act on Monday could be a wake-up call for attorneys in an era when recording conversations has never been easier.

<b>ON THE DEFENSE:</b> Entertainer Bill Cosby faces allegations that he drugged and ­molested women throughout his career.

Plaintiff Rebuts Cosby Allegation of Settlement Breach

By Lizzy McLellan |

In two memoranda filed Tuesday, counsel for Andrea Constand, who reached a settlement with Bill Cosby in 2006, said the plaintiff did not breach the parties' confidentiality agreement, but it was the comedian who did so.

$1.69M in Attorney Fees Awarded in Drone Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge in Pittsburgh has approved a recommendation for roughly $1.69 million in attorney fees for the plaintiffs counsel to a drone manufacturer in a patent infringement case.

Judge Won't Certify Class Over Pre-emptive Settlement Fears

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has denied a plaintiff's request to form a class action in the hopes of blocking the defendant from pre-emptively settling with her.

Johnson & Johnson Headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Power Morcellator MDL Could Yield Big Damages, Lawyers Say

By Charles Toutant |

On the heels of warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about the risks of using power morcellators in uterine surgery, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has been asked to consolidate 21 federal suits against makers of the devices—and lawyers involved in the litigation predict that while the number of cases will not be large, their value could be significant.

Local Counsel and the UIDDA: Must You Retain? Should You Retain?

By Mark E. Seiberling and Joshua J. Voss |

The Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act (UIDDA) does not require attorneys to retain local counsel in order to domesticate subpoenas across state lines, but practical considerations should have you picking up the phone to engage local representation.

People in the News - July 29, 2015 - Fromson to Receive ABA Award

Terry L. Fromson, managing attorney of the Women's Law Project, was chosen to receive the 20/20 Vision Award from the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Television cameras outside the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. March 4, 2015. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Poll Finds Support for High Court Term Limits, Cameras

By Tony Mauro |

Public support for life tenure for U.S. Supreme Court justices is decreasing, while the notion of allowing cameras in the court is more popular than ever, according to a new poll sponsored by C-SPAN that was released July 21.

Courts Seeing an Antitrust Litigation 'Explosion'

By Sheri Qualters |

Two years after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis erected a roadblock against pharmaceutical companies paying competitors to delay bringing generics to market, appeals courts are extending the ruling beyond cash deals.

What the Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Means for Employers

By Bennett Kaspar |

The U.S. Supreme Court in June ruled in a 5-4 decision that the equal protection guarantee provided by the 14th Amendment to opposite-sex marriages extends to same-sex marriages. The opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, holds that "same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all states" and that there is "no lawful basis for a state to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another state on the ground of its same-sex character."

Reed Smith Partner to Lead Pitt Law Energy Institute

By Gina Passarella |

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law has formed the Energy Law and Policy Institute, which will be led to start by Reed Smith partner and law school alumnus Kevin Abbott.

© Valeriy-Fotolia

Pa. Strict-Liability Medical Device Law Clear ... Sort of

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Days after a federal judge said Pennsylvania law was hazy on whether strict liability medical-device claims are barred, attorneys in the practice area said the state's courts have been perfectly clear on the matter—though each offered a different interpretation.

AG Charges Two Attorneys With Wiretap Violations

By Max Mitchell |

The state attorney general has filed charges against two western Pennsylvania defense attorneys over alleged violations of the Wiretap Act. The charges stem from separate incidents where the attorneys allegedly used illegally made recordings in legal proceedings.

Class Certified in Provigil Antitrust Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has certified a class of direct purchasers of the drug Provigil in their antitrust case against generic drug makers Ranbaxy Laboratories and Mylan Pharmaceuticals.

Actor and comedian Bill Cosby speaks to students at Selma High School in Selma, Alabama, on May 15, 2015.

Cosby 'Suspicious' of Attorney Role in Transcript Release

By Lizzy McLellan |

Attorneys for Bill Cosby want to investigate whether the plaintiffs attorney in a 2005 lawsuit against him was involved in the recent release of a deposition transcript from that case, which ended in a confidential settlement.

Getting Extreme Mileage Out of Your Speaking, Writing Efforts

By Stacy West Clark |

My clients know that I love the phrase "four bangs for the buck." For decades I have been preaching that every expenditure of non-billable marketing time spent writing an article or preparing a speech should be repurposed at least four times to get maximum exposure and reap the most possible opportunities. Now I am here to say that my new expression should be 13 bangs for the buck.


Sheriff's Sale Notices

The third publication of the Sheriff's Sale mortgage foreclosure notices for the August 4, 2015, sale, which includes those properties postponed from previous sales, along with the tax sale for August 19, 2015, are now available.


High Court Addresses Time Limit for Vote on Township Class

By Lizzy McLellan |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has removed a time restriction on submitting referendum questions asking whether a second-class township should be reclassified as first-class.

Superior Court Declines to Expand Collective-Knowledge Doctrine

By Max Mitchell |

A police officer executing a search warrant at a man's home did not have probable cause to arrest another man on the premises, despite the fact that another police officer saw the defendant take part in a drug transaction days before, the state Superior Court has ruled.


Potential Risks in Voluntary Reporting of Bank Loans

By Daniel J. Malpezzi and Timothy J. Horstmann |

A current hot topic in the world of municipal finance is the issue of voluntary reporting of information regarding direct bank loans to governmental entities or conduit governmental entity borrowers.

Sam Stretton

Criminal Defense Lawyers Should be Allowed to Make Early Pleas

By Samuel C. Stretton |

I read an opinion of the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Legal Ethics Committee concerning ethical responsibilities of both the prosecutor and defense counsel for early accountability programs. Is it correct?

Samuel H. Pond and Andrew F. Ruder

The Unavoidable Bias of an Independent Medical Exam

By Samuel H. Pond and Andrew F. Ruder |

In defending a claim for workers' compensation benefits, the employer is entitled to compel the injured worker to undergo a physical examination under Section 314 of the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act.

Legislative and Executive Action for Week of July 20

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of legislative and executive action for the week of July 20. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to action Sept. 21.

Justices Affirm Rare Insurance Liquidation Denials

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has rejected efforts by the Pennsylvania Insurance commissioner to convert the rehabilitation of two insurance companies into liquidations.

Post-Injury Agreement Doesn't Limit Benefits Eligibility

By Ben Seal |

A roof painter who signed an independent subcontractor agreement after being injured at the job site is still eligible for workers' compensation benefits because he was an employee at the time of his injury, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

Despite New Role, Saylor's Pen Keeps Flowing

By Lizzy McLellan |

Nearly seven months into a calendar year when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is operating with two vacant seats, the justices appear to be issuing opinions at a reasonable pace, observers said, while the court's leader has taken an especially active role in writing.


Parental Alienation in Child-Custody Cases

By Melissa Iacobucci |

By now, you have probably heard about the case out of Michigan where a family court judge sent three siblings to juvenile detention for refusing to visit their estranged father. The children's parents divorced five years ago and have been battling in court ever since over custody.

verdicts and settlements

Tyco Electronics Owes Millions in Shareholder Suit

By Gina Passarella |

Tyco Electronics is liable to a group of former Com-Net Critical Communications shareholders for $125.8 million, an Allegheny County judge ruled last week.

verdicts and settlements

Injured Landscaper Settles Workers' Compensation Claim

By Max Mitchell |

A man who suffered a traumatic brain injury while working as a landscaper has agreed to a $4.6 million settlement to cover his ongoing care.

Pa. Law Weekly - People in the News - July 28, 2015 - Elliott Elected to Girls on the Run Board

Denise E. Elliott, of counsel at McNees Wallace & Nurick, was elected to serve a three-year term on the board of directors for Girls on the Run of Lancaster.

TCPA Ruling a Boon for Plaintiffs, Bust for Businesses and Consumers

By Jeffrey N. Rosenthal, Joshua Briones, Ana Tagvoryan and Harrison M. Brown |

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) generally prohibits placing calls or sending text messages using an "automatic telephone dialing system" (ATDS) without the prior express consent of the called party. Given the high stakes in TCPA class actions ($500 to $1,500 per violation), litigants across the country have butted heads over the proper interpretation of key statutory provisions. This includes: whether the definition of an ATDS encompasses new calling technologies ubiquitous today, but that were not in existence when the TCPA was enacted in 1991; the extent to which intermediaries who play only a limited role in placing a call are liable; whether a business violates the act by calling a number for which it had consent but that was subsequently reassigned; how customers may revoke consent; and whether non-telemarketing calls are exempt.

People in the News - July 28, 2015 - O'Neil Elected IADC President

The International Association of Defense Counsel elected Joseph E. O'Neil of Lavin, O'Neil, Cedrone &; DiSipio as president for the 2015-16 term.

(l-r) Patricia Millett, Robert Wilkins, and Judith Rogers.

Lawyer Gets Rare Public Reprimand From D.C. Circuit

By Zoe Tillman |

A lawyer in Washington who showed "a palpable lack of respect for both this court and the disciplinary process" received a rare public reprimand July 21 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Budget Discussions Carry on in Harrisburg

By John L. Kennedy |

For the first time, Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Tom Wolf said a budget meeting, held last Tuesday, was productive.

Top Lawmakers Ask AG to Investigate Planned Parenthood

By John L. Kennedy |

In a letter, the top two state lawmakers asked Attorney General Kathleen Kane to investigate Planned Parenthood given the release of a video showing the group's medical director discussing procedures for providing researchers with the body parts of aborted fetuses.

Has Law School Enrollment Hit Rock Bottom?

By Karen Sloan |

Legal educators are cautiously optimistic that the 2015-16 academic year will mark the low point for law school enrollment, and that the number of applicants next year will start to recover from a five-year slide.

New Foreclosure Climate Brings Law Firm Casualties

By Lizzy McLellan and David Gialanella |

Nearly eight years after the subprime mortgage crisis violently shook the U.S. economy, law firms representing lenders and servicers in foreclosure actions are continuing to feel aftershocks that are sometimes fatal.

HRT Release Bars Med Mal Claims Over Lost Sponge

By Max Mitchell |

A woman's settlement with a hormone replacement therapy drug manufacturer will bar a suit she filed against a doctor who allegedly left a sponge in her during a mastectomy, the state Superior Court has ruled.

Traffic Court

Ex-Traffic Court Judge Gets Two Years' Probation

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

An ailing Fortunato N. Perri Sr., the last Philadelphia Traffic Court judge to be sentenced for involvement in the court's ticket-fixing scandal, was given two years of probation by a federal judge July 24.

Hospital CMO's Malpractice Case Against Duane Morris Settles

By Gina Passarella |

Duane Morris has settled a legal malpractice case filed against it by the former chief medical officer of Aria Health, who argued the firm's representation of him in an underlying suit caused his termination.

The Public Interest Calendar of Events

On Thursdays, July 30 and August 6, the Philadelphia Bar Association's public interest section law school outreach committee is scheduled to host the "Summer Brown Bag Lunch Series" from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market St., Philadelphia. The free programs provide an opportunity for summer law-student interns to meet public interest attorneys who are leaders in their field and learn about different types of public interest practice and fellowship opportunities in the greater Philadelphia area. To download a schedule of the programs, visit the public interest section's Web page at

Protecting Homeowners in Civil Forfeiture Cases

By Matthew D. Lee |

As part of its efforts to combat illegal drug trafficking in the city of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office regularly employs Pennsylvania's Controlled Substances Forfeiture Act to seek forfeiture of real and personal property connected with narcotics activity. While the goal of cracking down on drug crimes is a laudable one, an unfortunate consequence is that innocent homeowners are often ensnared in the forfeiture net, and such individuals can be deprived of ownership of their primary residence upon a showing by prosecutors, using only a preponderance of the evidence standard, that the property was used to facilitate illegal activity and without convicting the homeowner of any wrongdoing.

25 Years Later: Artists' Rights Under VARA

By Miriam DeChant |

An artist's work is his life, and his life is his work. His catalog is his resume and all he has in the face of an income is stitched together from commissions. In a city like Philadelphia—marketed on strength of culture and public art—how easy is it for artist citizens to protect that legacy when art is knocked down to make way for new condos and thrown in a basement?

People in the News - July 27, 2015 - Lions Club of Swarthmore Honors Lowe

Suzanne S. Mayes, chair of public and project finance at Cozen O'Connor, was elected president of the Forum of Executive Women for a two-year term.

Third Circuit Nixes Ex-Sills Cummis Worker's Lawsuit

By David Gialanella |

A federal appeals panel has upheld the dismissal of a suit claiming that a former employee of Sills Cummis & Gross, apparently a casualty of layoffs, was actually let go because of his advanced age.

Attorney Elkan Abramowitz questions Frank Canellas on the stand, as Acting Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Robert Stolz and Steven Davis, far right, look on.

Star Witness Ends Testimony in Dewey Bosses’ Fraud Trial

By Julie Triedman |

After seven days of testifying against his former bosses at Dewey & LeBoeuf—which included heated questioning from both the prosecution and defense and at one point led to tears on the witness stand—former finance director Francis Canellas concluded his role as the prosecution’s key witness in the fraud trial of the collapsed firm's top leaders.

pa map

Pa. Registration Key to Recovery for Foreign Corporations

By William T. MacMinn |

The state Superior Court confirmed in the recent decision of Drake Manufacturing v. Polyflow, 109 A.3d 250 (Pa. Super. 2015), that a foreign corporation doing business in Pennsylvania must be registered pursuant to 15 Pa.C.S.A. Section 4141(a) in order to maintain any litigation or recover any damages in the state (15 Pa.C.S.A. Section 4141(a) is now enacted at 15 Pa.C.S.A. Section 411(a)).

Buchanan Hires Leave Novak Druce Lawyerless in Phila.

By Gina Passarella |

Part of a string of lateral hires by Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney in Philadelphia appears to have left Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg's year-old office in the city without any attorneys.

Third Circuit Clarifies Trademark Confusion Standards, Revives Case

By Gina Passarella |

The Third Circuit revived a trademark infringement case between two financial institutions, ruling the district court relied on too narrow of a standard for when trademark confusion in the marketplace exists.

Magisterial District Judge Charged With Extortion

By Max Mitchell |

The suspended Dauphin County magisterial district judge who was charged by the state Judicial Conduct Board last year is now facing criminal charges for allegedly demanding campaign contributions from the constables who worked for him.


Strip Club's Arb Agreement Found Unconscionable

By Gina Passarella |

An arbitration agreement a stripper was allegedly told to sign right before her shift started was unconscionable because it barred her ability to bring her wage-and-hour collective and class actions in the arbitration setting, a Pennsylvania federal judge has ruled.

Bar Code on Envelope Violates Debt-Collection Act

By Ben Seal |

Following a Third Circuit ruling last year finding a debtor's account number on the outside of an envelope violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a Pennsylvania federal judge has ruled embedding that number in a bar code is equally problematic given the advent of smartphone bar-code readers.

Sexual Assault as a Civil Rights Violation Under Title IX

By Carol E. Tracy and Terry L. Fromson |

The Legal Editorial Board's histrionic call for amendment of Title IX and repeal of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) 2011 Guidance on school response to sexual misconduct is ill-informed. Its position in "2011 Update to Title IX: The Pendulum Has Swung Too Far," published June 16 in The Legal, shows an inexplicable disregard for a significant body of law on the investigation and adjudication of violations of school policy that existed long before the 2011 guidance. It also conflates civil school disciplinary proceedings under Title IX with criminal proceedings, minimizes the historical mistreatment of victims by schools, and perpetuates the disproven myth that victims routinely make false rape accusations ("crying wolf").

People in the News - July 24, 2015 - Madden Appointed Conrad Marketing Manager

Jonathan E. Rinde, partner at Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, was appointed to serve on the Environmental Protection Workgroup for Pennsylvania's Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force.

Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins, Northern District of California

Plaintiffs Lawyers in NCAA Lawsuit Awarded $46M

By Marisa Kendall |

A federal judge on July 13 awarded nearly $46 million in fees and costs to Hausfeld LLP lawyers for their "excellent results" in a groundbreaking antitrust trial against the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Samuel Alito.

In Interview, Alito Critiques Gay-Marriage Ruling

By Tony Mauro |

In a rare interview, posted online July 19, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. criticized the court's June 26 ruling declaring a right to same-sex marriage, warning that "we are at sea" in defining the limits of constitutional protections of liberty.

Jeffrey Campolongo

Analysis of Counsel Fee Awards in Two Cases With Same Attorney

By Jeffrey Campolongo |

Attorney fees. There are few things in the practice of law that are as sacrosanct as payment for the professional guidance we provide to our clients, whether the matter is a billion-dollar complex acquisition by a multinational conglomerate or drafting a simple will. As lawyers we tend to be very self-aware, perhaps even sensitive, when it comes to being paid what we deem a reasonable amount for our time and attention to our craft. For those of us who practice in the employment law world where there is a statutory fee-shifting provision, we tend to be even more in tune to legal issues affecting how we are paid. That is why two recent decisions from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued merely a day apart have prompted some curious head-scratching by practitioners.

Ex-Judge Found Guilty of Theft, Conflict of Interest

By Max Mitchell |

A jury has found retired Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Willis W. Berry Jr. guilty on charges of theft of services and conflict of interest related to his running a real estate business out of his judicial chambers.

Federal Judge Has Say in State Court Avandia Fee Dispute

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has ruled that her court has jurisdiction over whether a firm litigating Avandia cases in Illinois state court must pay a fee for the work product developed by the plaintiffs steering committee in the federal Avandia multidistrict litigation.

Involuntarily Committed Woman Can Obtain a Gun, Superior Court Says

By Ben Seal |

A woman who fled a hospital after crisis workers suggested she be admitted for psychiatric treatment should not have been involuntarily committed and should therefore be allowed to have her mental health record expunged in order to obtain a firearm, the state Superior Court has ruled.


How to Start Out Successfully on Your First Day of Work

By Justin J. Koterba |

The first day at your new job can be an anxiety-provoking yet exciting time, and the first few years of your legal career can be some of the most important of your professional life. You will gain experience in several areas of the law, hoping to find your calling and specialize in a practice. You will develop business relationships with colleagues, clients and other leaders that you will (hopefully) maintain throughout your career. You will work long hours. You will finally get to make money. And, of course, while you are learning the practice of law, you will be judged by your superiors to see if you have the skills that make a successful attorney. This article offers practical advice on what to expect and how to have a successful start to your career now that you have found your first job.

The Philadelphia Association of Paralegals Calendar of Events

On July 29, the Paralegal Day Celebration is scheduled from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Pyramid Club, 1735 Market St., 52nd floor. Gov. Tom Wolf issued a proclamation June 10 declaring July 27-31 Paralegal Week and July 31 Paralegal Day in Pennsylvania. The free event is open to all PAP members, as well as members of the Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations, South Jersey Paralegal Association and Delaware Paralegal Association. Join PAP for food, fun, a magician and prizes. Kaplan Leaman & Wolfe is sponsoring the event.

People in the News - July 23, 2015 - Wicas Joins Rawle & Henderson

Erica M. Wicas joined Rawle & Henderson as an associate in the firm's Philadelphia office.

NY Judge: Stalking Law Doesn't Cover Email Addresses

By Joel Stashenko |

A woman's work email address does not equate to a "place of employment or business," and thus her ex-girlfriend could not have stalked her by sending unwanted messages to the account, a Manhattan judge decided.

Laurie Webb Daniel

Six Flags Fights $35M Verdict From Attack on Teen

By Alyson M. Palmer |

Six Flags Over Georgia's lawyers were at the Georgia Court of Appeals on July 15, hoping to persuade an appellate panel to toss the state's biggest verdict of 2013.

Real Estate Paralegals Must Understand Title Insurance

By Harry A. Reichner |

Title insurance is not understood as well as other types of insurance, but it is just as important. When purchasing real property, instead of purchasing the actual building or land, a client is actually purchasing the title to the property—the right to occupy and use the space. That title may be limited by rights and claims asserted by others, which may limit your client's use and enjoyment of the property and even bring financial loss. Title insurance protects against these types of hazards and defects that already exist in the title and is purchased with a one-time premium.

Cosby Says Accuser's Court Reporter Released Deposition

By Lizzy McLellan |

A lawyer for Bill Cosby is seeking to strike a motion that sought to unseal records from the comedian's 2006 settlement with Andrea Constand.

Statute of Limitations Issues in Looted-Art Cases

By Chris Michaels |

Nazi-looted art has made headlines over the past few years, most notably in the German Cornelius Gurlitt case, as artwork has been discovered, and in some cases returned and subsequently sold at auction. Looted-art cases can present several complex legal issues including, among other things, whether an applicable statute of limitations bars the plaintiff from recovery and different theories about when that statute of limitation begins to accrue.

High Court Allows Insureds to Settle Without Insurer Consent

By Gina Passarella |

An insured does not have to demonstrate bad faith in order to settle certain claims without its insurance company's consent, the state Supreme Court has ruled, thereby reinstating an $80 million settlement in personal injury actions against a nuclear facility owner.

Judge Orders Tyco Entity to Pay $126M in Shareholder Suit

By Gina Passarella |

Tyco Electronics is liable to a group of former Com-Net Critical Communications shareholders for $125.8 million, an Allegheny County judge ruled last week.

Gov. Tom Wolf speaks after he took the oath of office to become the 47th governor of Pennsylvania, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Wolf to Justices: Deny AG's Death-Penalty Petition

By Lizzy McLellan |

Gov. Tom Wolf has asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to deny the attorney general's petition for review of the reprieve he granted convicted murderer Hubert Michael, arguing it would unnecessarily delay a similar case.

2007 Ferrari Enzo 599 GTB Fiorano FI. Photo by Bonnie Heath/Freelance 3-14-07

Oral Deal to Sell Rare Ferrari Could Be Binding, Court Says

By Gina Passarella |

An oral promise to sell a rare Ferrari for $800,000 can't automatically be thrown out in favor of a better offer, a divided state Superior Court has ruled.

City Hall in Philadelphia

Former Secretary Testifies in Ex-Judge's Criminal Trial

By Max Mitchell |

The former secretary of retired Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Willis W. Berry Jr. testified at Berry's criminal trial Tuesday that she helped to run his rental property business out of his judicial office.

Gov. Chris Christie

Christie Knew Limitations During Tenure as US Attorney, Sources Say

By Michael Booth, Charles Toutant and Zack Needles |

When President George W. Bush tapped Chris Christie for U.S. attorney, the nomination was met with trepidation by lawyers who practice criminal law in the federal courts, a fact that was not lost on the future governor. According to numerous sources, he proved to be an effective manager, surrounded himself with veteran prosecutors, and was effective during plea negotiations and with the media, though some have described him as brash.

Amanda Haverstick

Revising Nondisclosure and Nondisparagement Clauses

By Amanda D. Haverstick |

Over the past several months, a broad array of executive branch agencies have all come down the same way against the same wording of employers' nondisclosure and nondisparagement provisions, whether found in severance and settlement agreements, confidentiality agreements with employees or contractors, or witness statements in internal investigations. What once was considered the industry gold standard for these clauses is now just the opposite. And the stakes are high. An employer's use of invalid language can lead to regulatory enforcement action, court litigation and potentially hefty fines and sanctions. The combined authority of the agencies making waves for employers in this area also is far-reaching. Virtually every employer is a potential target, whether public, private, union, nonunion, financial industry, federal contractor or otherwise. All employers should review the language of their confidentiality and nondisparagement clauses and reword them to accord with the new agency standards.

Peter Paul Olszewski Sr., Former Superior Court Judge, Dies at 90

Former Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Sr. died July 18 at age 90.

People in the News - July 22, 2015 - Rubinich Appointed Vice Chair of TIPS

Zachary M. Rubinich, a partner in the Philadelphia office of Rawle & Henderson, was appointed as a vice chair for the American Bar Association's Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section workers' compensation and employers' liability law committee for 2015-16.

Class Action Suit Filed Against Exxon Subsidiary

By Angela Neville |

A group of natural-gas royalty owners in western Pennsylvania are accusing Texas-based XTO Energy, Exxon Mobil Corp.'s subsidiary, of messing around with their royalty payments.

Only Nominal Damages for Lawyer in Libel Finding

By Ben Bedell |

A lawyer who successfully sued a disgruntled client for defamation after she posted a five-page denunciation of him on a website,, is entitled only to nominal damages, the Appellate Division, First Department, said July 9.

patent stamp

Intellectual Property of the Biggest Trade Deal in History

By Lawrence E. Ashery |

TPP. TPA. TAA. It's been a figurative "alphabet soup" of names for international trade legislation that has recently been in the news.

<b>ON THE DEFENSE:</b> Entertainer Bill Cosby faces allegations that he drugged and ­molested women throughout his career.

Cosby Case Pits Privacy Issues Against Public-Interest Concerns

By Lizzy McLellan |

The release of information about Bill Cosby's 2006 settlement with a woman accusing him of sexual assault has reduced doubt about some allegations against the comedian, but raised questions about the nature of sealed documents and confidential settlement agreements involving public figures.