News

Western PA

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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$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.