Pennsylvania Law Weekly News

Three children in silhouette

Victim Interviewer's Notes Might Be Discoverable, Court Rules

By Gina Passarella |

The state Superior Court has ordered a more thorough review by the trial court of whether a center that interviewed child sex-abuse victims could be shielded from having to turn over related documents in the criminal trial of the alleged abuser.


Biteless Prior Incident Enough for Punitives Claim in Dog-Bite Case

By Max Mitchell |

A common pleas court judge will allow a plaintiff in a dog-bite case to pursue punitive damages based on alleged notice of vicious propensity, even though the dogs had not bitten anyone before the incident.

Samuel Stretton

The proposed judicial conduct rules would impact judges’ ability to serve as executor

By Samuel C. Stretton |

I am a district judge who also has a law practice. Can I still continue to serve as an executor?

Kenneth L. Racowski

A Primer on Pennsylvania Annuity Case Law

By Kenneth L. Racowsk |

Annuities have historically been a popular retirement investment option. In particular, variable annuities, which combine an insurance policy and mutual funds, can provide tax-deferred retirement savings, upside growth with downside protection and guaranteed income throughout the holder's lifetime.

empty pockets

Deep Pockets Gone With Joint and Several Liability Repeal

By Max Mitchell |

Attorney John W. Zotter of Zimmer Kunz in Pittsburgh represented two trucking companies that were involved in separate multivehicle accidents in the summer of 2011.

Scott A. Coffina

President's Recess Appointments Struck Down in Noel Canning

By Scott A. Coffina |

Last month's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting President Obama's January 2012 recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board came at a delicate time, with a debate raging between the president and Congress over the limits of the president's executive authority.


Justices Take Up Deadline for Post-Enactment Appeals

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear argument on whether a defective notice of enactment of a zoning and land development ordinance triggered a 30-day window for filing appeals regarding defects that occurred when the ordinances were initially passed by the zoning board.

verdicts and settlements

Soccer Prospect Awarded for Botched Bowel Procedure

A college soccer star once weeks away from going to Colombia on a contract to play professionally was awarded $3.34 million for injuries he suffered after a botched groin surgery that put an end to his athletic career

J. Alexander Hershey

Supreme Court Diminishes the Role of Prudential Standing

By J. Alexander Hershey |

The U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous decision in Lexmark International v. Static Control Components, 134 S. Ct. 1377 (March 25, 2014), is noteworthy for resolving a split among the circuit courts.

Legislators Consider Possible Response to Funding Cuts

Legislative leaders are mulling their options after Gov. Tom Corbett wiped $65 million from programs and other spending earmarked for use by the General Assembly when he signed the state budget.

Corbett Ramps Up Re-election Efforts

Gov. Tom Corbett began a statewide tour and with it his re-election campaign, immediately after signing the state budget July 10.

Recent Action

Following is a listing of executive, legislative and judiciary action for the week of July 14. The state House of Representatives is set to return to session Aug. 4; the state Senate is set to return Sept. 15.

verdicts and settlements

Jury Awards Plaintiff In Admitted Rear-End Collision

According to the plaintiff's pretrial memorandum, Michael B. Clark, who was 66 at the time and had formerly worked as a lineman at PPL, was driving east along Blakeslee Boulevard when he stopped to make a left turn onto Mall Lane in Mahoning Township, Pa.

PLW - People in the News - July 22, 2014

Hill Wallack partner Denise M. Bowman was named chair of the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce's board of directors for the 2014-15 term.

Ex-Solicitor Must Repay Arbitrator Fee to County

By Max Mitchell |

Money a county paid its solicitor for acting as interest arbitrator in a labor dispute will have to be repaid to the county, despite a resolution the county adopted agreeing to pay the attorney for the work, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

gavel, scale, and law book

Conduct Board Increasingly Focusing on Demeanor Violations

By Max Mitchell |

Misconduct charges that the Judicial Conduct Board brought against an Erie County judge last week highlight a growing trend of judges facing increasing scrutiny for demeanor- and behavior-based offenses, lawyers familiar with the disciplinary system said.

Drug Overdose Immunity Bill in Limbo

One of the bills overlooked in the frenzy of the final budget approval in Harrisburg would provide immunity for those who witness a drug overdose and seek emergency help.

Fate of Philadelphia Cigarette Tax Uncertain

It's unclear if state House of Representatives members will return to Harrisburg before the scheduled date of Sept. 15 to vote on legislation that would allow Philadelphia to enact a $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes. The city needs the money to fund its schools, which may not open on time without the additional funding.

Recent Action

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of July 7. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to Harrisburg on Sept. 15.

Doctor's Claim Against Act 13 Confidentiality Dismissed

By Max Mitchell |

A doctor's claim that sections of Act 13 regarding the confidentiality of chemical compositions of fluids used in hydraulic fracturing hindered his ability to treat patients has been dismissed.

Charlotte E. Thomas

Community Colleges Not Subject to UTPCPL

By Charlotte E. Thomas |

It only stands to reason, yet it took almost 12 years and repeated appeals for the final determination by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Meyer v. Community College of Beaver County, No. 22 WAP 2012, 2014 Pa. LEXIS 1524 (Pa. June 16, 2014), ruling that Pennsylvania's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law does not apply to community colleges as political subdivision agencies.

David G. Mandelbaum

Carbon Emissions, the Supreme Court and Business Opportunity

By David G. Mandelbaum |

The past few weeks have been full of developments in the regulation of greenhouse gas, or GHG, emissions under the Clean Air Act. Like all rulemaking that matters, GHG regulation creates winners and losers.

verdicts and settlements

Man Awarded After Hand Was Crushed In Printing Press

On Oct. 24, 2011, plaintiff Phillip R. Smith, who was in his 50s, finished greasing an offset printing press that had been designed, manufactured and installed by Manugraph Dauphin Graphic Machines, according to the plaintiff's pretrial memorandum

Justices to Mull Ex Post Facto Sentencing Guidelines

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has taken up the issue of whether a defendant should be sentenced under guidelines in place when a victim was attacked or when the victim died from the injuries nearly 15 years later.

Samuel Stretton

Lawyers should not be disqualified based on the appearance of impropriety

By Samuel C. Stretton |

It seems that more and more disqualification motions are being filed against lawyers as part of litigation strategy or tactics. Is there a problem, and why is this occurring? Should there be a better system to evaluate these disqualification motions?

PLW - People in the News - July 15, 2014

Andrew H. Ralston Jr., a partner at Gross McGinley, was appointed to the board of directors of the Hamilton District Main Street Program, a community development project of the Allentown Chamber of Commerce.

Steven Silver

Anticipated Changes to Pennsylvania Gaming Put on Back Burner

By Steve Silver |

Lately, the words "balanced budget" in Pennsylvania resemble more of a punch line to a joke than a realistic goal.

verdicts and settlements

Jury Awards No Damages In Dragonetti Action

Blank Rome and longtime client St. Luke's University Health Network were each found by a jury to have improperly sued family members of two former patients who had sued the hospital over allegations a former nurse killed their loved ones, but the firm and health system were not assessed any damages.

Justices Won't Hear Venue Dispute in Legal Mal, Bad-Faith Suit

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court has declined to hear argument in a case that raised the issue of whether a firm's reference on its website to accommodating clients in Philadelphia and the surrounding area showed that the firm had enough business in the city to keep a legal malpractice case in Philadelphia courts.

Imposing Defense Costs on Offender Off-Limits in Sentencing

By Max Mitchell |

Trial courts may not require criminal defendants to pay for their use of a public defender as part of their sentence, the state Superior Court has ruled.