This Week's Cases

Commonwealth v. Romero, PICS Case No. 16-0535 (Pa. Super. April 19, 2016) Lazarus, J. (13 pages).

Trial court erred in suppressing evidence found during the search of appellee's residence because the arrest warrant for a fugitive agent used to enter appellee's house was based on the agent's reasonable belief that appellee's house was fugitive's last known address. Reversed.

B.J.F. v. J.P.F., PICS Case No. 16-0533 (Pa. Super. April 18, 2016) (memorandum) Lazarus, J. (16 pages).

Trial court did not err in granting primary physical custody to father because trial court properly evaluated child's statement that he would like to see mother more during the week and that the primary caretaker doctrine no longer existed and that father performed the parental duties. Affirmed.

Commonwealth v. L.P., PICS Case No. 16-0525 (Pa. Super. April 21, 2016) Fitzgerald, J. (17 pages).

Trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting appellee's petition for decertification and case transfer to the juvenile system. Trial court order affirmed.

Folmar v. Folmar, PICS Case No. 16-0538 (Pa. Super. April 21, 2016) (memorandum) Shogan, J. (15 pages).

The trial court did not err in ordering husband's 401(k) to be valued as of the date of the execution of the parties' qualified domestic relations order. Trial court order affirmed.

In the Interest of J.B., PICS Case No. 16-0536 (Pa. Super. April 19, 2016) (memorandum) Shogan, J. (20 pages).

Trial court properly terminated father's parental rights because he had no contact with child for three years, provided no support and mother's stepfather wanted to adopt child. Affirmed.

Wakeley v. M.J. Brunner Inc., PICS Case No. 16-0531 (Pa. Super. April 19, 2016) Bender, J. (12 pages).

Despite appellant's having uprooted and relocated her family to take a position with employer appellant's execution upon accepting the position of a written confirmation of employment that the position was at will negated appellant's claim for breach of express or implied contract. Order of the trial court affirmed.

Bengal Converting Serv. Inc. v. Gibney, PICS Case No. 16-0532 (Pa. Super. April 19, 2016) (memorandum) Musmanno, J. (26 pages).

Trial court properly found that company, Bengal Converting, was entitled to injunctive relief and that equitable enforcement of the restrictive covenants and the noncompete agreement in appellant's employment agreement with Bengal was necessary to protect Bengal against wrongful appropriation of its customer relationships by appellant. Affirmed.

Parke Bank v. North Charlotte Rd., LP, PICS Case No. 16-0537 (Pa. Super. April 15, 2016) (memorandum) Ford Elliott, P. J. (12 pages).

Trial court did not err in granting bank's petition to fix fair market value and in denying appellants' petition to mark the judgment satisfied, because the trial court found the valuation of the property provided by appellants' expert to be not credible. Affirmed.

Commonwealth v. $34,440 U.S. Currency, PICS Case No. 16-0534 (Pa. Commw. April 19, 2016) Cohn Jubelirer, J. (32 pages).

Trial court properly granted forfeiture petition for cash found in car during traffic stop and search that found small amounts of drugs in the car as well as the cash because the commonwealth triggered the rebuttable presumption in §6801(a)(6)(ii) by presenting evidence that the cash was in close proximity to the controlled substances, thus proving a substantial nexus between the cash and unlawful activities. Affirmed.

Geisinger Health Sys. v. Bur. of Workers' Comp. Fee Rev. Hearing Office, PICS Case No. 16-0526 (Pa. Commw. April 21, 2016) Pellegrini, J. (20 pages).

Insurer did not err when it reimbursed provider for services based on insurer's reference to typical fees charged by similar providers in the geographic area. Order of the hearing officer affirmed.

Ziegler v. City of Reading, PICS Case No. 16-0539 (Pa. Commw. April 20, 2016) Wojcik, J. (36 pages).

Act 101 did not explicitly prohibit a municipality's collection of curbside recycling fees to cover some of the costs of the municipality's recycling program. Trial court order reversed, case remanded.

Capital City Cab Serv. v. Pa. Pub. Util. Comm'n, PICS Case No (Pa. Commw. April 19, 2016) Cohn Jubelirer, J. (25 pages).

Public Utility Commission (PUC) opinion and order granting conditional approval to transportation network company (TNC) service required the transportation network company service to address public demand in a safe and cost-effective manner and was consistent with other recent TNC service approvals and a reasonable, factually-supported determination. Affirmed.

Reading Area Water Auth. v. Unemployment Comp. Bd. of Review, PICS Case No. 16-0529 (Pa. Commw. April 21, 2016) Brobson, J. (15 pages).

Claimant was eligible for unemployment compensation benefits where employer's evidence of claimant's discharge for a criminal complaint and claimant's subsequent participation in an accelerated rehabilitative disposition program was insufficient proof of willful misconduct. Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (UCBR) affirmed.

Susquehanna Cnty. Comm'rs v. Montrose Bible Conference, PICS Case No. 16-0530 (Pa. Commw. April 21, 2016) Friedman, J. (6 pages).

Christian overnight retreat did not fall under the definition of "hotel" where retreat's private overnight accommodations were only used by retreat attendees, the cost of which was included in their attendance fees. Order of the trial court affirmed.

Pocono Cmty. Theater v. Monroe Cnty. Bd. of Assessment Appeals, PICS Case No. 16-0528 (Pa. Commw. April 20, 2016) Leavitt, J. (16 pages).

Community theater providing facilities for and promoting arts programs qualified as a purely public charity. Trial court order reversed.

Everett v. Milanese, PICS Case No. 16-0517 (C.P. Chester March 28, 2016) Tunnel, J. (30 pages).

Remodeling Company breached contract by failing to use paver manufacturers' installation recommendations and specifications when constructing patio. The court found in favor of defendants on remaining counts.

Finkelstein v. Cohen, PICS Case No. 16-0518 (C.P. Monroe March 8, 2016) Williamson, J. (7 pages).

In this unjust-enrichment action seeking return of fee paid for a medical deposition after the deposition was canceled, plaintiff failed to attach to his amended complaint documents necessary to determine whether the contract had been properly canceled, despite having had the time and ability to obtain them, but his conduct was not dilatory, obdurate or vexatious. Plaintiff's complaint dismissed.

Bayview Loan Servicing LLC v. Rutledge, PICS Case No. 16-0514 (C.P. Philadelphia March 26, 2016) Fox, J. (16 pages).

Loan servicing company lacked standing to maintain mortgage foreclosure action. Nonsuit judgment affirmed.

City of Phila. v. Harvey, PICS Case No. 16-00521 (C.P. Philadelphia March 28, 2016) Carpenter, J. (5 pages).

In light of the city's continued objection to the appointment of a guardian to represent the interests of the minor who was sole owner of a property which was the subject of the city's petition for a sheriff's sale, the court vacated the judgment it had entered against the minor, rendering any challenge to the alleged improper appointment moot. Order staying the sheriff's sale should be affirmed.

Casper v. Halstead, PICS Case No. 16-0515 (C.P. County April 6, 2016) Patrick, J. (18 pages).

Plaintiff's medical witness precluded from testifying due to discovery violation. Posttrial relief denied.

Gray v. Huntzinger, PICS Case No. 16-0527 (C.P. Philadelphia Feb. 4, 2016) Shirdan-Harris, J. (10 pages).

Defendants were not entitled to a compulsory nonsuit where the evidence was sufficient to permit the jury to find that defendant employer's actions were sufficiently outrageous enough to support a verdict in favor of plaintiff on his intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) claim.

DiGiovanni v. Murphy, PICS Case No. 16-0516 (C.P. Philadelphia Feb. 25, 2016) Sarmina, J. (9 pages).

Experts for both sides offered conflicting testimony as to causation of plaintiff's injuries following a motor vehicle accident. The jury's verdict was not against the weight of the evidence.

Gallatin v. Gargiulo, PICS Case No. 16-0520 (C.P. Lawrence March 9, 2016) Hodge, J. (19 pages).

In this action arising out of a fatal motor vehicle accident involving a driver allegedly distracted by a text message, the court declined to dismiss the alleged sender of the text based on the argument there was no duty of liability imposed on the sender for text messaging the driver. Preliminary objections granted in part, denied in part.

Dooley v. Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., PICS Case No. 16-0522 (C.P. Philadelphia Feb. 5, 2016) Massiah-Jackson, J. (15 pages).

In this personal injury action, the court certified for interlocutory appeal its order vacating its previous dismissal of defendant Jacobs' Engineering on the basis of forum non conveniens. In accordance with Rule 1925(a), superior court referred to the transcripts of the relevant hearings as the reasons for the rulings.

DiGiorgio v. Romansky, PICS Case No. 16-0519 (C.P. Monroe Jan. 26, 2016) Zulick, J. (6 pages).

Plaintiff's claim against her employer in this personal injury action arising out of a slip and fall on ice in her employer's parking lot was barred by the exclusivity provision of the Workers' Compensation Act (WCA). Employer's motion for judgment on the pleadings granted.

Sikkelee v. Precision Airmotive Corp., PICS Case No. 16-0512 (3d Cir. April 19, 2016) Krause, J. (61 pages).

In a 1999 decision, the Third Circuit held that federal law preempted the field of aviation safety. That 1999 decision did not apply to plaintiff's state law claims that a design defect in the engine caused her husband's airplane to crash, and the Third Circuit reversed the district court's decision to grant partial summary judgment on design defect claims.

Levine v. Life Ins. Co. of N. Am., PICS Case No. 16-0542 (E.D. Pa. April 21, 2016) Rufe, J. (26 pages).

Section 502(g)(1) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) permitted the court to award reasonable attorney fees and costs. Evidence that plaintiff suffered financial hardship because defendant conducted an inadequate and one-sided review in an ERISA disability benefits case was sufficient for the court to award attorney fees.

Shimp v. Wildcat LLC, PICS Case No. 16-0541 (M.D. Pa. April 20, 2016) Conner, J. (9 pages).

A proposed settlement compensated plaintiff for more than 85 percent of unpaid wages, for which she requested compensation and included attorney fees and costs. The court approved the settlement of $11,250, which was fair, reasonable and consistent with the purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).