This Week's Cases

Marra v. Lipsky, PICS Case No. 15-0605 (C.P. Northampton Feb. 23, 2015) Beltrami, J. (18 pages).

Plaintiffs' request for punitive damages was sustained based on the allegation that the defendant attorney represented a third party in the purchase of real property while plaintiff was still his client and a party to a contract with the seller.

Zaleski v. Donegal Ins. Group, PICS Case No. 15-0599 (C.P. Monroe Feb. 6, 2015) Williamson, J. (6 pages).

In light of decedent's nearly instantaneous death, the existence of hospital, medical and burial expenses, testimony regarding the loss of decedent's guidance and services and the Department of Revenue's lack of formal objection or appearance, the court approved allocation of the proceeds at 85 percent to the wrongful death action and 15 percent to a survival action. Petition for approval of settlement granted.

AAL Inv., LLC v. Tsioles, PICS Case No. 15-0570 (Pa. Super. April 7, 2015) (memorandum) Olson, J. (11 pages).

The trial court properly found that plaintiff's claims arising out of an asset purchase agreement were subject to compulsory arbitration, pursuant to a clause in the agreement. Appeal quashed.

Taylor v. Extendicare Health Facilities, Inc., PICS Case No. 15-0582 (Pa. Super. April2, 2015) Bowes, J. (22 pages).

Trial court correctly refused to compel arbitration of survival action and wrongful death action brought by co-executors after their decedent allegedly died of negligence in health care facility even though an arbitration agreement had been executed on decedent's behalf. Affirmed.

Zarenkiewicz v. Lefkowitz, PICS Case No. 15-0585 (Pa. Super. April 9, 2015) (memorandum) Gantman, P.J. (9 pages).

Trial court properly transferred legal malpractice action from Philadelphia County to Bucks County on the basis of improper venue because both appellant and appellee were residents of Bucks County, the underlying child custody action took place in Bucks County, and appellee's use of a conference room in a real estate office in Northeast Philadelphia did not constitute "regularly conducting business." Affirmed.

Ashley Dev. Corp. v. PPL Elec. Util. Corp., PICS Case No. 15-0571 (Pa. Super. March 27, 2015) (memorandum) Jenkins, J. (12 pages).

The trial court did not err when it instructed the jury that, as a matter of law, plaintiff's tender of a promissory note was not a "payment" in accordance with the parties' agreement of sale. Affirmed.

Indep. Enter., Inc. v. JD Fields & Co., Inc., PICS Case No. 15-0576 (Pa. Super. March 26, 2015) (memorandum) Mundy, J. (24 pages).

Appellee-plaintiff was not required to submit expert testimony with respect to the issues appellee experienced with appellant defendant's product because the testimony did not involve any technical issues beyond a layperson's understanding. Judgment affirmed.

Kuruvila v. Rajaratnam, PICS Case No. 15-0580 (Pa. Super. April 6, 2015) (memorandum) Olson, J. (24 pages).

The court ruled that an accounting claim was not barred by the gist of the action doctrine in conjunction with a breach of contract claim. Affirmed in part and vacated in part.

Siluk v Merwin, PICS Case No. 15-0597 (3rd Cir. April 10, 2015) McKee, C.J. (36 pages).

The Third Circuit majority, addressing an issue of first impression that has split the courts of appeal, adopted the sequential recoupment rule, concluding that under 28 U.S.C. §1915 of the PLRA, only 20 percent of a prisoner's monthly income for filing fees may be recouped, regardless of how many civil actions or appeals the prisoner elects to pursue. Petition to combine payments granted.

Croce v. West Chester Sch. Dist., PICS Case No. 15-0593 (E.D. Pa. April 8, 2015) Smith, J. (9 pages).

To prevail on a claim that a school district was responsible for a "state-created danger," in violation of plaintiff's right to bodily integrity under the Due Process Clause and 42 U.S.C. §1983, a student athlete must establish a "direct causal link" between the alleged policy and a constitutional violation, and that the school district acted with "deliberate indifference" to his rights. Defense motion for summary judgment granted.

Gray v. Great Valley Sch. Dist., PICS Case No. 15-0594 (E.D. Pa. April 6, 2015) DuBois, J. (23 pages).

Allegations that a school nurse and a social worker strip searched a high school student suspected of using drugs could be sufficient to allege a violation of the student's rights under the Fourth Amendment. Defendants' motion to dismiss granted in part and denied in part.

Rosati v. Colello, PICS Case No. 15-0596 (E.D. Pa. April 2, 2015) Dalzell, J. (23 pages).

Unnecessary derogatory comments do not rise to the level of adverse employment actions and a sergeant's comments to a pregnant officer, including asking whether she was "getting fixed" or "keeping the baby," were not adverse employment actions for claims of employment discrimination based on sex or hostile work environment. Summary judgment granted to defendants.

Jackson v. Hoopes Turf Farm, PICS Case No. 15-0595 (M.D. Pa. April 7, 2015) Brann, J. (23 pages).

Summary judgment was denied on allegations that a company owner created a hostile-work environment, because he allegedly talked to employee about sex with his wife, asked worker to stay the night and complained that worker had played "hard to get."

Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Crane, PICS Case No. 15-0611 (Pa. Jan. 29, 2015) per curiam (56 pages).

Attorney who engaged in serial neglect of cases he solicited, coupled with his record of misconduct, was suspended from practicing law in the commonwealth for three years.

Mohney v. Am. Gen. Life Ins. Co., PICS Case No. 15-0540 (Pa. Super. March 20, 2015) (memorandum) Donohue, J. (29 pages).

Trial court erred in finding that insurance company did not act in bad faith in determining that appellant was not totally disabled because the record showed that company's investigation was not sufficiently thorough and the company's understanding of the term "totally disabled" was fundamentally at odds with Pennsylvania case law. Vacated and remanded.

Westerholm v. Berry, PICS Case No. 15-0557 (C.P. Monroe Dec. 16, 2014) Mark, J. (7 pages).

Given the obvious danger of using gasoline to ignite flammable material, defendant-property owner had no duty to warn injured plaintiff-business invitee, who therefore failed to establish an essential element of a prima facie case of negligence. Defendant's motion for summary judgment granted.

In re The Thirty-Fifth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, PICS Case No. 15-0534 (Pa. March 31, 2015) Saylor, C.J.; Todd, J., dissenting (35 pages).

The court ruled that the power to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate alleged breaches of grand jury secrecy by commonwealth attorneys were part of a supervising judge's inherent, implied and/or incidental powers with respect to the grand jury. Quo warranto relief denied.

Hennessey v. Rom, PICS Case No. 15-0533 (Pa. Super. March 20, 2015) (memorandum) Bowes, J. (17 pages).

A personal guarantee by appellant for a second loan from appellee for appellant's business was supported by consideration where funds were needed to pay urgent business expenses. Judgment affirmed.

Bank of N.Y. Mellon v. Chughtai, PICS Case No. 15-0528 (Pa. Super. March 20, 2015) (memorandum) Lazarus, J. (14 pages).

Mortgage Foreclosure Action • Recorded Assignment • Prerequisite to Legal Action

Commonwealth v. Dougalewicz, PICS Case No. 15-0530 (Pa. Super. March 30, 2015) Musmanno, J. (20 pages).

While a state magisterial district judge did not have authority to grant police two search warrants to obtain stored electronic communications from defendant's phone accounts, neither state nor federal law provided for the exclusion of such unlawfully accessed evidence at trial. Affirmed.

Silvagni v. Shorr, PICS Case No. 15-0542 (Pa. Super. March 27, 2015) Lazarus, J. (12 pages).

Trial court properly granted summary judgment in favor of law firm in malpractice action over allegedly incorrect advice given in a workers' compensation case. Affirmed.

Greco v. Bernback, PICS Case No. 15-0532 (Pa. Super. March 23, 2015) (memorandum) Ford Elliott, P.J. (8 pages).

The trial court did not err in expanding its confidentiality order to discussion of the facts that gave rise to the parties' litigation, where the Superior Court's order directing the inclusion of a "gag order" did not dictate any language to be included. Order of the trial court affirmed.

Alzheimer's Inst. of Am. v. Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, PICS Case No. 15-0562 (E.D. Pa. March 30, 2015) Savage, J. (6 pages).

A "prevailing party" may, in an exceptional case, be entitled to attorney fees. Defense motion for attorney fees in patent infringement case granted.

Mercantanti v. WCI Operations LLC, PICS Case No. 15-0561 (E.D. Pa. March 31, 2015) DuBois, J. (13 pages).

A 54-year-old woman failed to produce evidence that would lead a reasonable fact-finder to either disbelieve defendant's legitimate reason for discharging her as banquet manager or to believe that an invidious discriminatory reason was more likely than not the but-for cause of defendant's action. Summary judgment granted.

Menkin v. U.S., PICS Case No. 15-0560 (E.D. Pa. April 1, 2015) Bartle, J. (18 pages).

The FTCA's discretionary function exception did not apply to shield the government from the claims of an elderly air traveler injured in a fall at an airport security checkpoint after being required to surrender her cane for screening. Motions to dismiss and for summary judgment denied.

Columbia Gas Transmission v. 10.5068 Acres, PICS Case No. 15-0558 (M.D. Pa. March 31, 2015) Conner, J. (15 pages).

To condemn property or an easement, a natural gas company must establish: (1) it possesses a FERC certificate of public convenience; (2) the easement is necessary for the construction, operation and maintenance of a pipeline; and (3) it has been unable to acquire the proposed easement from the owner.

Johnston v. Univ. of Pittsburgh, PICS Case No. 15-0559 (W.D. Pa. March 31, 2015) Gibson, J. (44 pages).

In this case of first impression, the court determined that a public university that receives federal funds did not unlawfully discriminate, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause and Title IX, when it enforced the use of single-sex facilities and locker rooms based solely on birth sex. University's motion to dismiss granted.

Rothberg v. AAA Mid-Atlantic Ins. Grp., PICS Case No. 15-0553 (C.P. Montgomery March 5, 2015) Smyth, J. (5 pages).

Plaintiff's and defendant's preliminary objections were dismissed as untimely, but the court also struck plaintiff's attorney's improper verification that was raised by defendant's preliminary objections.

Office of the Constable v. Dep't. of Transp., PICS Case No. 15-0541 (Pa. Commw. March 30, 2015) Simpson, J. (14 pages).

PennDOT was entitled to recall the certificates of title of two vehicles registered in the name of petitioner's office as constable because a constable had no authority to title a vehicle on behalf of the political subdivision for which he worked. Affirmed.

In the Matter of Conrad, PICS Case No. 15-0563 (Del. March 17, 2015) per curiam (10 pages).

Attorney who had been suspended from the bar based on a criminal conviction for alcohol-related crimes was reinstated after seeking treatment for his alcoholism.

Kneller v. Stewart, PICS Case No. 15-0531 (Pa. Commw. March 30, 2015) Colins, J. (5 pages).

The Commonwealth Court lacked jurisdiction over this case because it does not have jurisdiction to issue mandamus to a court of inferior jurisdiction absent a pending appeal, and exclusive jurisdiction over such a mandamus action lay in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Preliminary objection sustained.

Commonwealth v. Davis, PICS Case No. 15-0551 (C.P. Lehigh Jan. 20, 2015) Ford, J. (14 pages).

Because the commonwealth failed to demonstrate that defendant was apprised of his Miranda rights and waived them, all statements defendant made during the custodial interrogation were inadmissible at trial.

Mount Pocono Motel Inc. v. Tuscarora Wayne Ins. Co., PICS Case No. 15-0555 (C.P. Monroe Jan. 13, 2015) Williamson, J. (8 pages).

Because the language in the commercial insurance policy issued to plaintiffs clearly and unambiguously excluded coverage for bodily injury and property damage caused by exposure to fungi and bacteria, including mold, defendant had no duty to defend plaintiffs in the underlying tort action filed by a renter who claimed to have been injured by mold in the room he rented. Defendant's motion for summary judgment granted.

Commonwealth v. Lagreca, PICS Case No. 15-0550 (C.P. Lehigh Jan. 8, 2015) Steinberg, J. (11 pages).

Trial evidence supported appellant's conviction for harassment based on appellant's phone call to a nursing home in which he threatened a nurse's aide regarding his parents' care.

Mauceri v. First Nat'l Bank of Pa., PICS Case No. 15-0556 (C.P. Monroe Jan. 12, 2015) Zulick, J. (11 pages).

Plaintiffs' judgments against property owners were valid liens and although the liens were docketed after the judicial sale hearing, they were on public record prior to sale and plaintiffs were entitled to notice and an opportunity for a hearing prior to the liens being discharged. Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment in this quiet title action granted.

Shields v. Borough of Braddock, PICS Case No. 15-0539 (Pa. Commw. March 27, 2015) Cohn Jubelirer, J. (13 pages).

Trial court did not err or abuse its discretion in dismissing former solicitor's complaint alleging the illegality of mayor's vote to break the tie in the council on the motion to remove him from office because, pursuant to §1003 of the Borough Code, the mayor had the express authority to cast the tie-breaking vote regarding the borough solicitor position. Affirmed.

Keystone Freight Corp. v. Gamburg, PICS Case No. 15-0536 (Pa. Super. March 24, 2015) (memorandum) Panella, J. (11 pages).

The trial court's holding in favor of appellant in its wrongful use of civil proceedings action was not improper where appellee counsel had a reasonable belief that his client's comparative negligence did not outweigh appellant's in the underlying personal injury action. Order of the trial court affirmed.

Leonard v. Leonard, PICS Case No. 15-0549 (C.P. Monroe Dec. 11, 2014) Zulick, J. (7 pages).

Father was required to pay child support for his college-age child until age 21 in addition to 50 percent of her college expenses pursuant to the parties' marital settlement agreement.

Pocono Cmty. Theater v. Monroe Cnty. Bd. of Assessment Appeals, PICS Case No. 15-0554 (C.P. Monroe Dec. 31, 2014) Zulick, J. (16 pages).

Pocono Community Theater did not qualify as a charitable entity entitled to a real estate tax exemption because its charitable and educational activities were not a sufficient portion of its services. Plaintiff's appeal from the denial of an exemption denied.

Fortwangler v. Workers' Comp. Appeal Bd., PICS Case No. 15-0537 (Pa. Commw. March 31, 2015) McCullough, J. (15 pages).

The court ruled that claimant failed to present evidence to support her understanding of the terms of settlement agreement, and there was no consideration for employer's waiver of its future subrogation rights, the WCAB did not err in reversing a WCJ's order for review of compensation benefits. Order of the WCAB affirmed.

Long v. Bureau of Prof'l and Occupational Affairs, PICS Case No. 15-0538 (Pa. Commw. March 30, 2015) Colins, S.J. (10 Pages).

State Board of Podiatry correctly denied the license reinstatement petition submitted by a podiatrist who had been convicted of murder in the third degree because petitioner was guilty of a crime of moral turpitude and failed to establish his rehabilitation. Affirmed.

Vision Inv. Props., LLC v. Lattin, PICS Case No. 15-0552 (C.P. Lycoming March 5, 2015) Anderson, Judge, J. (4 pages).

Plaintiff was entitled to specific performance of an agreement of sale after paying plaintiff's tax lien.

777 L.L.P. v. Luzerne Cnty. Tax Claim Bureau, PICS Case No. 15-0527 (Pa. Commw. March 30, 2015) McCullough, J. (14 pages).

The Luzerne County Tax Claim Bureau did not make reasonable efforts to locate petitioner's proper address, as required by §607.1(a) of the Real Estate Tax Sale Law, so as to provide notice to petitioner of a pending judicial tax sale. Affirmed.

Burns v. Blair Cnty., PICS Case No. 15-0535 (Pa. Commw. March 31, 2015) McGinley, J. (23 pages).

The court ruled that the real property exception to governmental immunity was unavailable where appellee-plaintiff alleged that the negligence of appellant-defendant's county officials created an unsafe situation that enabled the criminal and tortious act of a third-party. Order of the trial court reversed.

Borough of Walnutport v. Dennis, PICS Case No. 15-0529 (Pa. Commw. March 30, 2015) Simpson, J. (27 pages).

The criteria used by the Borough of Walnutport to classify those local properties excluded from a garbage removal services fee were rational and constitutionally permissible. Affirmed.

Brentwood Borough Sch. Dist. v. HSBC Bank USA, N.A., PICS Case No. 15-0495 (Pa. Commw. March 24, 2015) McGinley, J. (15 pages).

In this case of first impression, since the real property at issue was "vacant property" at the time of a tax sale, petitioner was required to seek redemption within 90 days of the acknowledgment of the sheriff's deed in order to invoke the right of redemption under the Municipal Claims and Tax Liens Act. Affirmed.

Kemp v. Mut. Benefit Ins. Co., PICS Case No. 15-0517 (C.P. Monroe Jan. 14, 2015) Williamson J. (7 pages).

In this action to obtain UM/UIM coverage and bad-faith damages, although defendant-insurer would be prejudiced by joining the bad faith and contractual claims during trial, those concerns did not outweigh the countervailing interests of avoiding piecemeal litigation and delay. Defendant's motion to sever the bad faith claims granted.

Commonwealth v. Simpson, PICS Case No. 15-0487 (Pa. March 25, 2015) Todd, J.; Saylor, C.J., dissenting (21 pages).

Appellant's trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to call a rebuttal witness to discredit a commonwealth witness as having bias and prejudice against appellant, where the PCRA court credibly testified that she harbored no bias or ill will toward appellant. Order of the PCRA court affirmed.

In the Interest of L.Z., PICS Case No. 15-0481 (Pa. March 25, 2015) Baer, J. (38 pages).

Superior Court erred and violated its standard of review in rejecting trial court's factual determinations that child abuse victim suffered serious physical injuries and physical neglect and in holding that the presumption in 23 Pa.C.S. §6381(d) did not apply to the case because mother offered no testimony to rebut it. Reversed and trial court order reinstated.

Am. Fed'n of State, Cnty. and Mun. Employees v. PLRB, PICS Case No. 15-0492 (Pa. March 25, 2015) Saylor, C.J. (25 pages).

A local workforce investment board did not act as a county agency when it sought competitive bids and contracted with private entities for Title I and Employment Advancement and Retention Network services previously provided by county agency employees. Affirmed.

Brady v. Urbas, PICS Case No. 15-0494 (Pa. March 25, 2015) Saylor, C.J. (13 pages).

The Superior Court properly ruled that in a malpractice claim that only asserts negligence, and not lack of informed consent, evidence that a patient agreed to proceed with an operation in spite of disclosed risks was irrelevant and should be excluded. Affirmed.

Commonwealth v. Zeigler, PICS Case No. 15-0489 (Pa. Super. March 20, 2015) Bowes, J. (14 pages).

Appellant had a non-frivolous issue on appeal where there was an issue of whether appellant was either convicted or had a juvenile adjudication of delinquency for a prior armed robbery, which could affect the grading of appellant's offense and legality of his probationary sentence. Matter remanded for further proceedings.

Commonwealth v. Devries, PICS Case No. 15-0486 (Pa. Super. March 20, 2015) Ott, J. (14 pages).

Where jury did not differentiate which of the four elements of escape as a felony it found to convict appellant, and because the deadly weapon enhancement was not available where possession of a deadly weapon was an element of the offense, the enhancement was not applicable to appellant's conviction for escape as a felony. Affirmed in part, reversed in part.

Commonwealth v. Beaufort, PICS Case No. 15-0485 (Pa. Super. March 24, 2015) Strassburger, J. (4 pages).

The court ruled that because appellant sought a new trial in the court of common pleas following his DUI conviction in the municipal court, the issue of whether the municipal court erred in denying appellant's motion to dismiss under the prompt trial rule became moot. Judgement of sentence affirmed.

Commonwealth v. Smerconish, PICS Case No. 15-0488 (Pa. Super. March 24, 2015) Stabile, J. (13 pages).

Restoration of Firearm Rights • Expungement of Mental Health Records • Sufficient Evidence for Involuntary Commitment

Krepps v. Snyder, PICS Case No. 15-0482 (Pa. Super. March 24, 2015) Shogan, J. (27 pages).

Two Schools of Thought Doctrine • Amputation • Evidence • Admissions • Standard of Care

Davis v. Fidelity Nat'l Ins. Co., PICS Case No. 15-0480 (Pa. Super. March 18, 2015) (memorandum) Ott, J. (68 pages).

Title Insurance • Lost Profits • Punitive Damages • Bad Faith • Attorney Fees

Derry St. Pub, Inc. v. Pa. State Police, PICS Case No. 15-0490 (Pa. Commw. March 24, 2015) McCullough, J. (31 pages).

Liquor License • Non-Renewal of Liquor License • Effective Term of Conditional License Agreement

Wise v. Unemployment Comp. Bd. of Review, PICS Case No. 15-0493 (Pa. Commw. March 25, 2015) Leavitt, J. (13 pages).

Unemployment Compensation • Eligibility • Voluntary Resignation • Necessitous and Compelling Reason

Little v. Workers' Comp. Appeal Bd., PICS Case No. 15-0483 (Pa. Commw. March 25, 2015) Simpson, J. (17 pages).

Workers' Compensation • Return to Pre-Injury Position • Residual Impairment • Occupational Asthma

525 Lancaster Ave. Apts., LP v. Berks Cnty. Bd. of Assessment Appeals, PICS Case No. 15-0491 (Pa. Commw. March 20, 2015) Leadbetter, J. (20 pages).

Real Estate Tax • Interim Assessment • Revitalization Abatement Program • Appeal Process

Atlantic Community Bankers Bank, Inc. v. Daniels, PICS Case No. 15-0450 (Pa. Super. March 18, 2015) (memorandum) Jenkins, J. (23 pages).

The trial court properly enjoined plaintiffs from prosecuting defendants before the American Arbitration Association since plaintiffs' unjust enrichment and New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act claims did not arise out of plaintiffs' employment agreements, which contained an arbitration clause. Affirmed.

Hench v. Nace, PICS Case No. 15-0516 (C.P. Perry Sept. 8, 2014) Zanic, J. (4 pages).

County Auditors • Sheriff's Records • Firearms' Licenses

Laing v. D.E. & S. Properties Inc., PICS Case No. 15-0514 (C.P. Monroe Jan. 12, 2015) Williamson, J. (5 pages).

New Home Construction • Breach of Contract • Breach of Implied Warranty

Commonwealth v. Thomas, PICS Case No. 15-0512 (C.P. Berks March 2, 2015) Yatron, J. (5 pages).

Evidence • Motion To Suppress • Search and Seizure

Echavarria v. Echavarria, PICS Case No. 15-0511 (C.P. Monroe Jan. 26, 2015) Harlacher Sibum, J. (10 pages).

Post-Nuptial Agreement • Uniform Written Obligations Act

Pellecia v. Chen, PICS Case No. 15-0509 (C.P. Monroe Feb. 12, 2015) Zulick, J. (18 pages).

Standard of Care • Expert Witnesses • Character Evidence • Witness Credibility

Cicardo v. Mangual, PICS Case No. 15-0508 (C.P. Monroe Jan. 22, 2015) Zulick, J. (6 pages).

Motor Vehicles • Personal Injury • Social Host Liability

In re Estate of Haffner, PICS Case No. 15-0515 (C.P. Monroe Jan. 16, 2015) Williamson, J. (13 pages).

Estate Accountings • Executor Commissions • Charitable Trusts

In re Actiq Sales and Mktg. Practices Litig., PICS Case No. 15-0521 (E.D. Pa. March 23, 2015) Tucker, J. (39 pages).

If individualized factual inquiries are required of prescribing doctors, a drug manufacturer and third-party payors, questions of law or fact common to class members may not predominate over questions that affect only individuals. Absent proof of predominance, a court denied a motion to certify a class action alleging that a manufacturer was unjustly enriched in the amount of $698 million.

Segal v. Zieleniec, PICS Case No. 15-0524 (E.D. Pa. March 24, 2015) Rufe, J. (9 pages).

Claims arising from the funding of loans to Israeli borrowers through trust agreements could not be dismissed as time-barred when the complaint did not permit the conclusion that Pennsylvania's discovery rule did not apply or when the cause of injury was known or reasonably knowable. Motion to dismiss granted and denied in part.

Robinson v. Phelan, Hallinan & Schmieg, LLP, PICS Case No. 15-0523 (E.D. Pa. March 25, 2015) Rufe, J. (8 pages).

Leave was granted to amend a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claim brought against a law firm representing a mortgage servicer where the proposed amendment sufficiently alleged that a letter from the firm was a false statement of plaintiff's repayment obligations. Motion for leave to file a second amended complaint was granted and motion to dismiss the first amended complaint was denied as moot.

In re Avandia Mktg., Sales Practices and Prod. Liab. Litig., PICS Case No.15-0522 (E.D. Pa. March 24, 2015) Rufe, J. (9 pages).

A plaintiff may not prevail on a claim that a drug manufacturer's failure to warn constituted a proximate cause of plaintiff's injury from alleged side effects, if plaintiff's physician admits that, if presented with a similar patient today, he would prescribe the same drug. Summary judgment granted to defendant.

Earley v. Gatehouse Media Pa. Holdings, PICS Case No. 15-0520 (M.D. Pa. March 13, 2015) Mannion, J. (9 pages).

To prevail on actual malice, a plaintiff must prove that statements were made with reckless disregard for the truth, such that defendant entertained serious doubt as to the truth. Motion to dismiss allegations of defamation and false light invasion of privacy granted.

Flenke v. Huntington, PICS Case No. 15-0446 (Pa. Super. March 17, 2015) Stabile, J. (14 pages).

The court ruled that additional evidence of appellee-defendant's expert witness' financial incentives to provide a biased and favorable opinion for appellee was properly admitted. Judgment affirmed.

Commonwealth v. Capaldi, PICS Case No. 15-0452 (Pa. Super. March 17, 2015) Stabile, J. (7 pages).

Defendant's post-sentence motion for nunc pro tunc relief did not toll his appeal period where the trial court may have impliedly granted his nunc pro tunc request, but did not expressly do so. Appeal quashed.

Commonwealth v. Carter, PICS Case No 15-0443 (Pa. Super. March 19, 2015) Ford Elliott, P.J. (8 pages).

The court ruled that it was not erroneous for the trial court to permit expert testimony regarding children's response to sexual assault, where the expert testified generally to how children respond to sexual assault and why they delay in reporting assault. Judgment of sentence affirmed.

In re Adoption of C.D.R., PICS Case No. 15-0448 (Pa. Super. March 17, 2015) Stabile, J. (16 pages).

Involuntary termination of mother's parental rights was proper where mother's repeated incarceration, inconsistent participation in CYS services, and apparent abandonment of reunification efforts demonstrated an inability for mother to remedy her incapacity to parent. Order of the trial court affirmed.

Gurley v. Janssen Pharm., Inc., PICS Case No. 15-0447 (Pa. Super. March 16, 2015) Platt, J. (22 pages).

The court ruled that appellants' state-law failure to warn of risk claim was not preempted by federal pharmaceutical manufacture regulations. Judgment affirmed.

Robinson v. LLEM Corp., PICS Case No. 15-0442 (Pa. Super. March 12, 2015) (memorandum) Olson, J. (13 pages).

Trial court properly found against appellant in quiet title action based on deeds in lieu of foreclosure. Affirmed.

Miller v. Absolute Realty LLC, PICS Case No. 15-0455 (Pa. Super. March 17, 2015) (memorandum) Lazarus, J. (11 pages).

Trial court did not abuse its discretion in instructing the jury, in the wording of the jury verdict form and in providing documents in response to a jury question in house buyer's action against realty company and real estate agent. Affirmed

Wygant v. Gen. Elec. Co., PICS Case No. 15-0443 (Pa. Super. March 19, 2015) Bowes, J. (15 pages).

Statute of Limitations • Wrongful Death • Asbestos-Related Cases

In re Perelman, PICS Case No. 15-0439 (Pa. Super. March 17, 2015) Wecht, J. (26 pages).

Discovery • Standing • Charitable Trusts

Estate of Cherry, PICS Case No. 15-0445 (Pa. Super. March 17, 2015) Wecht, J. (14 pages).

Probate • Injunction of Sale of Personal or Real Property • Interlocutory Appeal

Commonwealth v. Thompson, PICS Case No. 15-0444 (Pa. Commw. March 12, 2015) Colins, J. (8 pages).

Disturbing the Peace • Unconstitutionally Vague Statute • Notice of Prohibited Conduct

Pittsburgh v. Fraternal Order of Police, PICS Case No. 15-0313 (Pa. Commw. March 12, 2015) Leavitt, J. (13 pages).

Collective Bargaining Agreements • Act 111 Grievance • Arbitrator's Jurisdiction

Ebersole v. Southeastern Pa. Transp. Auth., PICS Case No. 15-0440 (Pa. Commw. March 12, 2015) Leavitt, J. (12 pages).

Wrongful Death • Non-Pecuniary Losses • Sovereign Immunity Act

Commonwealth v. Mara, PICS Case No. 15-0463 (C.P. Monroe Dec. 26, 2014) Zulick, J. (11 pages).

Bankruptcy • Default Judgment • Service of Process

Commonwealth v. Savage, PICS Case No. 15-0460 (C.P. Lehigh Jan. 28, 2015) Ford, J. (11 pages).

Motor Vehicles • Homicide By Vehicle • Involuntary Manslaughter • Reckless Endangerment

Commonwealth v. Quinn, PICS Case No. 15-0467 (C.P. Lehigh Jan. 2, 2015) Steinberg, J. (18 pages).

Motor Vehicles • Search and Seizure • Miranda Warnings

Commonwealth v. Evans, PICS Case No. 15-0469 (C.P. Lawrence Feb. 20, 2015) Piccione, J. (19 pages).

Search and Seizure • Avoiding Apprehension • Careless/Reckless Driving • CDS

Clavell v. Brown, PICS Case No. 15-0462 (C.P. Monroe Nov. 25, 2014) Zulick, J. (6 pages).

Corporate Negligence • Employer Liability

Kepner v. Kepner, PICS Case No. 15-0464 (C.P. Monroe Feb. 5, 2015) Williamson, J. (7 pages).

Contracts • Breach • Intentional Misrepresentation • Fraud

Wilson v. Secretary, Pa. Dep't of Corrections, PICS Case No. 15-0473 (3d Cir. March 16, 2015) Hardiman, J. (18 pages).

As a matter of first impression, the district court had jurisdiction to adjudicate a Rule 60(b) motion after a petitioner was issued a writ of habeas corpus and did not err in requiring the petitioner to exhaust in state court the new speedy trial claims raised therein. Judgment affirmed.

Harrison v. DelGuerico's Wrecking & Salvage Inc., PICS Case No. 15-0472 (E.D. Pa. March 18, 2015) Kelly, J. (11 pages).

Plaintiff, who identified company workers who allegedly worked more than 40 hours per week for defendant, met burden for conditional certification of collective action for failure to pay overtime. Motion granted.

Jodlowska v. Soar Corp., PICS Case No. 15-0470 (E.D. Pa. March 17, 2015) Bartle, J. (9 pages).

In an employment case in which issues are not novel or legally complex, a court can reduce attorney fees it awards to the prevailing party 50 percent as a result of overstaffing and 10 percent for partial success. Motion for attorney fees in the amount of $135,900 granted.

Immordino v. Bucks Cnty. Community College, PICS Case No. 15-0471 (E.D. Pa. March 18, 2015) Hart, J. (11 pages).

A court can reduce the amount of fees awarded to a prevailing party as a result of overstaffing and partial success. Attorney fees of $135,880 awarded to plaintiff who prevailed on wrongful-discharge count.

Nationwide Prop. and Cas. Ins. Co. v. Shearer, PICS Case No. 15-0432 (W.D. Pa. March 13, 2015) McVerry, S.J. (23 pages).

Where there was no pending parallel state proceeding in this insurance coverage dispute, the court exercised discretionary jurisdiction under the Declaratory Judgment Act, and despite a three-year gap between timely reservation of rights letters and commencement of this action and no showing of actual prejudice by the policyholders, the insurer was not estopped from denying coverage. Insurer's motion for summary judgment granted, policyholders motion denied, and declaratory judgment issued.

Begley v. Rhoads & Sinon LLP, PICS Case No. 15-0453 (Pa. Super. March 9, 2015) (memorandum) Panella, J. (8 pages).

Wills • Third Part Beneficiary • Standing • Attorney/Client Relationship

Li v. Beulah Presbyterian Church, PICS Case No. 15-0398 (Pa. Super. March 10, 2015) (memorandum) Donohue, J. (14 pages).

The trial court erred in finding, based upon the assumption of risk doctrine, that defendants had no duty to protect plaintiff against the typical risks of roller skating. Vacated in part and remanded.