Western PA

Burns White Adds Med Mal Group In Pittsburgh

By Lizzy McLellan |

Further adding to its litigation bench strength, Pittsburgh-based Burns White has added two members and two associates in the areas of professional liability and ­medical malpractice.

<b>ON THE DEFENSE:</b> Entertainer Bill Cosby faces allegations that he drugged and ­molested women throughout his career.

Pittsburgh Woman's Suit Against Cosby Tossed

By Max Mitchell |

A federal judge has tossed a Pittsburgh woman's civil suit against Bill Cosby, finding that statements the comedian made refuting rape allegations against him fell short of defamation.

<b>ON THE DEFENSE:</b> Entertainer Bill Cosby faces allegations that he drugged and ­molested women throughout his career.

Cosby Says Pittsburgh Defamation Claim Not Actionable

By Lizzy McLellan |

As he begins to fight the first criminal charge against him, Bill Cosby continues to argue that he did not defame a number of his accusers who have sued him, including a Pittsburgh woman.

Allegheny Jury Awards $32M in Wrongful-Death Case

By Ben Seal |

An Allegheny County jury has awarded $32 million to the family of a 6-year-old boy killed in a 2012 car accident in Pittsburgh, including $10 million for a wrongful death claim and $10 million for a survival claim.

After Setbacks, Pittsburgh Now a Hot Legal Market for Out-of-Town Firms

By Gina Passarella |

The Pittsburgh legal community, which has suffered some setbacks due to a dip in energy work, is in the midst of what some have described as a "renaissance," driving significant growth of out-of-town firms in the city due to health care, technology, finance and even energy matters.

Vorys Sater Expands in Pittsburgh With Burleson Hires

By Gina Passarella |

Two partners in the Pittsburgh office of dissolving energy boutique Burleson LLP, including its managing partner, have joined Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease.

Frost Brown Opens in Pittsburgh With 10 Burleson Lawyers

By Gina Passarella |

Cincinnati-based Frost Brown Todd has opened a Pittsburgh office with 10 lawyers from disbanding energy boutique Burleson LLP.

Diversified Energy Practices Survive Dip in Prices

By Lizzy McLellan |

Nearing the end of a year when gas prices dropped significantly and oil-and-gas-related title work opportunities became fewer, Pennsylvania energy attorneys said there is still work to be had in the market.

Burleson to Close at End of Year

By Gina Passarella |

Texas-based energy boutique Burleson LLP is set to close by year's end, the firm confirmed Monday.

$3M Delayed-Diagnosis Verdict in Jefferson County

By Ben Seal |

A woman whose cancer diagnosis was delayed more than four years by her doctors' failure to report a mass on her lung has been awarded a $3 million verdict by a Jefferson County jury. The verdict is the largest ever reported in Jefferson County, according to a review of The Legal's annual listing of top verdicts and settlements.

Insurer's Motion in Heinz Case Doesn’t Cut the Mustard

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has denied a request for summary judgment from H.J. Heinz Co.'s insurer claiming the food company wasn't fully transparent about a series of contaminations in its products.

Anapol Weiss Looks to Bolster Class Action Practice

By Lizzy McLellan |

Philadelphia plaintiffs' firm Anapol Weiss has brought on the former Philadelphia office leader of a Pittsburgh-based plaintiffs' firm.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane speaks during a news conference Jan. 21, 2015, in Philadelphia.

Judge Rules on Sandusky Motion After Kane's Testimony

By Ben Seal |

After weeks of making noise about the actions of various state officials, Attorney General Kathleen Kane came and went silently from the Pennsylvania Judicial Center in Harrisburg on Thursday. She had been ordered there to testify about a statement she made last week accusing the judge who oversaw the grand jury that investigated convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky of colluding to leak secret information to the press.

handshake

Jones Day Makes Pittsburgh Leadership Changes

By Gina Passarella |

The Pittsburgh office of Jones Day will have new leadership for the first time in 12 years as the current managing partner takes over as head of the firm’s global rule of law initiatives.

Penis Pump Suit Tests 'Tincher' Ruling

By Gina Passarella |

A federal judge, relying in part on the state Supreme Court's recent landmark products liability ruling in Tincher v. Omega Flex, found one of the defendants in a penis-pump personal injury suit improperly removed the case to federal court.

Burleson Sheds MP, Five Associates in Pittsburgh

By Lizzy McLellan |

Houston-based energy law firm Burleson LLP has laid off six attorneys in its Pittsburgh office, including the office managing partner.

Outside Firms Benefiting From Pittsburgh Lateral Activity

By Gina Passarella |

Out-of-town firms with offices in Pittsburgh are beginning to bolster their attorney ranks thanks to a confluence of factors including both client opportunities and the focus by some indigenous firms on trimming lawyer head count in the city.

UPMC-Highmark Dispute Highlights Busy Argument Session

By Ben Seal |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is set to hear two expedited appeals from the Commonwealth Court in an argument session beginning today in Pittsburgh, one of which will impact the health care options of tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians and the business relationship between two of the state's health care powers.

Justices Hire Firm That Represented Kane to Review Eakin Emails

By Max Mitchell and Lizzy McLellan |

The state Supreme Court has retained Pittsburgh firm Del Sole Cavanaugh Stroyd—the same firm that represented Attorney General Kathleen Kane when she challenged the grand jury investigating her—to review the contents of numerous allegedly offensive emails linked to Justice J. Michael Eakin.

PNC

Judge Declines to Rule on Insurer's Coverage of PNC

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has decided it's too soon to declare an insurance company need not cover PNC Financial Services Group for $13 million in one case and potentially more in another because the underlying litigation has not been resolved.

Damages Testimony OK'd in Banking App MDL

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has ruled that testimony from a damages expert for a technology company can be admitted in the company's patent infringement case over a mobile banking app, the last one pending in a Pittsburgh-based multidistrict litigation.

verdicts and settlements

Casino Server Wins Verdict in Sexual-Harassment Suit

On April 27, 2014, plaintiff Allyson Pelesky worked as a server at Rivers Casino, in Pittsburgh. She claimed that a male customer put his hand down her shirt and placed a casino chip in her bra, making contact with her breast. Pelesky told a supervisor about the incident, and she was interviewed by the state police.

Court Revives Claims Against Firms Over 'Sham' Motion

By Max Mitchell |

The state Superior Court has revived an abuse of process suit against Fox Rothschild, Dillon McCandless King Coulter & Graham and two attorneys over claims that a coordination motion stemming from an underlying legal malpractice suit was a "sham" aimed at having the suit tried in a more favorable county.

Business handshake and business people

Pittsburgh Hires Grow Cohen Seglias Energy Practice

By Lizzy McLellan and Max Mitchell |

Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman has added two attorneys to its Pittsburgh office, the firm announced Monday, doubling the office's head count and expanding the firm's oil and gas practice.

patent stamp

Counterclaims of Patent-Trolling Stand in Infringement Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Counterclaims alleging patent-trolling filed by a vitamin and supplement company sued for patent infringement along with six similar companies will be allowed to proceed, a federal judge has ruled.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane addresses the media Wednesday in Harrisburg regarding the charges that allege she released confidential grand-jury materials.

Kane: Criminal Charges Stem From Porn Emails

By Lizzy McLellan |

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane said the charges against her are part of a plan to keep under wraps a chain of emails that included pornography and racially and religiously offensive material.

$1.69M in Attorney Fees Awarded in Drone Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge in Pittsburgh has approved a recommendation for roughly $1.69 million in attorney fees for the plaintiffs counsel to a drone manufacturer in a patent infringement case.

AG Charges Two Attorneys With Wiretap Violations

By Max Mitchell |

The state attorney general has filed charges against two western Pennsylvania defense attorneys over alleged violations of the Wiretap Act. The charges stem from separate incidents where the attorneys allegedly used illegally made recordings in legal proceedings.

Reed Smith Partner to Lead Pitt Law Energy Institute

By Gina Passarella |

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law has formed the Energy Law and Policy Institute, which will be led to start by Reed Smith partner and law school alumnus Kevin Abbott.

verdicts and settlements

Tyco Electronics Owes Millions in Shareholder Suit

By Gina Passarella |

Tyco Electronics is liable to a group of former Com-Net Critical Communications shareholders for $125.8 million, an Allegheny County judge ruled last week.

medical malpractice

Judge: Medical Device Strict-Liability Claims Barred in Pa.

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has ruled the Restatement (Second) of Torts bars strict liability claims for medical devices, even though the treatise does not specifically say so.

verdicts and settlements

Allegheny Co. Settles With Estate of Man Who Died in Prison

By Gina Passarella |

Allegheny County and the former company that provided medical services to the county prison have agreed to settle for $2.09 million with the estate of a prisoner who died after weeks of asking for medical treatment to no avail.

Court Denies 'Implicit Bias' Expert Testimony

By Max Mitchell |

A federal judge in Pittsburgh has barred an expert's testimony on "implicit bias" in an age discrimination case.

Energy Company Loses in Royalty Class-Action Suit

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal magistrate judge has upheld a verdict in favor of a class of landowners who claimed they were shortchanged on royalties from an oil and gas company drilling on their property.

Lawyer Who Contacted Only One Expert Faces Lawsuit

By Lizzy McLellan |

When a plaintiff's attorney contacts only one potential expert to support a certificate of merit and that expert does not support the plaintiff's claims, a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether the attorney breached his duty of care, the Superior Court has ruled.

Man Hit by Train Gains Access to Accident Video

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A man who was severely injured after being hit by a CSX freight train can have access to the railroad's video surveillance recordings, but a federal judge has ruled that he may not share it outside of the courtroom.

Pittsburgh Legal Market Shedding Partners, Wrestling With Change

By Gina Passarella |

The Pittsburgh legal market, despite housing the headquarters of some of the largest law firms in the world, held on longer to the collegial nature of partnerships than some of its brethren in larger markets. But things have begun to change.

verdicts and settlements

Parties Reach Settlement in Fatal Truck Crash Case

By Lizzy McLellan |

The wife of a truck driver who was killed in a two-truck accident has reached settlement with the other driver, his employer and the company that leased to the employer.

Fake Dictionary, Dictionary definition of the word Evidence.

HIPAA Doesn't Bar List of Witnesses to Health Facility Fall

By Max Mitchell |

A physical therapy facility must turn over a list of potential eyewitnesses after a patient fell during an exercise, a court of common pleas judge has ruled.

Medical Records

Hospital Board Minutes Privileged in Med Mal Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Minutes of a hospital board meeting held after a patient contracted hepatitis C from a kidney transplant are privileged, the state Superior Court has ruled.

partnership

Six Attorneys Join Reed Smith IP Group

By Lizzy McLellan |

Reed Smith has expanded its intellectual property, information and innovation group, bringing on six attorneys, including three who will launch the group's presence in Delaware.

gavel and book

Court Clarifies Evidence Standard for Consumer Claims

By Lizzy McLellan |

A preponderance of the evidence standard can be applied to a statutory claim under the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, rather than a clear and convincing evidence burden of proof, the Superior Court has ruled in a matter of first impression.

Judge Upholds Attorney Fees for Tax Lien Collection

By Max Mitchell |

The Commonwealth Court has rejected claims that amendments to the Municipal Claims and Tax Lien Act imposed unconstitutional new taxes by passing along legal fees to delinquent taxpayers.

Court Favors Surveyor Measurement in Taking Case

By Lizzy McLellan |

In interpreting a deed with contradictory definitions of a land parcel's boundaries, a split en banc panel of the Commonwealth Court has ruled in favor of the landowners who alleged a de facto taking of that property by a gas company.

Court Backs Denial of Coverage in Fatal Dirt Bike Crash

By Lizzy McLellan |

A homeowner's insurance carrier was within its rights to deny coverage to a man who provided the use of a dirt bike—and, allegedly, alcohol—to a 19-year-old who was fatally injured when he crashed the vehicle, the Superior Court has ruled.

verdicts and settlements

Jury Awards Drone Maker in Patent Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

An American drone maker has won $7.8 million in damages from a French competitor that infringed on its patents.

verdicts and settlements

Energy Company Settles Overtime Suit

An oil-and-gas drilling support services company has settled for $1.25 million a class action suit alleging that it failed to pay overtime.

Child Death Case Against Toys R Us Returns to State Court

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has ruled that a suit against Toys R Us, Babies R Us and others involving two children who were killed by a falling dresser can be sent back from federal court to the Beaver County Court of Common Pleas.

/image/pa/300_pics/asbestos-article.jpg

Asbestos 'Any Exposure' Arguments Delve Into Causation

By Max Mitchell |

The crossroads of medical and legal causation of mesothelioma was on display before the state Supreme Court on Wednesday in a case set to determine whether a plaintiff's expert testimony was based on an impermissible "any exposure" theory of causation.

Federal Jury Awards $7.8M in Drone Patent Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

An American drone maker has won $7.8 million in damages from a French competitor that infringed on its patents.

verdicts and settlements

Jury Awards Plaintiff In Sex Bias Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A federal jury in Pittsburgh awarded $12.5 million in punitive damages to a woman who was routinely called a "bitch" by her male colleagues at an insulation manufacturing plant in southwest Pennsylvania.

fracking

Workers, Energy Co. Settle Overtime Dispute for $1.25M

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

An oil-and-gas drilling support services company has settled a class action suit alleging that it failed to pay overtime for $1.25 million.

Facebook Firing Case Sent to State Court

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A man who was fired after posting disparaging comments on his employer's Facebook page has gotten his case sent back to state court.

Jury to Mull Future Damages in Drone Tech Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

As a patent dispute between drone makers heads toward trial to determine damages next week, the federal judge handling the case has preserved the question of future damages for the jury.

Pittsburgh Jury Awards $13M in Gender Discrimination Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A federal jury in Pittsburgh awarded $12.5 million in punitive damages to a woman who was routinely called a "bitch" by her male colleagues at an insulation manufacturing plant in southwest Pennsylvania.

Allegheny Judge Defends Fee Award in Life Insurance Case

By Lizzy McLellan |

A common pleas judge who awarded $25,000 in attorney fees for a case with $10,000 in damages has said the amount was reasonable, despite opposite appeals from both parties to the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Wal-Mart Hit With Two Overtime Suits

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Two wage-and-hour lawsuits, one brought as a class action and the other as a collective action, are proceeding against Wal-Mart.

Heinz-Kraft Deal Bottles Legal Work for Dozens

By Gina Passarella |

Two of the country's largest food companies have agreed to merge in a deal put into place with the help of dozens of lawyers across four law firms.

Drone Patent Battle Flies Toward Trial

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A contentious patent dispute between drone makers is heading toward trial to determine damages, since the federal judge handling the case entered default judgment against the defendant as a sanction after months of discovery delays.

A Push by Some for Looser State Rules Over Referral Fees

By Gina Passarella and P.J. D'Annunzio |

A media report earlier this month about law firm emails that purport to show former Justice Seamus P. McCaffery, and not his wife, may have been the one to refer out certain cases while on the bench, has again raised questions about Pennsylvania's comparatively lax referral-fee rules.

Nationwide Let Out of Sewage Spill Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has ruled that Nationwide Insurance Co. is not obliged to defend homeowners accused of allowing raw sewage to spew onto a neighboring property.

Chinese Arbitration Award Stands in Mineral Co. Fight

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A federal judge has ruled that an international arbitration award in favor of a China-based mineral supplier can be enforced upon an American company in a contract dispute.

patent stamp

Jawbone Maker Counterclaims OK'd in Infringement Suit

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The maker of Jawbone activity trackers, which has been accused of infringing on another company's patents, has brought a counterclaim for inequitable conduct on the patent holder.

Morgan Lewis' Pittsburgh Office Has New MP

By Max Mitchell |

The new managing partner of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius' Pittsburgh office said he is looking to build on the office's steady growth and capitalize on the expanding oil-and-gas-related legal work in the region.

EEOC Suit Against FedEx Moves to Pittsburgh

By Max Mitchell |

A suit against FedEx claiming the company discriminates against deaf package handlers should be moved from Baltimore to Pittsburgh, a federal court has ruled.

Pa. Superior Court Panel Upholds $5 Verdict in Auto Accident Case

By P.J. D'annunzio |

A $5 verdict awarded to a woman who claimed to be injured in an auto accident has been upheld by the state Superior Court, despite her protests that the amount was miniscule.

verdicts and settlements

Plaintiffs Settle Following Tractor-Trailer Pile-up

By Max Mitchell |

According to the plaintiffs' complaint, on Jan. 2, 2012, Fernando Olivas was driving a tractor-trailer owned by J.M. Leasing eastbound along I-80 in Jefferson County, when he passed a slow-moving vehicle in the right lane. The weather had recently become snowy, the complaint said, and, as Olivas attempted to move back into the right lane after passing the slow-moving vehicle, he lost control of the tractor-trailer, which jack-knifed.

Township Need Not Recreate Deleted Phone Data

By Max Mitchell |

A township does not need to hire a forensic expert to recreate deleted phone records to satisfy a right-to-know request, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

Third Circuit Reverses Obamacare Injunctions

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The exception from Obamacare's contraceptive mandate for religious organizations is fair, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has ruled in a reversal of decisions from two federal judges in Pittsburgh.

Takata MDL Packaged and Sent to Florida

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Nationwide litigation over Takata air bags, which are alleged to explode unprompted, ejecting metal debris, has been consolidated in the Southern District of Florida.

documents

US Judge Holds Off on Notes Clawback Ruling for AG

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Pennsylvania's Office of the Attorney General wants to claw back 28 pages of lawyer's notes that it accidentally handed over in discovery in a case filed by a former state trooper against the Pennsylvania State Police.

DUI Attorney Loses Driver's License for DUI

By Max Mitchell |

A suspended Pittsburgh attorney who has defended drivers charged with driving under the influence of alcohol will have his driver's license suspended after allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

Judge Strikes Class Claims Before Certification Motion

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A federal judge in Pittsburgh has taken the unusual step of tossing the class allegations from a suit brought by neighbors of a coal-fired power plant before they had even moved for class certification.

gavel

First National Bank's $2.6 Million Insurance Case Survives

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A $2.6 million suit filed by a bank against an insurer has survived a motion to dismiss in federal court in Pittsburgh.

Superior Court Vacates Medical Guardian Appointment

By Lizzy McLellan |

Only a child's parent, legal custodian or the juvenile court may make medical decisions for a dependent child, the Superior Court has ruled in rejecting a decision to appoint a child welfare advocacy organization as a medical guardian.

insurance policy

Injured Party Can File Counterclaim Against Insurer

By Lizzy McLellan |

The Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas has ruled that an injured party can bring a declaratory judgment claim against an insurer directly—if the insurer has already named that party as a defendant in its own claim.

Heinz Squeezed Into Suit Over Packaging

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Heinz lost its bid for summary judgment in a case alleging that it appropriated someone else's idea for its "dip & squeeze" ketchup container.

Duquesne Says Comment on Professor's Suit Wasn't Defamatory

By Gina Passarella |

Duquesne University has said its statement to the press in the wake of a law professor's discrimination suit was not defamatory despite the professor's amended complaint alleging the contrary.

Antique Map New England

Pa. Federal Judge Sends Software Row to Delaware

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A dispute over access to custom software and stored data between a company that monitors seismic vibrations and the tech company that built specialized software for it has been sent from federal court in Pittsburgh to federal court in Delaware.

Forest

'Outdoorsman' TV Show Wins in $6M Licensing Dispute

By Max Mitchell |

The grant of summary judgment in a licensing dispute between a hunting and fishing television show and a snack and beverages marketing company has opened the door to a possible award of more than $6 million in the case.

Signing a contract

Insured Can Sue for Negligence Despite Contract

By Lizzy McLellan |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has decided that an insured party is not barred from suing an insurer in a tort action simply because a contract exists between the two parties.

Child's Videotaped Testimony Inadmissible, Justices Rule

By Max Mitchell |

Videotaped out-of-court testimony of a 4-year-old that was introduced under the Tender Years Hearsay Act after the child was unresponsive on the witness stand violated the defendant's rights under the confrontation clause of the Sixth Amendment, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

Federal Charges in Pittsburgh for Ugandan Counterfeiting Scheme

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Charges against an American citizen who has allegedly been making counterfeit money in Uganda have been filed in federal court in Pittsburgh.

US passport and judges court gavel, from above

Federal Judge: Obama's Immigration Action Unconstitutional

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The executive action on immigration announced by President Obama following the midterm elections last month is unconstitutional, a federal judge in Pittsburgh ruled Tuesday.

picture of man hands signing contract

Child Waiver Still Applies to Injured Adult Skater, Panel Rules

By Lizzy McLellan |

An adult patron of a carpet skate park is not able to sue the business after signing a waiver, even though it was intended for signature by a parent on behalf of a child, the state Superior Court has decided.

Handicapped sign at entrance to a business..photo by Jason Doiy.12-2-09.050-2009

ADA Class Action Plaintiff May Sue Over Unvisited Stores

By Gina Passarella |

A potential class representative in an Americans with Disabilities Act suit against a grocery store chain need not have visited all of the stores at issue to have standing to bring the suit, a Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge has ruled.

Hagens Berman Facing Sanctions in Thalidomide Cases

By Gina Passarella |

A discovery master appointed to sort out attorney sanctions motions in three of the 52 thalidomide cases brought against GSK and others said in his order recommending sanctions that Seattle-based plaintiffs firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro engaged in "bad-faith advocacy."

verdicts and settlements

Jury Sides With Suzuki in ATV Crash Case

By Max Mitchell |

Suzuki will not be held liable for an allegedly defective four-wheeled all-terrain vehicle that flipped onto and severely injured a 14-year-old driver, an Allegheny County jury has determined.

Federal Judge Sends Suit Over Drilling to Arbitration

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The claims of two couples—who are among several suing oil and gas companies in northeastern Pennsylvania for negligence from the noise, traffic, lights and other disruptions from drilling—have been sent to arbitration by a federal judge.

N.J. Firm Pushes Debt Collection Case to Arbitration

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A New Jersey debt collection law firm can enforce the arbitration agreement included in a sales contract for a Ford Fiesta that has now been repossessed, a federal magistrate judge has ruled.

Pa. Superior Court Denies Attorney's Quantum Meruit Suit

By Max Mitchell |

The state Superior Court has reaffirmed that attorneys in Pennsylvania cannot seek recovery under a theory of quantum meruit against a lawyer who took over a case initiated by a different attorney.

Western District Rules on Computer Professional FLSA Exemption

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

District courts have split in three directions on how to apply the exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act for computer professionals and, now, the Western District of Pennsylvania has weighed in.

gavel

Small Taking for Private College's Use Barred as Excessive

By Lizzy McLellan |

Richland Township's attempt to take a small piece of land on behalf of a private university was excessive and should not be permitted, the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas has ruled.

documents

Lawyers' Strategy in Patent Case Earns a Severe Sanction

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A federal judge in Pittsburgh entered the extreme sanction of default judgment against a French drone-maker that was facing allegations of patent infringement.

Eckert Seamans Can Stay on in Kids-for-Cash RICO Suit

By Gina Passarella |

A federal judge has denied a motion to disqualify Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott from a case between the two former co-owners of the juvenile detention facilities at the heart of the Luzerne County "kids-for-cash" judicial scandal.

verdicts and settlements

Jury Finds High Curb Did Not Cause Fall, Death

On April 2, 2008, plaintiff's decedent Arthur Orlidge, 82, stepped up onto a sidewalk leading into a Giant Eagle grocery store, at 1606 N. Center Ave., in Somerset, Pa., when he fell backward and struck his head on the ground. Orlidge later died from his injuries, on March 24, 2009.

verdicts and settlements

Defendants Fail to Appeal in Case Over Undelivered Cars

By Lizzy McLellan |

A Brooklyn-based corporation that buys and sells automobiles has been ordered to pay $480,925 for failing to deliver two luxury vehicles.

Overall Pennsylvania Bar-Passage Rate for July Test Dipped

By Max Mitchell |

Although some schools saw passage rates for the Pennsylvania bar exam drop by around 10 percentage points, the overall passage rate for the Pennsylvania bar exam's July test saw only a slight drop over last year.

Passenger Can Benefit From Driver's Full Tort Coverage

By Lizzy McLellan |

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.

Close up of human hands pushing keys of laptop

Internet Chat Transcripts Allowed at Trial

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Yahoo Messenger chat transcripts, screen captures and videos can be shown at the trial of a man accused of lying in his application for naturalization, a federal judge in Pittsburgh has ruled.

gavel

$80M Indemnification Case Argued Before Pa. Justices

By Max Mitchell |

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.

Insurance Carrier Argues for Broad Leeway to Subrogate

By Max Mitchell |

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.

insurance policy

Parties Argue Over Court's Discretion to Interpret Policy Terms

By Max Mitchell |

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.

$3.5 Mil. Russian Bank Hacking Case Survives

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

First Commonwealth Bank's insurance company could still be on the hook for covering a $3.5 million loss after a Russian hacker got access to an energy company executive's account information.

Multimillion-Dollar Insurance Cases Top Justices' Docket

By Max Mitchell |

Two multimillion-dollar insurance cases are expected to highlight the state Supreme Court's oral argument session set to kick off Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

gavel

Putative Class Claims Against Oil and Gas Lease Broker Rejected

By Gina Passarella |

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.

/image/pa/300_pics/roofer-article.jpg

Justices Decline Case on Liability Exception to Skylight Fall

By Max Mitchell |

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.

 Philadelphia

Pittsburgh Lawyer's Defamation Suit Moved From Phila.

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A Pittsburgh attorney who was falsely called a child molester in fliers cannot keep his defamation suit in Philadelphia, the state Superior Court has ruled, despite his claims that having the case in his home county would damage his reputation.

verdicts and settlements

Allegheny Co. Jury Awards Brain-Injured Woman

By Max Mitchell |

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.

Jury box..Photo by Jason Doiy.2-9-11.054-2011

Allegheny Jury Awards $16 Million in Auto Case

By Max Mitchell |

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.

Judge Rules New Trial for Damages in Email Defamation Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A heavy-equipment dealer that alleged a competitor had torpedoed its impending exclusivity deal with Hyundai by sending an allegedly defamatory eleventh-hour email to the president of Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas won a new trial on damages in federal court in Pittsburgh.

verdicts and settlements

Worker Fired Over Nerve Stimulator, EEOC Claimed

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.

insurance policy

Contractor Appeals Coverage Denial in Work Injury Case

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A general contracting company has appealed a ruling that it is not entitled to coverage from a subcontractor's insurer in a job-site accident case because the coverage only applied in instances of vicarious liability.

Citigroup Can't Compel Arbitration in Life Insurance Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A subsidiary of Citigroup failed in its bid to compel arbitration in a life insurance dispute in federal court in Pittsburgh.

Eckert Seamans Responds to Zappala's Disqualification Motion

By Gina Passarella |

Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott said it should not be disqualified from representing a "kids-for-cash" scandal defendant in a civil suit when the firm sued that defendant in a civil rights suit on behalf of one of the kids because both parties signed conflict waivers.

verdicts and settlements

Plaintiff Claimed Police Struck Him With Gun

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.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

Health Department Updates Fracking Complaint Process

By John L. Kennedy |

The state Department of Health announced that it has updated its handling of complaints related to fracking in the Marcellus Shale region.

Harrisburg Capitol Building

PUC Appeals Decision Stripping Its Review Authority

By John L. Kennedy |

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.

National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.

Federal Judge Expresses Concern Over NLRB Stance

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Calling out the National Labor Relations Board as moving toward "serving as the litigation arm of the union" rather than enforcing federal labor law, a federal judge granted the NLRB's broad subpoenas of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, but stayed their implementation so that UPMC can seek appellate review.

Pittsburgh-Area Diocese Wins Obamacare Injunction

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The nonprofit organizations related to a suburban Pittsburgh diocese don't have to comply with Obamacare's contraceptive mandate since a federal judge has granted them a permanent injunction.

Recoupment of Benefits Doesn't Imply Financial Hardship

By Max Mitchell |

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.

documents

Judge: Shareholders, Not Company, Have Attorney-Client Privilege

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Because a closely held company and three of its minority shareholders are now at odds, a federal judge must decide which side holds the attorney-client privilege with the law firm that was paid by the company but used by the shareholders.

© Valeriy-Fotolia

Methadone Clinic Gets $270K in Attorney Fees From City

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A Western Pennsylvania drug rehab center was awarded more than $270,000 in attorney fees from the city of DuBois, Pa., in a case that struck down the municipality's zoning restriction of a methadone clinic.

verdicts and settlements

Jury Sides With Defense in Case Over Eye Injury

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.

Court Dismisses Lawyer's Full-Bench Recusal Appeal

By Gina Passarella |

A bankruptcy lawyer whose practice is under review by the Western District of Pennsylvania bankruptcy court has had his appeal for a full-court recusal in all cases involving him dismissed for failure to prosecute.

Jaw Necrosis Claims Against Novartis Winnowed Down

By Gina Passarella |

A Pittsburgh federal judge has reduced the claims against Novartis Pharmaceuticals in three lawsuits alleging the company's drug Zometa caused the plaintiffs' jaws to deteriorate.

$27 Million Awarded in Western Pa. Bankruptcy Court

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A western Pennsylvania solar panel manufacturer that filed for bankruptcy last year just got a $27 million judgment against a Chinese company that fell through on a deal to acquire the company.

insurance policy

Geico Can't Dodge Bad-Faith UIM Claim

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A Vietnam veteran's claim that Geico acted in bad faith when handling his underinsured motorist benefits case has survived in federal court in Pittsburgh.

Lawyer Called 'Sociopath' Seeks Judge's Recusal

By Gina Passarella |

A bankruptcy attorney currently under review by the Western District of Pennsylvania bankruptcy court for alleged "systemic" misconduct is appealing a decision of the judge overseeing the review to recuse in only two of the hundreds of cases in which the lawyer is involved.

Erie County Judge Charged With Conduct Violations

By Max Mitchell |

An Erie County Court of Common Pleas judge has been charged by the Judicial Conduct Board with misconduct in connection with several heated exchanges and off-the-bench incidents involving attorneys, witnesses, litigants and court staff.

In Mortgage Case, County Officials' Claims Set for Trial

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The recorders of deeds in Pennsylvania's 67 counties won declaratory judgment from a federal judge who ruled that Merscorp must create and record property transfers with the county offices.

Contraceptive Mandate Hits Religious Objection Wall in U.S. High Ct.

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Companies like the Mennonite-owned Conestoga Wood Specialties in East Earl, Pa., can't be required to fund female contraceptives due to their religious objections, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday in a decision that could foretell its approach to the next wave of litigation over that portion of Obamacare.

Phila. Archdiocese Denied Contraceptive Mandate Injunction

By Gina Passarella |

Less than a week after a federal judge granted a Pittsburgh-area Catholic diocese a preliminary injunction from the Obamacare contraceptive mandate, a different federal judge in Philadelphia has denied such an injunction to the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Suit Over Law Firm's Debt Collection Practices Is Revived

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A suit over debt collection practices brought against a Philadelphia law firm has been revived by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

gavel

Commercial Defendant Sanctioned for Fruitless Settlement Negotiation

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A federal magistrate judge in Pittsburgh has imposed sanctions on a commercial defendant after a fruitless settlement negotiation.

Third Circuit Tosses PennDOT Qui Tam Lawsuit

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

After having once revived a qui tam suit brought against a Pennsylvania engineering firm, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has now agreed with the trial court's decision to grant summary judgment to the firm.

Furnace Failure Bad-Faith Case Back Before U.S. District Court

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Whether the catastrophic failure of a glass manufacturer's furnace was "sudden and accidental" was again before a federal district judge, after it had already been up to the Third Circuit once before.

Football

Football Concussion Suit Against NCAA Gets Green Light

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Head injuries might be an expected part of playing football, but that doesn't overcome the duty of care that the NCAA owed to student athletes, a federal magistrate judge has decided.

Whistleblowers Win Discovery in Multibillion-Dollar Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Whistleblower claims that a major for-profit education company defrauded the federal government of billions of dollars in student aid must be illuminated through discovery, U.S. District Judge Terrence McVerry of the Western District of Pennsylvania has ruled.

Buchanan Ingersoll Hires PNC Bank's Ex-Deputy General Counsel

By Zack Needles |

Pittsburgh-based Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney has brought aboard Hank Pool, former deputy general counsel of longtime client PNC Bank, as senior counsel in its financial services practice.

Parent Company Not Liable for Subsidiary's Waste

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The parent company to a long-defunct railcar manufacturer is neither directly nor derivatively liable for toxic waste left on the grounds of its old manufacturing plant, a federal judge in Pittsburgh has ruled.

housing fees

Mortgage Protection Law Doesn't Extend to Collection Counsel

By Max Mitchell |

The Loan Interest and Protection Act, which prohibits residential mortgage lenders from collecting excessive fees and charges, does not provide a plaintiff a cause of action to sue a lender's attorney for allegedly collecting excessive fees, the state Superior Court has ruled.

verdicts and settlements

Allegheny Jury Awards Plaintiff for Delayed Diagnosis

By Max Mitchell |

According to a the plaintiff's pretrial memorandum, in the evening of Sept. 28, 2010, Thomas Mol, who was 34 and working as a financial manager, presented to the emergency room of the Forbes Regional Hospital. During the visit, Mol was seen by Dr. Elizabeth Moy, who was employed by EMP of Allegheny County LTD. The memo said that Mol complained of back pain and numbness. A CT scan was performed, and Night Hawk Radiology interpreted the readout. The memo said that Mol was sent home even though he was unable to walk under his own power.

gavel

Three Men Dismissed From Child Pornography Damages Suit

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Three out-of-state men who downloaded child pornography made by a Pittsburgh-area man who raped his adopted daughter at Disney World were dismissed from a civil suit brought by the victim under a federal law passed in her name.

construction

Union Trustees Can't Impose Mechanic's Lien, Justices Rule

By Max Mitchell |

The beneficiaries of a union's employee benefits trust fund will not be able to pursue a mechanic's lien claim against the developer of a project that the beneficiaries worked on, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

medical malpractice

Court Fine-Tunes Impact of MCARE Statute of Repose

By Zack Needles |

Fine-tuning its 2013 decision in Osborne v. Lewis, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled that a medical malpractice action is only barred by the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act statute of repose provision when an injury is first manifested after the provision's 2002 effective date and the alleged negligence occurred more than seven years earlier.

Hospital, Nursing Facilities on the Hook for Pressure Ulcer Claims

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A lawsuit against a hospital and nursing facilities can proceed despite a medical expert not being able to say that the defendants breached the standard of care by allegedly ignoring the malnourishment and subsequent weight loss of a man suffering from skin ulcers.

gavel

Suit Sparked by Prof's Affair With Student Survives

By Gina Passarella |

A former University of Pittsburgh professor who engaged in an affair with a research assistant can continue with his defamation case against the assistant over claims she affected his ability to get another teaching job and sent a picture of his penis to his wife and 37 associates.

insurance policy

Western District Judge Remands UIM Case to Beaver County Court

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

An insurance company failed in its bid to maintain diversity jurisdiction in a case seeking to collect underinsured motorist benefits.

gavel

Hospital Can Copy Ex-Mayor's Computer, Federal Judge Rules

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Pittsburgh's major hospital system can make a copy of the former mayor's computer in a case stemming from the ongoing dispute over the hospital's obligation to pay payroll taxes, a federal judge has ruled.

Medical Records

Application of Medical Records Act Argued in High Court

By Max Mitchell |

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

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

By Zack Needles |

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

documents

Feds Can't Quash Depositions With Privilege in Qui Tam Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Prosecutors can't use attorney-client or work-product privilege as a sweeping bar to keep a Pittsburgh-based for-profit education company from deposing officials in the complex discovery of a multibillion-dollar qui tam case, a federal judge has ruled.

verdicts and settlements

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

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

Medical Records Class Action Highlights Justices' Docket

By Max Mitchell |

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

Trade-Secrets Case Against Patterson Belknap Survives

By Gina Passarella |

A misappropriation of trade secrets case against Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler and a former associate has survived a motion to dismiss after the judge found the plaintiff stated a "plausible factual basis" to show the defendants "obtained the trade secrets by improper means."

Flight 93

Flight 93 Crash Site Worth $1.5 Mil., Judge Rules

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The western Pennsylvania land where Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11 can be taken by eminent domain, a federal judge has ruled.

Insurer Had Duty to Defend Race Car Driver in Crash Case, Panel Rules

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A race car driver's insurance company should have defended him when he was sued for wrongful death and negligence after he lost control of his vehicle during a race and crashed into the pit area, the state Superior Court has ruled.

Tardy Statement of Errors Causes Waiver of Appeal

By Max Mitchell |

The state Superior Court has ruled that a defendant's appeal has been waived because its statement of errors was filed three days late, even though it had been accepted by the trial court.

In Suit Over Testing of Space Heaters, $6 Mil. Awarded to Pittsburgh Company

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

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

Superior Court Judge John L. Musmanno

Company Owes Legal Fees After 'Calling Shots' in Litigation

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled that an investment management company is responsible for paying more than $71,000 in legal fees to a Pittsburgh firm that defended litigation related to a distressed shopping center, despite the company's contention that its subsidiary should be on the hook for the bills.

Nuclear power plant, Dukovany, Czech Republic

Experts in Nuclear Radiation Cancer Case OK'd by Judge

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

More than 75 people who got cancer and allege that it is a result of breathing the radioactive uranium released from a nuclear processing facility in western Pennsylvania have won back the right to present four expert witnesses at trial in federal court.

Life Sentence for Arson Overturned on Non-DNA Evidence

By Max Mitchell |

During the trial that led to the conviction of 19-year-old Gregory Brown Jr. for allegedly starting a fatal fire, one witness's testimony put Brown at the scene as smoke started rising from the house and another witness said that Brown later bragged about setting the blaze.

gavel

Co-Defendant Opposes K&L Gates, Le-Nature's Accord

By Gina Passarella |

Pascarella & Wiker, the accounting firm that was sued along with K&L Gates by the trustee of bankrupt Le-Nature's, has opposed a $23.75 million settlement between the law firm and the trustee.

Early morning sun in the green forest

Judge Tosses Case Over Allegheny Forest Drilling Plan

By Zack Needles |

Relying on precedent that federal agencies may avoid litigation by taking steps to cure National Environmental Policy Act violations on their own, a federal judge has ruled that a case in which oil and gas industry groups sued the U.S. Forest Service over its 2007 revised land resource management plan for the Allegheny National Forest is, at least for the time being, moot now that the agency has backed off enacting the revisions.

K&L GATES

K&L Gates Revenue Up 9.3 Percent, RPL Down 5 Percent

By Zack Needles |

After remaining flat between 2011 and 2012, Pittsburgh-based K&L Gates saw its revenue grow by about 9.3 percent in 2013, a year that saw the firm's financials impacted significantly by its Jan. 1, 2013, merger with Australia-based Middletons.

Energy Company Wins Dispute Against Landowners Over Gas Lease

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

An oil and gas company, Exco Resources, has won summary judgment in a case brought by landowners seeking to have its lease of 130 acres in Northwest Pennsylvania declared invalid.

skylight

Fall Through Skylight Leads to Premises Liability Exception

By Max Mitchell |

A roofer's suit against a building owner, which stems from a fall through a rare skylight thought to be more than 100 years old, will be allowed to proceed after the state Superior Court determined the action fit the exceptions to the premises liability law.

Pa. High Court Rejects Appeal in 1987 Slaying

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a western Pennsylvania man facing retrial in the 1987 stabbing death of a waitress.

documents

Lawyer Can't Claim Privilege Once Client Waives It

By Gina Passarella |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court's ruling that attorney-client privilege is a two-way street did not mean the attorney can claim the privilege, the state Superior Court has ruled.

fracking

Court to Mull Whether 1920s Deed Contemplated Fracking

By Zack Needles |

The Commonwealth Court has cleared the way for a suit over whether hydraulic fracturing is allowed under a land deed that was executed decades before the oil and gas extraction method was developed.

K&L GATES

K&L Gates Aims to Settle Malpractice Case for $23.8 Mil.

By Gina Passarella |

K&L Gates has agreed to settle a $500 million legal malpractice case filed against it by the trustee of defunct beverage manufacturer Le-Nature's for $23.75 million, according to a proposed settlement agreement filed in the Le-Nature's bankruptcy

Eckert Seamans Hires Former Bayer Associate GC

By Zack Needles |

Pittsburgh-based Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott has hired Gary D. McConnell, former vice president and associate general counsel of Bayer Corp., as a member in its products liability, mass tort and commercial litigation practices.

Order

Signs of Abuse Indicated in ER Reports Are Basis for Expert Opinion

By Max Mitchell |

A mother will be able to continue her pursuit of a protection order after the Superior Court ruled that findings in emergency room reports indicating signs of possible sexual and physical abuse constituted facts on which her expert could base his opinion.

Bond Not Needed to Protect Claim to Assets in Sheriff's Sale

By Gina Passarella |

The plaintiff in a sheriff's sale interpleader action does not have to post bond in order to maintain a claim for the proceeds of the sheriff's sale, the state Superior Court has ruled.

woman-fired-article

Pa. Woman Claims She Was Fired Over Hiring Bias

By JOE MANDAK |

A woman has sued a chocolates-and-milkshake shop, saying she was fired for hiring a black woman instead of a white, "all-American girl."

Lawrence Co. Jury Awards Parents of Fatal Crash Victim

A $5.5 million verdict has been awarded in a wrongful death case to the parents of a man who died shortly after his vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer.

gavel

Motion for New Trial Doesn't Preclude Double Jeopardy Claim

By Max Mitchell |

A criminal defendant who moves for a new trial does not necessarily waive double jeopardy arguments in future proceedings, the state Superior Court has ruled in a holding that overturns a more than five-year-old decision.

drilling

Act 13 Ruling Could End Gas Well Impact Fees

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court's ruling striking down the uniform zoning ordinance provision of the Act 13 of 2012 amendments to the state Oil and Gas Act was widely considered a win for local governments, but another potential ramification of the ruling could put a damper on their victory celebration.

gavel

$5.5 Mil. Awarded in Lawrence County Case Over Fatal Crash

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A $5.5 million verdict has been awarded in a wrongful-death case to the parents of a man who died shortly after his vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer.

Admitted Clerical Negligence Sends Med Mal Case Back to Trial Court

By Max Mitchell |

An undisputed clerical error will send a medical malpractice defense verdict back to the trial court, the Superior Court has ruled.

Second Tries at Supreme Court Not Mission Impossible

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and Department of Environmental Protection face steep odds in asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to strike down as unconstitutional the Act 13 of 2012 amendments to the state's Oil and Gas Act, but it's not completely out of the realm of possibility, appellate lawyers said.

Insurer Settles Bad-Faith Case Stemming From Auto Accident

The family of a 15-year-old who sustained catastrophic brain injuries as a result of a car accident in Lawrence County has settled their bad-faith case against an insurance company for $18 million.

Hospices Needn't Prove Patient's Decline to Qualify for Benefits

By Max Mitchell |

The Department of Public Welfare can't retroactively deny a hospice medical assistance benefits for treating patients who did not decline in health, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.

Allegheny President Judge Jeffrey Manning

Manning Elected Allegheny County President Judge

By Max Mitchell |

A 25-year veteran of the courts with a reputation for being scholarly and ties to the county bar association has been elected as president judge of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

Justices Broaden 'Proof of Mailing' for Tax Sale Notices

By Zack Needles |

The state Supreme Court has ruled that a U.S. Postal Service certificate of mailing is not the only document that can establish "proof of mailing" under the notice provision of the Real Estate Tax Sale Law.

Pa. Supreme Court Strikes Key Provisions of Act 13

By Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutional amendments to the state's Oil and Gas Act requiring municipalities to adopt uniform zoning ordinances that would allow drilling in all zoning districts.

'Active Concealment' Constitutes Fraud Absent Duty to Disclose

By Zack Needles |

The Commonwealth Court has ruled that under the Restatement (Second) of Torts, the doctrine of "active concealment" in the context of common-law fraud imposes liability on a party even where disclosure of information is not required by law, while fraudulent nondisclosure only applies where there is a legal duty to disclose.

White and Williams Names First Female Managing Partner

By Zack Needles |

Less than a month after the unexpected death of managing partner Guy Cellucci, Philadelphia-based White and Williams has elected Patricia Santelle to a three-year term as its new managing partner and chair of its executive committee, effective immediately.

Cheerleading Coach Gets Qualified Immunity in Injury Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Although the law in the Third Circuit is muddled as to how far the state-created danger theory reaches into the arena of high school sports, the appeals court declined to settle it with a case brought by a cheerleader who got a head injury during practice.

Kane Wants Out of Same-Sex Marriage Suit

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

The second challenge to be brought in federal court against Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriage should take a similar tack to the first and focus on the state's secretary of Health and secretary of Revenue, the attorney general suggested in a motion filed today.

Workplace Injury Case Revived Over Employee Control

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

The state Superior Court has rejected a general contractor's bid to gain immunity from civil liability in a case where a laborer was injured on the job, ruling that there were outstanding questions as to who the man was working for when he was injured.

Pietragallo Gordon Beats $525K Malpractice Verdict

By Gina Passarella |

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has upheld the overturning of a $525,000 legal malpractice verdict against Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, making moot the firm's request for a new trial in the event its judgment notwithstanding the verdict was reversed.

Is the Natural Gas Industry in Pa. Creating More Legal Work?

By Zack Needles |

While there is currently debate over whether the rise of the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania has created as many jobs as some had originally projected, there is little disagreement among attorneys and legal recruiters that there is, at the moment, plenty of legal work flowing from the drilling industry and, as a consequence, steady demand for oil and gas lawyers.

Pittsburgh's Thorp Reed to Merge With Detroit-Based Clark Hill

By Zack Needles |

Pittsburgh-based Thorp Reed & Armstrong and Detroit-based Clark Hill have signed a merger agreement, the firms have announced.

Bank Settles Shareholder Claim for $5 Mil.

By Max Mitchell |

A northeastern Pennsylvania regional bank, which was accused of providing dubious loans to board members—among them Michael T. Conahan, the former Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas president judge who is now incarcerated after his conviction on charges stemming from the "kids for cash" scandal—has agreed to settle a shareholder derivative claim for $5 million.

Pittsburgh Jury Awards Drunken-Driving Victims

By Max Mitchell |

On Sept. 26, 2009, plaintiff Amanda Delval was driving a vehicle along Mifflin Road in Pittsburgh with plaintiff Michael Trail and decedents Jessica Trail and William Grice as passengers, when a vehicle being driven by Timothy Lesko allegedly crossed the center line and collided with the other vehicle. Michael Trail sustained a leg injury, and Delval sustained a back injury. Jessica Trail died at the scene and Grice died several months after the accident.

Work-Related Mesothelioma Now Fodder for Common-Law Actions

By Max Mitchell |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that the Workers' Compensation Act does not cover occupational diseases, such as mesothelioma, that manifest more than 300 weeks after employment ends. The decision frees potential plaintiffs to seek compensation from their former employers through common-law actions.

Plaintiffs Can Seek Punitives in Suit Against Novartis

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Punitive damages are fair game for plaintiffs bringing claims against Novartis Pharmaceuticals for a drug made to manage metastatic bone cancer that they claim caused permanent disfigurement, a federal judge has ruled.

Asbestos Case Against Alcoa Headed to Brazilian Court

By Max Mitchell |

A complaint alleging that Alcoa products caused the mesothelioma of a Brazilian factory worker has been removed from the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas for further proceedings in a Brazilian court.

Lawyer Convicted of Wire Fraud Charges Disbarred

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A Pittsburgh real estate attorney convicted of several counts of wire fraud has been disbarred by the state Supreme Court.

Pa. Firms Rank High on Client Service List

By Gina Passarella |

Three of Pennsylvania's largest law firms also appear to be some of the most highly thought of among the largest purchasers of legal services—Fortune 1000 corporate counsel.

Toll Brothers Owner Loses Suit Against Former Son-in-Law

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Luxury house builder Bruce Toll has lost his suit against his former son-in-law over a multimillion-dollar business deal.

Pa. Supreme Court Eyes Forum Issue in Legal Mal Case

By Max Mitchell |

Moving a legal malpractice case from Philadelphia to Dauphin County would require the state Supreme Court to relax the standards of forum non conveniens to such a degree that case transfers would become the norm throughout the state, the plaintiffs counsel in Bratic v. Rubendall argued before the high court Tuesday.

Orie Melvin's Sentence Stayed

By Max Mitchell |

A stay has been entered, delaying for now the sentence of former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin stemming from her conviction on political corruption charges.

Democrats Sweep Allegheny Common Pleas Elections

By Max Mitchell |

In what could hardly count as a surprise, candidates with Democratic backing swept the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas elections last Tuesday.

Judges May Be Disciplined for Extrajudicial Conduct

By Max Mitchell |

Judges and magisterial district judges can be disciplined for illegal conduct that affects the integrity of the office, regardless of whether the conduct occurred within the judicial decision-making process, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

Judge Upholds Religious Exemptions To Obamacare, Siding With Employers

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A federal judge in Pittsburgh has again sided with the religious employers who are challenging the contraceptive-coverage mandate in Obamacare.

Critical Products Liability Debate Highlights Supreme Ct. Arguments

By Max Mitchell |

The state Supreme Court is set to hear whether the Restatement (Second) of Torts or the Restatement (Third) of Torts should govern Pennsylvania products liability at oral arguments today in Pittsburgh.

Orie Melvin, DA's Office Fight Over Apology Letters

By Zack Needles |

The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office and former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin are continuing their fight in the Superior Court over whether the portion of her sentence requiring her to send written apologies to every member of the judiciary, her family and others should be stayed permanently.

Judge's Beef With Ex-Partners Raises Ethical Question

By Zack Needles |

In a ruling that explored the ethical implications of practicing lawyers sharing fees with sitting judges, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled that an Allegheny County trial judge who is suing his former law partners over the distribution of their now-defunct firm's assets is not entitled to an accounting of contingent fee cases that were resolved following the firm's dissolution.

Western Pa. Dioceses Challenge Obamacare

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

Two Western Pennsylvania dioceses have joined the wave of challenges to the contraceptive mandate in Obamacare.

Ohio Firm Opens Pittsburgh Office With Energy Group

By Zack Needles |

Columbus, Ohio-based general practice firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease has opened a Pittsburgh office with three energy lawyers from Jackson Kell

Fraudulent Claim Verdict Tripled to $1.3 Mil.

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

A verdict against two Pittsburgh attorneys and a doctor has been tripled to $1.3 million in a case where they were found liable by a federal civil jury in West Virginia for violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by prosecuting 11 fraudulent asbestos claims by railroad employees against CSX Transportation.

Phila. Jury Awards $2.5 Mil. Verdict to Misrepresented Man

A Philadelphia jury has awarded a $2.5 million verdict to a man who alleged he was incorrectly portrayed by attorneys from Lentz, Cantor & Massey as being pertinent to a case surrounding the misuse of a family's assets through power of attorney.

Judge Awards $600,000 in Attorney Fees in Qui Tam Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

A federal judge has awarded $600,000 in attorney fees and costs to a group of whistleblowers following their settlement with one of two defendants in a qui tam suit in Erie.

Firm Ripped Over 'Ploy' to Keep Malpractice Case in Home County

By Hank Grezlak |

A Butler County law firm has been harshly criticized by the state Superior Court for filing a declaratory judgment action against a former client, because the court said it was nothing more than a "ploy" to have the former client's legal malpractice action tried in the firm's home county.

Nursing Staff Documents Confidential Under Peer Review

By Max Mitchell |

Documents created by nursing staff after receiving an incident report are safe from disclosure during medical malpractice discovery under the Peer Review Protection Act, an Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas judge has ruled.

Split Panel Upholds $1.3 Mil. Punitive Bad-Faith Award

By Zack Needles |

A sharply divided Pennsylvania Superior Court has upheld the bulk of a nearly $1.5 million Beaver County insurance bad-faith award, including nearly $1.3 million in punitive damages and $150,000 in attorney fees, against Travelers Personal Insurance Co.

Third Circuit Again OKs Drilling in Allegheny Forest

By Zack Needles |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has once again cleared the way for drilling to continue in the Allegheny National Forest after a long battle between mineral rights owners, the U.S. Forest Service and environmental groups.

Judge Upholds Carnegie Mellon's $1 Bil. Patent Verdict

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

While Carnegie Mellon University presented three competent experts on damages during the jury trial that granted it a billion-dollar verdict in its patent suit against Marvell Technology Group, two of the defense's three expert witnesses slept, the federal judge said in an opinion on post-trial motions.

Jury to Decide if Public Denial of Gun Sale Was Defamation

By P.J. D'annunzio |

A jury must decide whether a man was defamed when a Wal-Mart employee announced she was stopping the sale of a firearm to the man in front of other shoppers, a Lawrence County court has ruled.

Justices to Decide if Third Parties Need Certificate of Merit

By Hank Grezlak and Zack Needles |

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case in which it is being asked to decide if third parties need to get a certificate of merit in order to sue defendants for professional negligence, even if they weren't a client or patient.

Judge Allows Lawsuit Over Computer 'Spy' Program to Survive

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

An invasion of privacy claim involving the alleged interception and transmission of a Washington state woman's emails and communications to a company in Pennsylvania - via a "spy" program on a rent-to-own computer - cannot be dismissed based on lack of jurisdiction, a federal judge in Pennsylvania has ruled.

Kane: Criminal Complaint Against Driller Appropriate

By John L. Kennedy |

Attorney General Kathleen Kane has turned aside criticism from the business community that her pursuit of criminal charges against XTO Energy Inc., a natural gas driller and subsidiary of ExxonMobil, is excessive and counterproductive.

CJD Says No Pay for Orie Melvin During Her Interim Suspension

By Zack Needles |

The state Court of Judicial Discipline has ordered that Justice Joan Orie Melvin not be paid during her interim suspension.

Electronic Copyright Case Too Clouded for Summary Judgment

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

In a case brought by an energy industry publisher alleging copyright infringement against a steelworkers' union that distributed its electronic newsletter to several executives from a single subscription, a federal judge has ruled that summary judgment would be premature on nearly all issues.

Judge Refuses New Trial in Billion-Dollar Patent Case

By Saranac Hale Spencer |

On the heels of a $1.17 billion verdict in a patent case, a federal judge took a hard line with the losing party after it filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law or a new trial.

Com. Ct.: Companies Are 'Taxable Inhabitants,' Too

By P.J. D'Annunzio |

Individuals who own summer homes and corporations that own property within a school district can be considered "taxable inhabitants" in that school district, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.