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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After the Bruno decision, where does professional judicial discipline stand in Pennsylvania?
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.
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.
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.
Two insurance companies' failure to consider negotiating a settlement in the face of a potential billion-dollar loss on behalf of an insured should be sufficient justification for the insured to settle its claims for $80 million without the consent of the carriers, an attorney representing Babcock & Wilcox argued last week before the state Supreme Court.
An insurance carrier should not be left unable to pursue litigation against a third-party tortfeasor if an injured party does not want to file suit, an attorney argued last Wednesday before the state Supreme Court in Pittsburgh.
Counsel for two restaurant owners told the state Supreme Court in Pittsburgh last week that a nearly 50-year-old case dealing with the definition of an insured in anomnibusinsurance policy's employer liability exemption is being applied too broadly, and the courts should have the discretion to interpret the precise language of the insurance policy at issue.
Although evidence suggested that a woman's husband may have been exposed to asbestos, it did not prove that the possible exposure was the cause of her mesothelioma, the state Superior Court has ruled.
A 1920s land deed reserving oil and gas rights on state game lands by using "ordinary means now in use" will not bar an energy company from accessing those resources by horizontal drilling from an adjacent property, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.
Employment law attorney Julie A. Uebler of Uebler Law LLC was elected chair of the board of directors of Women's Way for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
On March 8, 2012, plaintiff Daniel Contreras IV, 20, was contacted by his sister, Veronica DeJesus, regarding a family dispute outside their grandmother's beauty salon, located in the 3300 block of north Front Street in North Philadelphia.
On April 20, 2012, plaintiff Harriet Greenberg, 66, was driving a 2003 BMW sedan through an intersection at a shopping center at 1657 The Fairway, in Jenkintown, Pa. As she proceeded through the intersection, the front driver's side of her car was struck by the front of a Nissan Maxima driven by Katherine Stoever. Greenberg claimed that she suffered an injury to her left shoulder.
Following is a listing of legislative action for the week of Oct. 6. Members of the General Assembly are set to return to session Oct. 14.
The state House of Representatives is poised to approve SB 1180—which would establish a pharmaceutical database to prevent "doctor shopping"—without language supported by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, and some members on both sides of the aisle, that would require a search warrant to gain access to the database.
A lively second debate between Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf became tense Wednesday as Wolf sought to assign blame to Corbett for budget deficits and struggling schools while Corbett tried to frame Wolf as the candidate who will favor labor unions over taxpayers.
The state Senate Appropriations Committee amended HB 2420, a debt ceiling reduction bill covering capital projects, to place final say over what projects are chosen with the Commonwealth Financing Authority.
Is it permissible for a Pennsylvania lawyer to represent people in Delaware if the lawyer has local counsel or an office with a Delaware lawyer in it?
As a lawyer who practices in Philadelphia, I am concerned about the recent resignation of a Municipal Court judge and transfer of assignment of others. Was this done ethically?
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear the appeal of the Superior Court decision in Shedden v. Anadarko E&P, 88 A.3d 228 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2014), and its decision will have far-reaching implications for the constantly evolving relationship between landowners and producers in the state.
In the summer of 2004, while studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain, I received a puzzled look from my host padre, Joaquin, when I inquired about the tort system in Spain. After having interned at a personal injury law firm in Philadelphia the previous summer, I was curious about how the Spanish tort system operated.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court's fractured decision in Robinson Township v. Public Utility Commission, 83 A.3d 901 (Pa. 2013), has refocused attention on the Environmental Rights Amendment, Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Spurred by a number of state and federal court decisions over the past year, the issue of whether a previous award secured by an injured plaintiff can serve to preclude the plaintiff from seeking additional coverage from an underinsured motorist carrier on the same claims has become a hot topic in post-Koken auto accident litigation.
Preservation of key issues and its flip side—waiver—are major items on all appellate counsel's checklist. In Pennsylvania, ever since Dilliplaine v. Lehigh Valley Trust, 457 Pa. 255, 322 A.2d 114 (1974), abolished the "plain error" doctrine in civil litigation, appellate courts have increased the importance of waiver as an appellate issue.
When representing a corporation or other organizational entity in federal court, it is not uncommon to be presented with a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6) deposition request. There are many issues to consider when presented with this type of deposition notice.
Two multimillion-dollar insurance cases are expected to highlight the state Supreme Court's oral argument session set to kick off Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
Reaffirming that the General Assembly cannot make laws explicitly to overturn court rulings, the state Supreme Court has determined that a portion of a law granting retroactive tax exemptions to charter schools that appealed their prior tax assessments violated the separation of powers doctrine.
A proposed class of landowners who sued an oil and gas lease pooling company could not show how a transaction fee the company charged was improper, how the company engaged in the unauthorized practice of law or how the assignment of lease rights was a regulated security, the state Superior Court ruled in upholding the dismissal of the case.
State law aimed at curbing eminent domain abuse prevents a water authority from condemning land for the purpose of building a water and sewer facility that would be used by a private developer for a residential subdivision, the state Supreme Court has ruled.
The state Department of Environmental Protection has the authority to interpret the definition of "accident" under the Bituminous Coal Mine Safety Act and to issue violations if those accidents are not properly reported, the state Supreme Court has ruled.
Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti elected Keith R. Mason as a partner in its Pittsburgh office.
The maker of Adderall, Pennsylvania-based Shire Pharmaceuticals, has settled a whistleblower suit for $56.5 million in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
A bad-faith suit against Allstate Insurance Co. stemming from an auto-accident case that produced a $19.1 million verdict in Philadelphia has been settled for $22 million.
Following is a listing of legislative and executive action for the week of Sept. 29. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session Oct. 6.
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections recently received recognition from the U.S. Department of Justice's National Reentry Resource Center for its effort in reducing recidivism.
Can I represent clients from other states?
My practice has recently become unbearable. Clients text and email me constantly. Sometimes I think my entire day is spent texting and emailing. It has gotten to the point that I don't want to practice law anymore. What, ethically, can I do?
Several years ago, the American Bar Association identified more than 38,000 penalties, called collateral consequences, that can impact an offender convicted of a crime long after that offender has completed his or her sentence.
On a dreary Shabbat afternoon, I sat down and read the entirety of the much debated, applauded and excoriated Hobby Lobby Stores case. Since I support both freedom of religion and women's health issues, it occurred to me that I could read the brilliant opinions of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with complete objectivity.
On Sept. 18, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, along with Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., introduced the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act, or the LEADS Act, to amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2701-2712, to, inter alia, require providers served with a search warrant to disclose the materials sought by a warrant "regardless of where such contents may be," if the account holder at issue is "a United States person" and such disclosure will not "violate the laws of a foreign country."
As the energy industry in Pennsylvania has begun to mature, so has the legal industry supporting it, with more of the activity now centered on "midstream" work and litigation.
New rules that the state Supreme Court adopted governing the conduct of magisterial district judges should bring greater clarity regarding their conduct on and off the bench, and will bring the regulations more in line with the newly enacted Code of Judicial Conduct.
A divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled last week that a local municipality could tentatively approve a mixed-use development—known as planned residential developments—without requiring immediate disclosure of the exact nature of the buildings planned for the project.
The state Supreme Court has declined to hear arguments over whether a roofer's suit against a building owner stemming from a fall through a rare, antique skylight should be allowed to proceed under exceptions to the premises liability law.
References to a newly born grandchild that a decedent made in his 1930 will indicated that the proceeds from his trust must be distributed sometime in the future, the state Superior Court has ruled.
Malcolm L. MacGregor, a trial attorney and founding partner of McDonald & MacGregor in Scranton, Pa., was elected the 46th president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice.
A Philadelphia judge has ruled in a shareholder suit that an advertising company's corporate officers were liable for accepting for themselves $12 million in proceeds from the company's sale, rather than distributing it.
At about midnight on June 23, 2011, plaintiff James McKenna was at a bar in Philadelphia with his girlfriend, the plaintiff's pretrial memorandum said. McKenna attempted to purchase a drink for an acquaintance who was at the bar with defendant Jesse O'Shea, a police officer with the Philadelphia Police Department, the memo said. O'Shea told McKenna that "neither his company nor his offer to buy a drink was wanted," the memo said. O'Shea then identified himself as a police officer and demanded McKenna leave the bar.
Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Sept. 22. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session Sept. 29.
The state House of Representatives amended legislation that would give any individual or group standing to challenge local gun-control ordinances.
The results of a new poll show Gov. Tom Corbett has made up little ground, if any, on Democratic challenger Tom Wolf in the gubernatorial race.
A recent trend in personal injury matters has involved each litigant turning up the heat in their attempt to gather information to discredit the opposing party's medical expert and expose that witness as biased in favor of the offering party.
It's election time, and our business clients should view this as an opportunity. Nowadays, any mundane business issue—from land development and taxation to product packaging and worker benefits—can mean dealing with local government, which usually means coping with predatory local politics.
When Maryland introduced America's first workers' compensation statute in 1902, the rights of injured workers were on the verge of changing forever.
The state House of Representatives approved a measure that would make optional riparian buffers and riparian forest buffers, which can minimize pollution from erosion.
Employment wage-and-hour and FLSA litigation have been booming on all three coasts of the United States, and Pennsylvania has not been immune to the uptick.
New rules ramping up the training and education requirements of masters in juvenile courts should help to bring some much-needed uniformity to the juvenile justice system, members of the legal community told the Law Weekly.
Evidence that a dangerous crime occurred anywhere in the Steamtown Mall parking garage provided a sufficient basis to dismiss the mall's argument that it had no duty to ensure the safety of a business invitee who was injured during an alleged carjacking attempt, the state Superior Court has ruled.
The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on whether an endorsement of a union president candidate by the nonprofit corporation that administers benefits for the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police was an improper use of public money and violated the group's articles of incorporation and bylaws.
An injured worker cannot be compensated for the holistic Ayurvedic medical treatment she underwent in India because it was not done through the referral or under the supervision of a licensed Pennsylvania health care practitioner, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.
Mary H. Binker joined Babst Calland as an associate in the firm's business services and energy and natural resources groups.
An Allegheny County jury has awarded nearly $16 million to a woman who sustained a severe brain injury in an auto accident while on her way to the rehearsal dinner for her daughter's wedding.
According to the plaintiffs' pretrial memorandum, on Aug. 20, 2010, John Cancelleri, 83, retired, was driving a Mercury Sable south along Route 307 in Spring Brook Township, Pa., when a Ford Mustang traveling north made a left turn. The Mustang struck Cancelleri's vehicle in a head-on collision, the memo said. Cancelleri's vehicle was equipped with a driver's-side airbag, but it did not deploy.
Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Sept. 15. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Sept. 22.
The state House of Representatives Finance Committee on Sept. 15 approved two bills that would cap and reduce the state's debt limit, one over objections of some Democrats on the committee who argued it would hamper the state's response to certain emergencies.
State Treasurer Rob McCord extended a $1.5 billion line of credit to Pennsylvania, though he and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale were critical of the need for it.
Can a county bar association pay the membership fees for the judges of its court of common pleas and magistrate judges who are also attorneys and also pay their costs for the various bar association social functions?
Two federal district court decisions issued this summer have brought clarity to the question of whether Pennsylvania law bars strict liability and implied warranty claims against pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers.
Safety on college campuses, particularly how schools prevent and respond to sexual assaults, has been a dominant issue in 2014.
In this column principally revolving around attorney civil liability, it is clear that the law of lawyering is unique. That is, a successful defense or prosecution of an action in legal malpractice or other form of attorney liability requires more than just a sophisticated understanding of the necessary elements of that cause of action (including the case-within-the-case) and how general procedural and substantive issues are practically applied.
An attorney representing the Pennsylvania insurance commissioner argued before the state Supreme Court that when considering a rehabilitator's plan to liquidate an insurance carrier, the courts should defer to the experts.
Allowing the costs associated with retaining counsel to count as an ascertainable loss under the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law would lead to a "cottage industry" of "private attorneys general," an attorney representing a car rental company argued before the state Supreme Court in Philadelphia last week.
A critic of the Lehigh County district attorney has been asked by a lawyer for the DA not to destroy documents related to statements the critic made on a talk radio program.
A party joined in a case as an involuntary plaintiff is not immune to counterclaims brought by a defendant, the state Superior Court has ruled.
Counsel for a radiology practice argued before the state Supreme Court last week that medical equipment, including MRI and CT machines, software and the electricity used to power the equipment, qualify for the manufacturing exclusion under the Tax Reform Code.
Divorce attorney Brian C. Vertz, partner of family law firm Pollock Begg Komar Glasser & Vertz, was elected secretary of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML).
On March 11, 2010, plaintiff Bruce Roemer, 54, a contractor-painter, was driving a pickup truck westward along Oxford Valley Road in Falls Township, when the side of his vehicle was struck by an SUV being driven along Trenton Road by Patricia Cattani, according to court documents. Cattani's vehicle was owned by Cattani's Beverages Inc., doing business as Cattani's US 1 Beer. The plaintiffs' memo said Roemer sustained fractures, back and neck soft-tissue injuries and permanent traumatic brain injury.
On July 23, 2012, a laborer, whose suit was filed on behalf of plaintiff Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, was hired by MPW Industrial Services Inc., a provider of industrial cleaning, facility management and labor support services, in Dravosburg, Pa.
Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Sept. 8. Members of the General Assembly were scheduled to return to session Sept. 15.
The Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System is one of the three most inequitable in the country, according to a recent study by the Washington-based Urban Institute.
A client came to my office on a domestic case and we met for an hour. The client then chose to hire someone else. Can my firm represent the spouse of that client?
I am considering running for judicial office in Pennsylvania in 2015. Under the new Code of Judicial Conduct, what can I say or not say during the judicial campaign?
Consider the following hypothetical scenario: Tom and Ann get married in their early twenties and have a child, Ben. Unfortunately, shortly after Ben is born, Tom and Ann get divorced and they agree to have a week on/week off shared physical custody schedule of Ben. Tom remarries Diane, who serves as an involved step-parent to Ben on the weeks when Ben is living in their household.
When the state Supreme Court ordered the attorney general to produce discoverable documents in the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission corruption cases earlier this month, Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille said that office still needs to review approximately 30 million subpoenaed electronic documents for privilege purposes before turning them over to the defendants.
Intuitively, one can appreciate that if an individual is otherwise inclined to harm another through bad behavior, having the cover of a job as a medical professional or medical support staff in a hospital seems like an opportunity to commit the perfect crime. By working in a hospital setting, the so-called bad actor would have two built-in advantages to execute his or her crimes.
Whether or not Cozen O'Connor will be able to forgive the $450,000 in legal bills U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, D-Pa., racked up during a failed mayoral bid in 2007 is the highlight case on the docket for the state Supreme Court's oral argument session in Philadelphia this week.
Relying on the state Supreme Court's recent interpretation of Act 13, a Lycoming County judge has denied an energy company's bid to construct an oil and gas well pad in the county.
The state Superior Court has reaffirmed that the mortgage registry MERS has the authority to assign a mortgage.
Although the language of an insurance clause rejecting underinsured motorist coverage was legally sufficient, it failed to specify whether the cancellation applied to subsequent policies, the state Superior Court has ruled.
The state Superior Court has revived a malicious prosecution suit brought by a couple that had been accused of stealing gasoline from a Schuylkill County minimart.
Michael K. Reer joined Babst Calland as an associate in the firm's energy and natural resources and environmental services groups.
On April 23, 2012, plaintiff Kirsten Robinson, a nurse's aide in her mid-20s, was driving a sedan that was stopped on Montgomery Avenue at the intersection of Gay Street, in West Chester, when she was rear-ended by a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Ashlee Palmer.
According to a pretrial memorandum from the plaintiffs, 54-year-old plaintiff Debbie McAdams exited a taxicab at Ninth Street and Washington Avenue in the Italian Market in Philadelphia. As she walked on the sidewalk outside M&L Donuts, which was owned by defendants Michael Chan and Linda Ma Chan, McAdams, who was working as an assistant bank manager, tripped and fell. McAdams allegedly sustained a hand injury.
Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Sept. 1. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Sept. 15.
State Rep. John Taylor, R-Philadelphia, announced he will introduce legislation that would decriminalize the purchase of out-of-state wine and liquor.
State Rep. Todd Stephens, R-Montgomery, said he is urging his colleagues to strengthen the Crimes Code in the wake of a Pennsylvania Superior Court ruling that declared many of the state's mandatory minimum sentencing provisions unconstitutional.
Calculations of the statute of limitations for causes of action arising from attorney neglect are in flux.
Last month, the Pennsylvania Superior Court in Commonwealth v. Newman, No. 1980 EDA 2012, ruled that the imposition of a mandatory minimum sentence by a judge, not a jury, relating to the use of a gun in a drug transaction is unconstitutional.
Just recently, the press has reported on two examples of floating home projects motivated, at least in part, by demonstrating adaptation to sea-level rise.
Subsequent home buyers may not sue for breach of an implied warranty of habitability, the state Supreme Court has ruled.
The uphill battle defendants faced when trying to get their cases moved from a plaintiff's chosen venue has been leveled somewhat thanks to the state Supreme Court's decision last month in Bratic v. Rubendall, according to attorneys who spoke with the Law Weekly.
The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear argument on whether a plaintiff may state a claim for vicarious liability against a hospital for the alleged conduct of an emergency room doctor by pointing out that she was part of an emergency response team and had not previously treated the patient.
The state Supreme Court has declined to hear argument on whether online commenters have a constitutional right to falsely attribute nonsatirical postings to someone with direct connection to the subject matter.
Attorney Loren L. Speziale, a partner at Gross McGinley, was appointed to the Bethlehem Human Relations Commission.
According to court documents, on Nov. 19, 2009, Brian Mark Patton, a 37-year-old Pennsylvania resident who worked as a corrections officer but was serving a tour of duty as a reservist for the U.S. Navy, was driving an SUV along a two-lane road in Kuwait with David Morgan, who was also a corrections officer serving a tour of duty, as passenger.
According to a pretrial memorandum from the plaintiffs, on Aug. 31, 2010, Robert Smith was treated at the renal department of the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Following is a listing of legislative and judicial action for the week of Aug. 25. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Sept. 15.
Scranton's pension system is on a path to running out of funds in three to five years, according to an audit performed by the office of Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.
Attorney General Kathleen Kane has issued administrative subpoenas throughout the shale industry in Pennsylvania, according to a story published on Capitolwire.com.
What are the responsibilities of a judicial officer to report another judge or lawyer for professional misconduct?
As attorneys, we would like to believe that we are members of a civilized and high-brow profession. And why shouldn't we? Our clients bicker, fight and can't stand each other. Then, they hire us to civilly negotiate their claims in their stead, and authorize us to take the case to trial only if those negotiations fail.
It's back-to-school season, but it doesn't just have to be a time of wonderment and curiosity for students; it can also be a time when you as an attorney with communications responsibilities for your firm or organization can get geared up to learn new things.
In Boston Scientific v. Lee, No. 1:13-cv-13156-DJC (N.D. Cal. August 4, 2014), the court addressed two areas of e-discovery of particular interest: the need for cooperation in conducting e-discovery successfully, and the digital forensic investigative steps frequently taken when a high-level employee leaves a company to start or join a rival and is suspected of taking with him or her important intellectual property—what I refer to as "departing employee triage," or DET.
A quality-of-care review conducted by a plaintiff's health insurance carrier to evaluate an orthopedic surgeon in a medical malpractice action will not be barred from discovery under the Peer Review Protection Act, a trial court judge has ruled.
When Virginia resident Morgan Lee Hanks' Mitsubishi Pajero collided with the Dodge Durango driven by Pennsylvania native Brian Mark Patton, who died in the accident, the ensuing motor vehicle litigation was anything but ordinary.
The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on whether a lease entitles an oil and gas company to a 62-acre property, despite the fact that the lease was entered into when the landowners only had title to half the property and payment only covered 31 acres.
A health care company was not barred from arguing in a workers' compensation action that a former employee was acting outside the course of his employment, even though the company had admitted in a previous civil action that the former employee had been acting in the course of his employment, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.
Actions to compel judgment on mechanic's liens must be filed separately from the liens themselves, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled, affirming both case law on the issue and the trial court's opinion.
Stevens & Lee shareholder Linda R. Evers' appointment to serve on the board of directors of the Sustainable Energy Fund was approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
On Dec. 1, 2010, plaintiff Anthony Kenney, a self-employed car detailer in his late 30s, was driving on Federal Street in the North Side of Pittsburgh, when he turned onto Lafayette Avenue and was pulled over by an unmarked police car.
On March 31, 2011, plaintiff Joseph Ragan, 31, an independent salesperson for third-party energy suppliers, was accessing his basement at 10031 Westbourne Place in Northeast Philadelphia. Ragan leased the property from Kathleen Dragoni and Thomas Garofolo III. Ragan alleged that as he descended the basement stairway, he grasped the wooden railing and in doing so it unhinged, which caused him to fall down the stairs, approximately 12 steps. Ragan claimed that he suffered a spine injury.
Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Aug. 18. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Sept. 15.
The state Department of Health announced that it has updated its handling of complaints related to fracking in the Marcellus Shale region.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission appealed a Commonwealth Court ruling that stripped it of its authority to review local government ordinances under the oil and gas law, Act 13 of 2012.
In an electronic closing, the standard jury trial is flashed before the jurors exactly as the judge charges. All exhibits, particularly photos or videos, are displayed to the jury. The lawyer's comments are written and published to the jury. The lawyer speaks them, but many times is looking at a computer when doing so.
On July 23, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board issued Regulatory Notice 2014-12, requesting comment on its proposed revisions to Draft Rule G-42, concerning the standards of conduct and duties of municipal advisers. The MSRB's changes to the rule incorporate many of the comments previously received from the public, the effect of which would be to substantially relax the duties owed by municipal advisers to their municipal entity clients.
On March 10, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a decision in Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States, 134 S. Ct. 1257 (2013), addressing whether the federal government retains any interest in railroad rights-of-way that were created by the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875, 43 U.S.C. § 934 et seq.
A company that was previously found to be in contempt of a federal judge's order to stop selling patent-infringing electrical wire connectors has been ordered to pay the plaintiff patent holder about $1.5 million in attorney fees after the parties could not reach an agreement on an appropriate amount.
Section 34.1 of the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Lease Act was enacted July 9, 2013, and has received heavy scrutiny since its enactment based on the misperception that it permits unfettered, "forced pooling" by oil and gas developers.
Lawrence (Skip) Persick of Lamb McErlane was elected to the council of the Pennsylvania Bar Association's (PBA) family law section and to the section's rules committee.
Years of discovery delays and dodges have led to the dismissal of a case against PNC Bank as a sanction.
An attorney who declined to undergo a chemical test following his arrest for allegedly driving under the influence will still lose his driver's license for a year, even though he offered to alternatively take breathalyzer and urinalysis tests, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.
The city of Pittsburgh's failure to show that reducing a fire captain's workers' compensation benefits would not cause financial hardship does not mean the city cannot reduce the benefits to recoup prior payments, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.
According to the pretrial memorandum of plaintiff Frank Jazlovietcki, he was driving northbound along Brookwood Drive near the intersection with Street Road in Bensalem on April 21, 2012, when the passenger-side door was struck by a vehicle owned by defendant Garda CL Atlantic Inc. and operated by defendant Kevin Moss. Moss was traveling west along Street Road. The memo said Moss entered under a red light, and that the Garda vehicle weighed approximately seven tons.
According to the plaintiff's amended complaint, on Jan. 7, 2011, plaintiff Ernest Soreth, 57, turned himself in at the Bucks County Correctional Facility, at the direction of his parole officer. After sitting in his cell for about 13 minutes, he felt severe chest pain and fell to the floor, the complaint said
Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Aug. 11. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Sept. 15.
Legislation introduced in the state Senate would give the state's district attorneys the authority to investigate construction employers' wage-and-hour practices, specifically complaints that some are misclassifying workers in order to gain an unfair competitive advantage.
State Rep. Gordon Denlinger, R-Lancaster, introduced HB 2439, which would roll back Pennsylvania's version of Common Core educational standards adopted by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission last November.
Hill Wallack partner Michael J. Shavel was named executive vice president of the Bucks County Council, Boy Scouts of America.
Do you want to retire and sell your firm? Do you want to slow down and let another attorney take over all the headaches associated with running your firm? Are you a partner in a megafirm who has decided that it's time to spend more time with the grandkids?
In an article published in the Law Weekly on July 21 titled "Deep Pockets Gone With Joint and Several Liability Repeal," Max Mitchell reviewed changes made in 2011 to the comparative negligence statute, 42 Pa. C. S. Section 7102 (2011), and interviewed several practicing attorneys who provided their views that these amendments may have dire consequences for economic recovery by consumer victims against multiple tortfeasors.
The meteoric development of the Marcellus Shale is staggering. Since 2004, nearly 7,800 unconventional gas wells have been drilled throughout Pennsylvania. One of the stark realities of this unprecedented growth is that pipeline capacity has not kept pace. There are more active wells than active pipelines.
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.
The tough economic decisions associated with taking limited-tort cases have led to a drop in the number of limited-tort filings, attorneys from around the state have told the Law Weekly.
Plaintiffs in a rollover case should have been able to introduce evidence contesting a theory of injury that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration disavowed in 2009, the plaintiffs' attorney argued before an en banc Superior Court panel in Philadelphia last week.
Two recently installed presidents of defense bar organizations—the Pennsylvania Defense Institute and the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel—said they will devote their terms to mentoring and recruiting younger members to their ranks.
A cab company will not be liable for a driver punching and kicking a passenger who was being restrained after trying to skip out on paying the fare, the state Superior Court has ruled.
Following federal case law interpreting two statutes on the enforcement of foreign and out-of-state judgments, the state Superior Court has ruled that a foreign judgment cannot be valid without first being recognized by state courts.
Thomas J. Jennings, a partner in Hill Wallack's Yardley, Pa., office, was appointed to the President's Advisory Council at Delaware Valley College, an independent, interdisciplinary college in Doylestown, Pa.
A woman who sustained a traumatic brain injury after being rear-ended by a Verizon bucket truck driver—who was on a cellphone while driving—settled her suit against the company for $3 million.
On April 30, 2012, plaintiff Patricia Frantz, an event specialist in her 70s, underwent a cataract phacoemulsification with insertion of an intraocular lens to her right eye, which was performed by ophthalmologist Dr. Ramakumar Gounder at The Waterfront Surgery Center in Homestead, Pa.
Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Aug. 4. Members of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Sept. 15.
A recent federal court ruling that the FBI engaged in gender discrimination in its physical fitness requirements should help the Pennsylvania State Police defend its standards against a July 31 complaint by the Department of Justice, legal experts said.
State House of Representatives leadership decided not to call members back to Harrisburg for a scheduled Aug. 4 session day to vote on legislation allowing Philadelphia to impose a $2-a-pack tax on cigarettes to raise money for the school district.
If a party is on the witness stand, can the attorney who presents the witness speak to the witness when he or she begins cross-examination?
We are essentially sitting in the waiting room regarding some important issues pending before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Anyone who reads my material with any regularity knows, for example, that I (and more than a few products liability colleagues) await a ruling on the application of the Restatement (Third) of Torts. And that's just one example of the issues on which we eagerly await resolution.
This summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a new proposal to reduce greenhouse gas, or GHG, emissions by regulating, on a state-by-state basis, how and where electricity is generated. Under its Clean Power Plan, the EPA has proposed new emissions standards and guidelines for states to accomplish targeted reductions in GHG emissions.
In the mostly uncertain world of personal injury law, one thing is for sure: There is no such thing as having seen it all. The seemingly straightforward rear-end motor vehicle accident will inevitably lead us on twists and turns we never expected. Our clients and other witnesses will never testify as expected. We will often be caught off-guard by the unknown crimen falsi conviction, the undisclosed prior injury or the neutral witness who contradicts our client's testimony.
Scandals involving judges allegedly engaging in favoritism rear up in the Pennsylvania court system every few years, but attorneys who spoke with the Law Weekly said judicial favoritism is not widespread.
Reducing backlog is a priority in all court systems, but a program aimed at efficiency in Franklin County had some attorneys crying foul that efforts to move cases along potentially threatened their clients' rights.
An automobile insurance carrier's failure to adjust the cost of an insured's medical bills resulted in the premature exhaustion of her first-party benefits, a common pleas court judge has ruled in allowing her claim to go forward against the insurer.
A filing that included an attorney's name and address was sufficient to give notice regarding a change of attorney, the state Superior Court has ruled.
A bad-faith suit against an insurance company can go forward, a Monroe County judge has ruled, despite the fact that the money the plaintiff claims is owed stems from an annuity and not an insurance policy.
Hill Wallack partner Timothy J. Duffy was appointed to the executive committee of the Bucks County Republican Committee.
Representatives of the estate of a cellular infrastructure technician who died after falling 10 stories from a Philadelphia rooftop settled with several defendants for a total of $4.45 million.
According to the pretrial memorandum from plaintiff Charles Patterson, on Sept. 4, 2010, Patterson was driving a vehicle, with his wife, Annette Patterson, as a passenger, near Gilbert and Rugby streets in Philadelphia.
Following is a listing of legislative and executive action for the week of July 28. The state House of Representatives is scheduled to return to session Aug. 4; both houses of the General Assembly are scheduled to return to session Sept. 15.
Democrats in both houses of the General Assembly have simultaneously introduced legislation, called the "Patient Trust Act," that would prohibit the enforcement of laws that require health care professionals to provide patients with medically inaccurate information that advances a legislative or political agenda.
The state's monopoly on liquor sales faces an unrelenting challenge from some quarters in the General Assembly. In the latest round, state Rep. Stephen Bloom, R-Cumberland, introduced legislation, HB 2426, that would require the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to make it clear that their liquor advertisements are funded with taxpayer dollars.
I tried a jury trial recently and it is clear the judge radically disagreed with the jury's decision based on the judge's demeanor and comments. Is that a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct?
Last month, the Michigan Supreme Court decided that Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 2455 (2012), the U.S. Supreme Court decision that makes mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles unconstitutional, should not be applied retroactively.
In Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie, 189 L.Ed. 2d 430 (2014), a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court held that the warrantless searches of the contents of cellphones seized from a person were not proper as searches incident to arrest and so, absent exigent circumstances particular to the matter, they were a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
As our nation's economy continues to grow globally, lawsuits involving international parties will rise accordingly. For the courts of Pennsylvania, this means that more cases will require an inquiry as to whether a foreign forum is more appropriate for hearing a given case.
Despite a contract that fails to comply with a consumer protection law, a contractor will still be able to pursue a claim under the quasi-contract theories of quantum meruit, the state Supreme Court has ruled.
The state Supreme Court has held that governmental immunity protections do not extend to a register of wills for alleged violations of bonding requirements.
An insurance company in liquidation does not need to continue paying out on a policy that was terminated before liquidation proceedings commenced but had provided for ongoing coverage, the state Supreme Court has ruled.
The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear argument on whether a man under house arrest is eligible for unemployment benefits.
Christina D. Frangiosa was appointed vice chair of the trademarks and unfair competition division of the American Bar Association's section of intellectual property law (ABA-IPL) for the upcoming 2014-15 membership year.
A Pennsylvania federal judge granted final approval of a $130 million settlement in an antitrust suit between independent truck-stop owners on one side and trucker fleet payment card company Comdata Inc. and three national truck-stop chains on the other.
According to the plaintiff's complaint, on Nov. 16, 2010, plaintiff Elsie Carraghan was driving a sedan south along Kings Highway in Lehigh County when her vehicle was struck head-on by a vehicle being driven by Kim Coleen Ruppert.
Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of July 21. Members of the state House of Representatives are set to return Aug. 4; state Senate members are set to return Sept. 15.
Moody's Investors Service lowered Pennsylvania's credit rating last week, and the news became instant fodder for both Democrats and Republicans in a gubernatorial election year.
The Corbett administration has agreed not to sign any new natural gas leases for drilling on state land until a ruling on the use of the funds raised through the leases is rendered by the Commonwealth Court.
Can judges provide letters of reference for clerks under the new Code of Conduct?
Can a judge consult with another judge or expert when deciding a case?
Devastating work injuries are impossible to predict, leaving disabled employees anxiously searching for affordable medical care and financial assistance during the time they are out of work.
Lately, the words "balanced budget" in Pennsylvania resemble more of a punch line to a joke than a realistic goal.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Gov. Tom Corbett began a statewide tour and with it his re-election campaign, immediately after signing the state budget July 10.
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.
I am a district judge who also has a law practice. Can I still continue to serve as an executor?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Throughout Pennsylvania, landowners are continuing to experience sticker shock when they open their royalty statements related to gas drilling.
The growth of the domestic shale industry has presented new challenges and opportunities. Despite the industry's consistent pursuit of environmental stewardship, it has faced lawsuits on multiple fronts—both in courts and before state administrative environmental appeal bodies.
Educating state senators about the possible impact of slashing state judgeships was a key factor in persuading legislators to reject making the cuts, lawyers and state Senate officials said.
A deed that conveyed "surface" and "surface soil" and explicitly reserved the rights to any coal found on the property still conveyed the subsurface oil and gas rights to the deed holder, the state Superior Court has ruled.