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Pennsylvania Law Weekly News

Early Identification of Trade Secrets Is the Best Defense

By Kenneth Racowski |

Trade-secret litigation poses a problem distinct from other types of intellectual property litigation. In litigation over patents, copyrights and trademarks, the asserted intellectual property is publicly filed and its specific contours are clearly identified.

Legislation Would Hand Gaming Board Reins to Horse-Racing Industry

By Steven J. Silver |

More than three decades have passed since a thoroughbred named Affirmed captured the last Triple Crown in 1978. Nearly the same amount of time has gone by since Pennsylvania has made any significant changes to the 1981 Race Horse Industry Reform Act.

Application of Medical Records Act Argued in High Court

By Max Mitchell |

Arguments before the state Supreme Court in a case that is set to determine whether pharmacists have been overcharging attorneys for records focused on the 1998 amendments to the Medical Records Act, attorneys who attended the argument session said.

Employers Need to Review Severance Agreements

By David J. Walton and Jason A. Cabrera |

Severance and separation agreements between employers and departing employees are a standard device in labor and employment law, providing companies with some certainty against future legal claims and former employees with extra salary or benefits or both. But over the last few years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken aggressive action against severance agreements that may restrict the rights of former employees to file charges of discrimination with the agency.

Executive and Legislative Action for the Week of April 7, 2014

By John L. Kennedy |

Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of April 7. Members of the General Assembly are set to return to session April 28.

Senate OKs Measure to Ban Cash Gifts to Public Officials

By John L. Kennedy |

Two measures that would ban cash gifts to lawmakers and other public officials cleared the Senate.

House GOP Balks at Senate Change to Labor Anti-Intimidation Bill

By John L. Kennedy |

A bill that would eliminate a carve-out in the Crimes Code that some say creates a loophole for intimidating activity during labor strife has been amended by the state Senate in a way that alters its original intent, according to a spokesman for the Republican caucus of the state House of Representatives.

Jury Finds Loose Lug Nuts and Near-Crash Caused Injuries

According to the plaintiffs' pretrial memorandum, on Dec. 14, 2011, Perseberanda Espinal Santos brought her 2002 Ford Explorer to an Aamco Transmission Center in Easton, Pa., that is owned by defendant Zrams Inc.

Jury Sides With Doctor in Newspaper Defamation Suit

A Montgomery County jury has awarded an orthopedic surgeon $2 million, including $1 million in punitive damages, in a defamation suit against a local newspaper's former parent company and one of the paper's former reporters.

County Can't Cut Row Offices Without Government Study

By Max Mitchell |

A home rule charter county cannot seek to abolish elected offices and move them to appointed positions without first electing a government study commission to examine the proposed changes, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

Recusal in Med Mal Case Denied as Attempt to 'Judge Shop'

By Max Mitchell |

A Columbia County Court of Common Pleas judge won't recuse himself from overseeing a medical malpractice suit that involves a man whom the judge had prosecuted in his former role as district attorney.

Billboard Regulation: Proceed With Caution

By Blaine A. Lucas and Krista-Ann M. Staley |

Over the past several decades, as they have become increasingly common and conspicuous, billboards also have become a source of land use litigation in both state and federal courts. The legal issues implicated by their regulation are broad, and include First Amendment and exclusionary zoning claims. As a result, local governments seeking to control the location and style of billboards must be sure to navigate carefully when weighing a landowner's or an advertising company's interests against those of the general public.

A Line Must Be Drawn Regarding Trial Tactics

By Samuel C. Stretton |

Is it ethical to be very nasty to a witness or victim at a preliminary hearing for the purpose of having the victim overreact to the lawyer at trial when the lawyer is not treating him or her in the same mean way?

PLW - People in the News - April 15, 2014

The Conference of County Bar Leaders (CCBL) of the Pennsylvania Bar Association honored immediate past chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association Kathleen D. Wilkinson with its 2014 Gilbert Nurick Award.

With Fina in Spotlight, Kane in 'Sticky Situation'

By Max Mitchell |

While state Attorney General Kathleen Kane has been locked in high-profile litigation with the lawyers for ex-Penn State president Graham Spanier for more than a year, it now appears that both sides have at least one thing in common: They have both recently called into question the work of former Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina.

Lawyers Say Court Didn't Tip Its Hand on Act 13 Ruling

By Zack Needles |

The Commonwealth Court has yet to decide whether the remaining Act 13 amendments of 2009 to the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act can stand following the state Supreme Court's ruling invalidating several provisions as unconstitutional, but that hasn't stopped it from issuing a separate ruling interpreting its original jurisdiction under Act 13 in the meantime.

Swim Club Ordered To Pay for Dangerous Tree Near Property

According to the plaintiff's arbitration memorandum, on June 24, 2010, Maryann C. Dunlap, 70, was walking to her car, which was parked in the lower parking lot of the Ridley Park Swim Club, when a tree fell on her.

In Space-Heater Testing Suit, $6 Mil. Awarded to Company

A jury has awarded $6 million to a Pittsburgh company that claimed the China-based labs of a product-testing firm did not correctly test space heaters to ensure compliance with American safety standards.

Judge Seeks to Lessen Child Support That Exceeded Wages

By Max Mitchell |

A Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas judge has attempted to strike a balance between finding a delinquent father in contempt for willfully violating a child support order and being lenient because the payments exceeded the father's earnings.

Workers' Comp Doctors Must Treat Patients, Court Rules

By Zack Needles |

The Commonwealth Court has ruled in a case of first impression that doctors who perform impairment rating evaluations under the state Workers' Compensation Act must have a practice in which they treat or manage the care of patients for at least 20 hours a week.

Cases Transferred Between Firms Not Assets Under UFTA

By Zack Needles |

In a case of first impression, a Lehigh County trial judge has ruled that billable hour and contingency fee matters transferred from one firm to another are not "assets" under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.

Attorneys Prepared to Keep Waiting for Restatement Decision

By Max Mitchell |

It's been more than six months since the state Supreme Court heard oral arguments about whether to adopt the Restatement (Third) of Torts, and no decision appears to be forthcoming; however, attorneys who spoke with the Law Weekly say they aren't worried that the time gap is a signal of deadlock.

Medical Records Class Action Highlights Justices' Docket

By Max Mitchell |

The viability of a class action suit on behalf of attorneys alleging that they were being overcharged for pharmacy records by Rite Aid is one of several key cases set to be argued during the state Supreme Court oral argument session scheduled to begin today in Pittsburgh.