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screenshot of a fake legal firm website.

Online Imposters Add to Law Firms' Cyber Risks

By Lizzy McLellan |

More law firms are learning that they aren't immune from identity theft.

First-Year Associate Jobs Set For Slight Rise, Survey Finds

By Chris Johnson |

The number of first-year associate jobs at law firms across the U.S. and Canada is set to rise slightly over the next 12 months, a new survey has found.


3rd Circuit Defines 'Willful' FLSA Violation, OKs 67 Percent Fee Slash

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal appeals court has ruled that although Lackawanna County failed to pay overtime to some of its employees, it did not show a "willfulness" to violate the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Jones Day Washington, D.C. offices.

Trump Picks Jones Day Partner to Flip Product Safety Agency

By C. Ryan Barber |

If confirmed by the Senate, Dana Baiocco would replace Marietta Robinson, flipping the commission from Democratic to Republican rule.

Mark R. Cuker.

Litigation Shop Williams Cuker Berezofsky Breaks Up

By Lizzy McLellan |

The three name partners of Philadelphia litigation firm Williams Cuker Berezofsky have gone their separate ways, finding new homes for themselves and their associates and staff at new law firms.

Thomas Servodidio

Amid Leadership Change, NJ Still 'Strategic' Market for Duane Morris

By Lizzy McLellan and David Gialanella |

Duane Morris, gearing up for its first leadership change in a decade, might be best remembered for venturing into international markets during outgoing chairman and CEO John Soroko's tenure, but the firm also broke into South Jersey.

Pfizer headquarters in New York City.

Pfizer Accuses J&J of Stifling Competition From Rival Drug

By Max Mitchell |

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has sued rival Johnson & Johnson over claims the company forced health care providers and insurers into exclusionary contracts aimed at blocking a competing autoimmune medication Pfizer recently introduced into the market.

Judicial Privilege Barred Insurer’s Claims Against Coverage Lawyers, Third Circuit Rules

By Steven A. Meyerowitz |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has affirmed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania rejecting an insurer’s negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and civil conspiracy claims against lawyers who had filed two coverage actions against the insurer.

Hodge Aims to Establish Lasting Change in Short Term

By Max Mitchell |

Kelley Hodge has been Philadelphia's top prosecutor since the First Judicial District's Board of Judges chose her in July to take over in the tumultuous wake of former District Attorney R. Seth Williams, who pleaded guilty to a bribery charge in June. Since taking over, Hodge has made high-level staffing changes and is working to implement several new programs and initiative she said she hopes will outlast her tenure.

New Developments in Oil and Gas Regulations Over the Last Year

By Ariel N. Forbes |

Over the course of the last year, Pennsylvania has experienced a variety of regulatory and legislative developments and proposals relating to oil and gas activity in the state, specifically with regard to environmental rulemaking for unconventional wells, remedies for failure to pay minimum royalties, streamlined permitting procedures for unconventional wells and related infrastructure and severance taxes.

The Informational Interview That Changed My Life

By Dena Lefkowitz |

When clients reach a career ­crossroad, I often suggest informational interviewing to scope out a prospective new role, firm, ­industry or career path. That suggestion is almost always met with resistance. The most ­frequently voiced objection is not wanting to bother a busy person. When that is overcome, a trove of information, insight and inspiration can be uncovered.

Hospital Hit With $3.2M Verdict in Montco Over Vein Implant Death

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The family of a man who died after a vein implant designed to stop blood clots migrated to his heart and caused fatal cardiac arrest has won a $3.2 million verdict against a Montgomery County hospital.

How Will Pa. Implement the Environmental Rights Amendment?

By David G. Mandelbaum |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court's June decision in Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation v. Wolf, 161 A.3d 911 (Pa. 2017) (PEDF), has sparked many conversations about how the newly interpreted Environmental Rights Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution will be implemented.

Secretary of Education Promises to Change Title IX Regulations

By Catherine Berryman |

During a recent appearance at George Mason Law School, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave a speech about Title IX regulations that placed virtually all higher education academic ­institutions in limbo. Focusing her speech on colleges and universities, DeVos told the audience that the current Department of Education regulations regarding sexual misconduct adjudicatory processes on campus are unjust, but she did not offer specific guidance as to what it would consider fair.

Young Business team at a presentation Clapping

People in the News—Sept. 20, 2017—Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young

Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young ­associate Hilary Hannan Saylor was elected to the board of the Philadelphia Montessori Charter School.

People in the News—Sept. 21, 2017—Post & Schell

Post & Schell added Jon Paul DeMarco as an associate attorney.


Coach Not Liable for Student Football Player's Brain Injury

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal appeals court has ruled in the case of a student-football player who suffered a traumatic brain injury during practice that while there was evidence of state-created danger, the coach did not violate the student's constitutional rights.


How Law Firms Can Use the Media to Promote Themselves

By Jeffrey Sussman |

There's tremendous competition among Philadelphia lawyers to attract new clients. What separates one litigator from another? What separates one real estate lawyer from another? What separates one matrimonial lawyer from another? How about medical malpractice lawyers, trusts and estates lawyers or criminal defense lawyers. Each of them wants to attract new clients and increase earnings. They may join clubs, donate time to public charities, support political leaders, speak at trade association meetings, and write articles they hope will cause their phones to ring and emails to flow into their computers. Yet, what if all those efforts fall short. What to do?

Divorce decree, gavel and folder shot on warm wooden surface

Arbitration May Be Warranted in Some Divorce Cases

By Carolyn R. Mirabile |

Often when clients hire an attorney they believe their issues are so difficult, they will most likely end up in court. But attorneys can provide alternatives to their clients. One such alternative for complex divorce or support issues is private arbitration. This alternative to court can be extremely beneficial to clients in a divorce.

PLW People in the News—Sept. 26—McNees Wallace & Nurick

McNees Wallace & Nurick attorney Kandice K. Hull was accepted into membership with the Litigation Counsel of America.

verdicts and settlements

Defense: Motorcyclist Caused Fatal Crash, Not Other Drivers

On May 5, 2014, plaintiff's decedent, Lawrence Paden Jr., 26, unemployed, was riding a motorcycle west on Manley Road in West Chester. At the same time, ahead of him, Kathryn Kelleher was stopped on the road, waiting to complete a left turn onto eastbound Marley Road from a driveway on Paden's left side.

The Lawyer Represents the Insured or the Person With the Problem, Not Both.

By Samuel C. Stretton |

I read your article about the independence of outside counsel versus in-house corporate counsel. I have seen more and more litigations are being handled in-house by insurance companies either through staff counsel or through "captured law firms," even though those firms might have the appearance of a private firm but they are owned by the insurance company. Is this ethical or does it create issues?

People in the News—Sept. 21—Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young

Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young ­attorney Karl S. Myers recorded a podcast for the American Bar Association titled, "Optimizing Technology for Appellate Practice."

verdicts and settlements

Poor Loading-Dock Procedures Cause Of Man's Accident

On May 28, 2015, Paul Michalec, 47, a chief engineer for a hotel, drove with a co-worker to American Supply Co. Inc., in Philadelphia. They were picking up materials to bring back to the hotel.

Capitol Report

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Sept. 18. The state Senate was continuing in session at press time; the Pennsylvania House of Representatives was set to return to session on Monday.

Reinvention Round Three: This Time as an Expert Witness

By Sandra Mazer Moss |

Reinventing yourself after retirement can take many forms. I morphed from a judge to an executive director of Temple's Sheller Center for Social Justice and then into an arbitrator/mediator for the Dispute Resolution Institute.

Superior Court Rules Unlisted Resident Driver Exclusion Is OK

By Max Mitchell |

A policy issued by Safe Auto Insurance Co. that excluded coverage for non-family members who live with the vehicle owner but were not specifically included in the policy is enforceable under the state's Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled.

Third Circuit Won't Rehear Wellbutrin 'Reverse Payment' Cases

By Zack Needles |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has let stand its August ruling upholding the dismissal of antitrust claims against GlaxoSmithKline.

State Rep Proposes New Disclosure Requirement for Insurers

By Victoria Hudgins |

Insurance groups practicing in Pennsylvania would be required to submit a corporate governance disclosure to the state’s regulator annually under a new law proposed by state Rep. Tina Pickett, R-Bradford.

Memo: Raise Audit Requirements for Charities' Financial Reports

By Victoria Hudgins |

A Pennsylvania state senator wants to increase the audit requirements for financial reports for charitable organizations.

Supreme Court Considers Limits on No-Bond Immigration Detention

By Rebecca Hufstader |

On the final day of the last Supreme Court term, the court listed two cases for reargument. Both had been argued prior to the nomination and confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch, and both were presumably tied, 4-4, as the term came to a close.

The Public Interest Calendar of Events

• On Monday, Sept. 25, the Support Center for Child Advocates (SCCA) will host its 12th annual golf classic, Swing for Change, at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. This event benefits the SCCA Project for Medically Needy Children, a ­critical program led by a staff attorney and social worker who team with specially trained volunteer lawyers to secure necessary medical treatment, special education, ­rehabilitation services and permanent nurturing homes for young clients that have serious or chronic medical needs. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and lunch is at 11 a.m. To register, visit

Josh J.T. Byrne

It's Not Your File! Actually, It Is Your Client's File

By Josh J.T. Byrne |

It is the stuff of attorney nightmares. You worked diligently for years for an ­ornery client, when the client comes into the office demanding her file so she can take it to her "new" lawyer. This ­situation generally involves a client who is unhappy with the work you did, perhaps even threatening to sue you for legal malpractice. Often the client owes fees or costs. The situation is always messy. The situation is stressful. A client may insist on receiving their file right then and there.

Decision to Coordinate Related Law Firm Disputes Upheld

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has upheld a trial judge's decision to coordinate several actions stemming from allegations of mishandled funds at the Harvey Pennington law firm.

retrieved 10/2015-   Geico sign in Miami, Fl.

Geico Can't Halt Bad-Faith Claim in UIM Case, Court Says

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Geico can't put the brakes on a bad-faith case stemming from underinsured motorist benefits a plaintiff says they are owed as part of a rear-end collision claim, a federal judge has ruled.

Court: Sexually Inappropriate Teacher's Reinstatement Violated Public Policy

By Ben Seal |

An arbitration award that reinstated a teacher accused of making repeated sexually explicit comments toward his female co-worker violated the public policy against sexual harassment and cannot be enforced, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

Commonwealth v. Bullock, PICS Case No. 17-1401 (Pa. Super. Aug. 31, 2017) Dubow, J. (30 pages).

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting defendant's extrajudicial statements to police and a nurse caring for an abused elder where the Commonwealth had already proffered sufficient evidence of the corpus delicti, or body of the crimes charged, to entitle the case to go to the trier of fact. The appellate court affirmed defendant's judgment of sentence.

Commonwealth v. Newsome, PICS Case No. 17-1399 (Pa. Super. Sept. 7, 2017) Elliott, J. (10 pages).

The trial court erred in granting defendant's omnibus pretrial motion to suppress a fireman defendant discarded in a flowerpot as he walked away from police where the totality of the circumstances established that defendant was not seized when initially encountered by police. The court reversed a suppression order and remanded for further proceedings.

Zajick v. The Cutler Group, Inc., PICS Case No. 17-1411 (Pa. Super. Aug. 31, 2017) Dubow, J. (8 pages).

Trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting summary judgment in favor of home building company in homeowner's UTPCPL claim over allegedly defective stucco because owner was not in privity with company and failed to establish that company made any representations about her specific home or the stucco upon which she could justifiably rely. Affirmed.

Cruz v. Wal-Mart Super Ctr., PICS Case No. 17-1406 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 29, 2017) Leeson, U.S.D.J. (7 pages).

Civil Rights Act claim failed where plaintiff failed to plead that defendant was a "public accommodation" under the act, or that he was denied service because his race, color, religion or national origin. Motion to dismiss granted, with prejudice in part and without prejudice in part.

King Drug Co. of Florence, Inc. v. Cephalon, Inc., PICS Case No. 17-1410 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 28, 2017) Goldberg, U.S.D.J. (23 pages).

Class certification denied where plaintiffs failed to satisfy numerosity requirement, as joinder of the proposed class members was not impractical due to cost and resource sharing through joinder mitigating the financial and logistical barriers to joinder. Motion for class certification denied.

California Univ. of Pa. v. Schackner et al, PICS Case No. 17-1400 (Pa. Commw. Aug. 22, 2017) Hearthway, J. (21 pages).

While the defendant university's inquiry into the collapse of an on-campus garage was ancillary to its public safety services and thus not a noncriminal investigation under Section 708(b)(17) of the Right-to-Know Law, the university was entitled to an in-camera review of certain documents that might be exempt from the law under attorney-client privilege. The court affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded.

Enslin v. The Coca-Cola Co., PICS Case No. 17-1407 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 29, 2017) Leeson, U.S.D.J. (14 pages).

Reconsideration of summary judgment denied where prior ruling based on express language of parties' contract, and where "newly discovered" evidence was accessible to party prior to summary judgment. Motion for reconsideration denied.

Ezrin v. Hospice Preferred Choice Inc. et al, PICS Case No. 17-1382 (C.P. Lackawanna Sept. 5, 2017) Nealon, J. (11 pages).

Plaintiff sufficiently alleged the actual or constructive knowledge element of a corporate negligence claim where he alleged that the defendant nursing home failed to adequately supervise its actual and ostensible agents and neglected to implement and enforce procedures to ensure the safety and care of its residents. The court overruled the defendants' preliminary objection.

Commonwealth v Perfetto, PICS Case No. 17-1405 (Pa. Super. Aug. 30, 2017) Ransom, J. (36 pages).

The compulsory joinder rule requiring joinder of DUI and summary traffic offenses did not apply in judicial districts that had separate traffic courts with exclusive and limited jurisdiction to dispose of summary offenses, which required DUI charges held for trial in general jurisdiction courts. Order of the trial court reversed.

In Re: Estate of Brumbaugh, PICS Case No. 17-1408 (Pa. Super. Sep. 6, 2017) Lazaurs, J. (15 pages).

Orphans' court did not err in denying photocopy of will to probate, where court credited forensic examiner's testimony indicating discrepancies with the photocopy raising questions of the document's authenticity, and found beneficiary's testimony of circumstances of finding photocopy not credible. Order of the orphans' court affirmed.

Nehme v. Churla, PICS Case No. 17-1387 (C.P. Lackawanna Sept. 8, 2017) Nealon, J. (9 pages).

The court dismissed a defendant's counterclaim for intentional infliction of emotional distress where the harassing and annoying conduct, including text messages, a frivolous lawsuit, and third-party contacts, did not constitute outrageous conduct.

Dodson v. Stroud, PICS Case No. 17-1381 (C.P. Berks Aug. 14, 2017) Lash, J. (9 pages).

While Pennsylvania had jurisdiction over the parties' two children who lived in North Carolina with their mother, the court declined to exercise jurisdiction over this custody dispute because North Carolina, where the children received significant medical care, was the more appropriate forum. The court granted mother's preliminary objection.

Phila. Dist. Attorney's Office v. Cwiek, PICS Case No. 17-1414 (Pa. Commw. Sept. 6, 2017) Brobson, J. (11 pages).

Trial court properly affirmed the OOR order that required the DAO to provide requester with a certified copy of a redacted CAD, which requester had provided to the DAO, under Section 904 of the RTKL but trial court erred in holding that a declaration made by the DAO satisfied the certification requirement because the declaration did not meet the standard of verifying the authenticity of the document. Affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Marshall v. Charlestown Twp. Bd. of Supervisors, PICS Case No. 17-1404 (Pa. Commw. Aug. 29, 2017) Hearthway, J. (16 pages).

Trial court erred in approving conditional use application for farm-to-table workshop program as an educational use, where the record supported the township's finding that education was an accessory use and the primary use was like that of a restaurant. Order of the trial court reversed.

Horst v. Union Carbide Corp., PICS Case No. 17-1384 (C.P. Lackawanna June 30, 2017) Nealon, J. (15 pages).

In this asbestos litigation, plaintiffs' wrongful death claim was time-barred because they failed to amend the complaint to include such a claim within two years of the date on which one of the plaintiffs was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

White v. Sunoco, Inc., PICS Case No. 17-1418 (3 Cir. Sept. 5, 2017) Chagares, J. (31 pages).

District court properly denied gasoline company's motion to compel arbitration in action brought by credit cardholder who alleged he did not receive the gas discount promised for the use of the credit card because company was not a third-party beneficiary of the credit card agreement and estoppel did not apply since there was no alleged "concerted action" and cardholder's claims did not rely on any terms in the credit card agreement. Affirmed.

Commonwealth v. Grove, PICS Case No. 17-1402 (Pa. Super. Aug. 31, 2017) Solano, J. (43 pages).

Defendant's contention that his 1978 conviction for criminal trespass did not constitute an "enumerated offense" under Section 6105 of the Uniform Firearms Act, thus barring him from owning a gun, was meritless; therefore, trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to raise the claim. The court affirmed an order denying defendant relief under the Post Conviction Relief Act.

Rodriguez v. Unemployment Compensation Bd. of Review, PICS Case No. 17-1415 (Pa. Commw. Sept. 7, 2017) Brobson, J. (16 pages).

Unemployment compensation board properly found that claimant did not meet her burden under the "follow the spouse" doctrine to show that circumstances beyond the control of the spouse caused the need to relocate when spouse accepted scholarship to study theology in Florida because spouse had been working in Pennsylvania, even if part time, and he had no offer of employment in Florida. Affirmed.

Haslam v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Bd. (London Grove Commc'n), PICS Case No. 17-1409 (Pa. Commw. Sep. 1, 2017) Hearthway, J. (13 pages).

Where relation of treatment to work-related injury appeared to be obvious, employer had burden to demonstrate that treatment was unrelated to or not caused by the work injury to avoid liability for treatment expenses. Order of the WCAB reversed.

Hughes v. Wilkes Barre Hosp., PICS Case No. 17-1385 (C.P. Lackawanna Aug. 14, 2017) Nealon, J. (43 pages).

Venue in this medical malpractice proceeding was proper in the county where some of the alleged negligent treatment occurred. Plaintiffs' complaint alleged sufficient details to support claims for corporate negligence and vicarious liability, but they did not allege sufficiently culpable conduct to support punitive damages claims as to all the defendants.

Whitaker v. Wetzel, PICS Case No. 17-1417 (Pa. Commw. Aug. 29, 2017) Cosgrove, J. (12 pages).

Trial court properly dismissed appellant prisoner's constitutional claims over the destruction of photographs that had been confiscated by prison mail room because they came from an unapproved vendor because his fundamental due process rights of notice and an opportunity to be heard were fully protected and to the extent he claimed the photographs were intentionally destroyed, those claims were properly dismissed and he never alleged negligence in the destruction of the photographs. Affirmed.

Commonwealth v. Hilliard, PICS Case No. 17-1403 (Pa. Super. Aug. 31, 2017) Dubow, J.; Fitzgerald, J., concurring (16 pages).

The trial court erred in granting defendant's petition for writ of habeas corpus based on a potential evidentiary challenge to a hearsay statement offered at defendant's preliminary hearing since the court was bound to consider such evidence in determining whether the Commonwealth established a prima facie case. The court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.

Haviland v. Kline & Specter, PICS Case No. 17-1389 (C.P. Philadelphia July 14, 2017) McInerney, S.J. (8 pages).

A neutral arbitrator was capable of being impartial and disinterested, so plaintiff's petition to remove the arbitrator was properly denied.

Oravic v. Target, PICS Case No. 17-1388 (C.P. Lackawanna Aug. 17, 2017) Nealon, J. (14 pages).

A former employee exhausted her administrative remedies with regard to a gender discrimination claim when she timely submitted a completed questionnaire, even though the agency refused to take action based on its erroneous belief that it did not have jurisdiction.

Guiffrida v. City of Scranton, PICS Case No. 17-1383 (C.P. Lackawanna Aug. 18, 2017) Nealon, J. (11 pages).

The court granted plaintiffs' request to amend their pleading in this class-action suit challenging the city of Scranton's rental registration fees since the amendment raised the same legal issue prompted by the original complaint and defendant failed to identify any prejudice it would suffer if the request was granted. The court granted plaintiffs' motion to amend.

The Law Offices of Joseph Q. Mirarchi Legal Serv., P.C. v. Thorpe, PICS Case No. 17-1413 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 29, 2017) Beetlestone, J. (17 pages).

Plaintiff's complaint seeking to recover legal fees from a contingency fee agreement to represent defendants in a dispute with their property insurer was dismissed with prejudice because a prior court had determined that plaintiff was not entitled to the legal fees since he was terminated for unlawful activity--the unauthorized practice of law and the failure to disclose his suspension to clients--and the current action asserting breach of contract, detrimental reliance, unjust enrichment and other claims against defendants and others was barred by the final judgment that foreclosed his equitable or legal rights to a contingency fee. Dismissed.

McNeil v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Bd., PICS Case No. 17-1412 (Pa. Commw. Sept. 1, 2017) McCullough, J. (16 pages).

Workers' compensation board properly affirmed the WCJ's dismissal of claimant's reinstatement petition because claimant failed to establish a causal connection between her current condition and her recognized work-related injuries, failed to comply with the special rules relating to the admissibility of a doctor's report and failed to establish a worsening of her condition subsequent to the termination of her benefits. Affirmed.

Torijano v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Bd., PICS Case No. 17-1416 (Pa. Commw. Aug. 30, 2017) Hearthway, J. (10 pages).

Board properly suspended claimant's benefits because employer established that claimant's loss of earnings was related to his voluntary quitting after he received a reprimand rather than to any factor related to his work injury. Affirmed.