Joanne Murray, a partner of Antheil Maslow & MacMinn and member of the firm's business and finance practice group, was a presenter at the Bucks County Bar Association's continuing legal education program, "Company Formation Best Practices: People and Collateral."
• On Monday, Sept. 25, the Support Center for Child Advocates (SCCA) will host its 12th annual golf classic, Swing for Change, at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. This event benefits the SCCA Project for Medically Needy Children, a critical program led by a staff attorney and social worker who team with specially trained volunteer lawyers to secure necessary medical treatment, special education, rehabilitation services and permanent nurturing homes for young clients that have serious or chronic medical needs. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and lunch is at 11 a.m. To register, visit https://tinyurl.com/ya25k8fj.
An arbitration award that reinstated a teacher accused of making repeated sexually explicit comments toward his female co-worker violated the public policy against sexual harassment and cannot be enforced, the Commonwealth Court has ruled.
Plaintiff's complaint seeking to recover legal fees from a contingency fee agreement to represent defendants in a dispute with their property insurer was dismissed with prejudice because a prior court had determined that plaintiff was not entitled to the legal fees since he was terminated for unlawful activity--the unauthorized practice of law and the failure to disclose his suspension to clients--and the current action asserting breach of contract, detrimental reliance, unjust enrichment and other claims against defendants and others was barred by the final judgment that foreclosed his equitable or legal rights to a contingency fee. Dismissed.
The court dismissed a defendant's counterclaim for intentional infliction of emotional distress where the harassing and annoying conduct, including text messages, a frivolous lawsuit, and third-party contacts, did not constitute outrageous conduct.
Plaintiff sufficiently alleged the actual or constructive knowledge element of a corporate negligence claim where he alleged that the defendant nursing home failed to adequately supervise its actual and ostensible agents and neglected to implement and enforce procedures to ensure the safety and care of its residents. The court overruled the defendants' preliminary objection.
Venue in this medical malpractice proceeding was proper in the county where some of the alleged negligent treatment occurred. Plaintiffs' complaint alleged sufficient details to support claims for corporate negligence and vicarious liability, but they did not allege sufficiently culpable conduct to support punitive damages claims as to all the defendants.
Reconsideration of summary judgment denied where prior ruling based on express language of parties' contract, and where "newly discovered" evidence was accessible to party prior to summary judgment. Motion for reconsideration denied.
Trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting summary judgment in favor of home building company in homeowner's UTPCPL claim over allegedly defective stucco because owner was not in privity with company and failed to establish that company made any representations about her specific home or the stucco upon which she could justifiably rely. Affirmed.
A former employee exhausted her administrative remedies with regard to a gender discrimination claim when she timely submitted a completed questionnaire, even though the agency refused to take action based on its erroneous belief that it did not have jurisdiction.
While the defendant university's inquiry into the collapse of an on-campus garage was ancillary to its public safety services and thus not a noncriminal investigation under Section 708(b)(17) of the Right-to-Know Law, the university was entitled to an in-camera review of certain documents that might be exempt from the law under attorney-client privilege. The court affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded.
The trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting defendant's extrajudicial statements to police and a nurse caring for an abused elder where the Commonwealth had already proffered sufficient evidence of the corpus delicti, or body of the crimes charged, to entitle the case to go to the trier of fact. The appellate court affirmed defendant's judgment of sentence.
Trial court erred in approving conditional use application for farm-to-table workshop program as an educational use, where the record supported the township's finding that education was an accessory use and the primary use was like that of a restaurant. Order of the trial court reversed.
While Pennsylvania had jurisdiction over the parties' two children who lived in North Carolina with their mother, the court declined to exercise jurisdiction over this custody dispute because North Carolina, where the children received significant medical care, was the more appropriate forum. The court granted mother's preliminary objection.
In this asbestos litigation, plaintiffs' wrongful death claim was time-barred because they failed to amend the complaint to include such a claim within two years of the date on which one of the plaintiffs was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
The trial court erred in granting defendant's omnibus pretrial motion to suppress a fireman defendant discarded in a flowerpot as he walked away from police where the totality of the circumstances established that defendant was not seized when initially encountered by police. The court reversed a suppression order and remanded for further proceedings.
The court granted plaintiffs' request to amend their pleading in this class-action suit challenging the city of Scranton's rental registration fees since the amendment raised the same legal issue prompted by the original complaint and defendant failed to identify any prejudice it would suffer if the request was granted. The court granted plaintiffs' motion to amend.
The trial court erred in granting defendant's petition for writ of habeas corpus based on a potential evidentiary challenge to a hearsay statement offered at defendant's preliminary hearing since the court was bound to consider such evidence in determining whether the Commonwealth established a prima facie case. The court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
Unemployment compensation board properly found that claimant did not meet her burden under the "follow the spouse" doctrine to show that circumstances beyond the control of the spouse caused the need to relocate when spouse accepted scholarship to study theology in Florida because spouse had been working in Pennsylvania, even if part time, and he had no offer of employment in Florida. Affirmed.
The compulsory joinder rule requiring joinder of DUI and summary traffic offenses did not apply in judicial districts that had separate traffic courts with exclusive and limited jurisdiction to dispose of summary offenses, which required DUI charges held for trial in general jurisdiction courts. Order of the trial court reversed.
Class certification denied where plaintiffs failed to satisfy numerosity requirement, as joinder of the proposed class members was not impractical due to cost and resource sharing through joinder mitigating the financial and logistical barriers to joinder. Motion for class certification denied.
Trial court properly dismissed appellant prisoner's constitutional claims over the destruction of photographs that had been confiscated by prison mail room because they came from an unapproved vendor because his fundamental due process rights of notice and an opportunity to be heard were fully protected and to the extent he claimed the photographs were intentionally destroyed, those claims were properly dismissed and he never alleged negligence in the destruction of the photographs. Affirmed.
District court properly denied gasoline company's motion to compel arbitration in action brought by credit cardholder who alleged he did not receive the gas discount promised for the use of the credit card because company was not a third-party beneficiary of the credit card agreement and estoppel did not apply since there was no alleged "concerted action" and cardholder's claims did not rely on any terms in the credit card agreement. Affirmed.
Board properly suspended claimant's benefits because employer established that claimant's loss of earnings was related to his voluntary quitting after he received a reprimand rather than to any factor related to his work injury. Affirmed.
Defendant's contention that his 1978 conviction for criminal trespass did not constitute an "enumerated offense" under Section 6105 of the Uniform Firearms Act, thus barring him from owning a gun, was meritless; therefore, trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to raise the claim. The court affirmed an order denying defendant relief under the Post Conviction Relief Act.
Orphans' court did not err in denying photocopy of will to probate, where court credited forensic examiner's testimony indicating discrepancies with the photocopy raising questions of the document's authenticity, and found beneficiary's testimony of circumstances of finding photocopy not credible. Order of the orphans' court affirmed.
Trial court properly affirmed the OOR order that required the DAO to provide requester with a certified copy of a redacted CAD, which requester had provided to the DAO, under Section 904 of the RTKL but trial court erred in holding that a declaration made by the DAO satisfied the certification requirement because the declaration did not meet the standard of verifying the authenticity of the document. Affirmed in part and reversed in part.
Civil Rights Act claim failed where plaintiff failed to plead that defendant was a "public accommodation" under the act, or that he was denied service because his race, color, religion or national origin. Motion to dismiss granted, with prejudice in part and without prejudice in part.
Where relation of treatment to work-related injury appeared to be obvious, employer had burden to demonstrate that treatment was unrelated to or not caused by the work injury to avoid liability for treatment expenses. Order of the WCAB reversed.
Workers' compensation board properly affirmed the WCJ's dismissal of claimant's reinstatement petition because claimant failed to establish a causal connection between her current condition and her recognized work-related injuries, failed to comply with the special rules relating to the admissibility of a doctor's report and failed to establish a worsening of her condition subsequent to the termination of her benefits. Affirmed.
Reinventing yourself after retirement can take many forms. I morphed from a judge to an executive director of Temple's Sheller Center for Social Justice and then into an arbitrator/mediator for the Dispute Resolution Institute.
Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Sept. 18. The state Senate was continuing in session at press time; the Pennsylvania House of Representatives was set to return to session on Monday.
During a recent appearance at George Mason Law School, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave a speech about Title IX regulations that placed virtually all higher education academic institutions in limbo. Focusing her speech on colleges and universities, DeVos told the audience that the current Department of Education regulations regarding sexual misconduct adjudicatory processes on campus are unjust, but she did not offer specific guidance as to what it would consider fair.
Over the course of the last year, Pennsylvania has experienced a variety of regulatory and legislative developments and proposals relating to oil and gas activity in the state, specifically with regard to environmental rulemaking for unconventional wells, remedies for failure to pay minimum royalties, streamlined permitting procedures for unconventional wells and related infrastructure and severance taxes.
I read your article about the independence of outside counsel versus in-house corporate counsel. I have seen more and more litigations are being handled in-house by insurance companies either through staff counsel or through "captured law firms," even though those firms might have the appearance of a private firm but they are owned by the insurance company. Is this ethical or does it create issues?
Often when clients hire an attorney they believe their issues are so difficult, they will most likely end up in court. But attorneys can provide alternatives to their clients. One such alternative for complex divorce or support issues is private arbitration. This alternative to court can be extremely beneficial to clients in a divorce.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court's June decision in Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation v. Wolf, 161 A.3d 911 (Pa. 2017) (PEDF), has sparked many conversations about how the newly interpreted Environmental Rights Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution will be implemented.
On Sept. 8, nearly a month ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline, the EB-5 Regional Center Program was extended to Dec. 8, as part of H.R.601. While the extension of the EB-5 Regional Center Program is a welcome development, yet another short-term extension of the EB-5 Regional Center Program leaves the EB-5 immigration community to wonder what changes may be brought by future legislation and how the requirements for participation in the EB-5 Regional Center Program will be updated and, presumably, augmented.
The defendant property owner failed to demonstrate an unnecessary hardship to justify the grant of two dimensional variances for the construction of a mixed use commercial and residential building, even under the relaxed standard set forth in Hertzberg v. Zoning Board of Adjustment of City of Pittsburgh. The court granted the zoning hearing board's appeal.
Defendants were entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff's breach of contract, unjust enrichment, quantum meruit and conversion claims based on LLC's refinancing of shopping center loan after plaintiff introduced former member of LLC to equity firm that latter refinanced the loan because plaintiff produced no evidence that member had any relationship with LLC in 2013 when he signed agreement with plaintiff and was introduced to equity firm and there was no evidence that equity firm's transaction with LLC in 2014 had any relation to plaintiff's introduction of equity firm to member. Motions granted.
Army Corps of Engineers properly granted Section 404 permit where objectors' proposed alternative had significant adverse environmental impacts in the form of permanent deforestation and light and greenhouse gas pollution that applicant's proposed project did not. Petition for review denied.
District court properly denied Transportation Security Administration supervisor's motion for summary judgment in passenger's Fourth Amendment malicious prosecution claim because there were material disputes as to the facts of supervisor's and passenger's TSA screening encounter but erred in finding that supervisor did not have qualified immunity on passenger's First Amendment retaliatory prosecution claim because the special factors in the specific context of airport security screening precluded courts from finding a Bivens cause of action for First Amendment retaliation.
Employer's motion for judgment as a matter of law and for a new trial in employee's wrongful termination action based on age discrimination and FMLA retaliation was denied because there was sufficient evidence for a jury to find that employee's taking FMLA leave was causally linked to her termination. Motion denied, employee's motion granted.
The plaintiff estate was entitled to relief on its motion for reconsideration where it challenged certain mathematical errors in the court's calculations that were evident on the face of the court's order but not as to claims that involved more than just a mathematical error. The court granted plaintiff's motion for reconsideration in part.
Trial court properly held that elderly parents had no legal obligation to pay for their severely autistic adult son's care in appellant's Pennsylvania facility after New Jersey department of disabilities ceased paying because the services were not rendered to parents personally, they never contracted to pay for the services, New Jersey had the most significant contacts in the controversy and the New Jersey filial support law applied, and parents experienced no personal enrichment so appellant's quantum meruit claim failed. Affirmed.
Commonwealth Court correctly found that nomination certificate was untimely filed and that equitable estoppel did not apply because the 50 day deadline for a special election did not burden appellant's rights. Affirmed.
Member of a federal credit union lacked standing to bring a derivative action, where the Federal Credit Union Act did not specifically authorize such standing, and where plaintiff failed to make demand upon the credit union to assert its rights and the credit union refused or failed to do so. Order of the trial court affirmed.
The trial court erred in quashing two Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act (PUFA) charges against defendant since his possession of a certificate issued pursuant to the Lethal Weapons Training Act did not excuse him from the PUFA requirement of a license to carry. The court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
This summer, while your attention may have been understandably focused elsewhere, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania issued two noteworthy decisions offering brief-writing and issue selection advice. Because helping lawyers improve the quality of their appellate advocacy is a regular focus of this column, and because the appellate advocacy aspects of these two recent rulings did not garner widespread notice, a closer look at the relevant aspects of these two recent decisions is warranted.
FERC issued a key and welcome decision on Sept. 15, when it held that the state of New York, through its passive-aggressive handling of a federal Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 certification, had waived its authority to issue the certification.
Actor Will Smith, as Dr. Bennett Omalu, had the theatrical liberty to postulate that repetitive helmeted/head impacts on the football field caused Mike Webster, Justin Strzelczky, Andre Waters and Dave Duerson to take their lives; he charged that they took their lives after they became emotionally unstable because they suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). That theatrical assertion was first chronicled and scientifically postulated by Omalu in a published paper in 2010, when he introduced the notion that suicidality was a clinical feature of CTE.
Of the 1,343 current Superfund National Priority List (NPL) sites in the nation, over 15 percent are in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. One hundred and fourteen of the sites are in New Jersey, and 95 are in Pennsylvania, the first and third highest totals of any state. The NPL is intended to target and identify the most severe or complex contaminated sites in the country.
A woman claiming she was injured while exploring a brain-themed exhibit at the Franklin Institute can proceed with allegations of negligence against the Philadelphia-based science museum, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled.
On Aug. 16, 2015, at about 10 p.m., plaintiff Gary Hudson, 52, an airport manager, was with a female friend at Carlette's Hideaway, a tavern in Lansdowne. While they were there, his friend's ex-husband, Eugene Reagan, approached and started asking who Hudson was, and whether he was her boyfriend. She told him they were just friends. Reagan then asked Hudson the same question, and he also answered that they were friends. During the interaction, Reagan allegedly told Hudson, "Well, I just want you to know I have a gun." After his continued attempts to talk to them, Reagan was escorted from the bar.
A fundamental benefit of Chapter 11 is a debtor's ability to assume and assign executory contracts and unexpired leases over the objection of a nondebtor counterparty, even when the contract contains otherwise valid anti-assignment provisions. Moreover, as demonstrated in a recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, this statutory tool can be used despite its negative impact upon the underlying economics of the original contract, as in Antone v. Haggen Holdings (In re Haggen Holdings), 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139272 (D. Del. Aug. 30).
The Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA) takes effect in Pennsylvania on Oct. 26. Approved by the Uniform Law Commission in 2010, RULONA modernizes and clarifies the law governing notaries public, their responsibilities and duties, and addresses the notarization of all records, whether on paper or electronic.
Following is a listing of executive and legislative action for the week of Sept. 11. The state House of Representatives was continuing in session at press time; the Pennsylvania Senate stood in recess and was set to return to session on Monday.
Every jurisdiction's court (federal and state) has the authority to sanction a party and its counsel for litigation misconduct. These sanctions tend to divide based on severity—from most severe to least: sua sponte (a court's inherent authority); vexatious multiplication of proceedings; frivolity; and discovery noncompliance. Each of these degrees of sanctions carry with it attendant sanctions damages. Likewise, each requires a greater level of intent (i.e., from the intentional "defilement" of the court to neglect).
Larry Coben's recent article in the Law Weekly, published on Aug. 15, asks the question, "Should Vehicle Manufacturers Be Entitled to Apportionment of Liability?" We contend that Pennsylvania's tort law should be applied to vehicle manufacturers in just the same way it is applied to any other litigant.
Most lawyers in Pennsylvania, regardless of whether they regularly practice employment law, are undoubtedly aware that under Pennsylvania law, "as a general rule, employees are at-will, absent a contract, and may be terminated at any time, for any reason or for no reason," as in Stumpp v. Stroudsburg Municipal Authority, 540 Pa. 391, 396 (1995). The practitioner should also be aware that among the few exceptions to the "at-will" employment doctrine are the statutory protections for employees afforded by Pennsylvania's Whistleblower Law, 43 P.S. Section 1421.
I noted billboards and other advertisements of a firm that is primarily based in Florida advertising in Pennsylvania. The firm features a picture of apparently the senior partner who states words to the effect, "I am your lawyer." They are advertising for personal injury cases. The ads give the impression that that lawyer will handle the cases. I am only aware of one office and one newly admitted lawyer in Pennsylvania for the firm. Is that ethical?
Bankruptcy cases are often filed after a distressed company has determined the only way for the business to survive as a going concern is to pursue a sale. The sale process is conducted prior to the filing, and the case is filed, together with a request that the court approve the sale of the company pursuant to the terms of the negotiated sale agreement unless a higher offer is received. Often there is no alternative, and the question is whether the sale to the bidder will be approved and closed. If it does not close and the company is forced to liquidate, other federal laws may come into play.
Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig co-founding partner Alan M. Feldman was selected for the 38th annual Justice Michael A. Musmanno Award bestowed by the Philadelphia Trial Lawyers Association.
Have you become immune to the latest breach headline unless you might be personally impacted (or unless it offered the opportunity to watch "Game of Thrones" episodes early)? Tired of wondering if today is the day we get breached, hacked or held for ransom? Sick of knowing that there is no perfect solution to cybersecurity? Dumbfounded by the amount of resources that are being thrown at the issue with no guarantees that you won't suffer a catastrophic cyberevent? Fed up with trying to navigate the ever-expanding regulatory web impacting the use of data and cybersecurity? Confused by how much and what type of cyberinsurance to purchase? Welcome to cyberfatigue.
Just as the adage is that "the coverup is worse than the crime," we know that in employment law, "the retaliation claim is more dangerous than the underlying discrimination." The latest example of this is in the recent decision of Austin v. Bloomin' Brands, Inc., 2:16-CV-06509-TR (Aug. 30).
Defendant was not entitled to attorney fees in Lanham Act trademark dispute because neither the way plaintiff litigated the case nor the disparity in strength between the parties' position was "exceptional" enough to merit attorney fees. Request denied.
The district court barred plaintiff's stigma-plus claim under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 for alleged reputational injury against a third party, finding that the actions constituting the stigma and the plus must both be performed by the defendant employer. The court granted defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint with prejudice.
District court properly granted summary judgment for power company in appellant employee's action alleging his termination violated the ADA because NRC regulations required that he have unrestricted access to company's plant and be fit for duty in his job as a nuclear security officer and after psychologist had found him not fit for duty, company had to restrict his access and he could no longer perform the "essential functions" of his job. Affirmed
Under the Gist of Action Doctrine, plaintiffs were barred from pursuing their claims of failure to perform in a workmanlike manner/negligence against defendants since the alleged negligence arose out of a duty created by a contractual relationship. The court granted defendants' preliminary objections in part.
Board's affirmance of WCJ's modification of claimant's benefits was reversed to the extent that it modified claimant's workers' compensation benefits from full to partial because under Protz v. Worker's Compensation Appeal Bd., 161 A.3d 827, §306(a.2) was stricken and thus, no provision of the act allowed for modification of benefits based on an IRE. Reversed.
The Department of State, State Board of Vehicle Manufacturers, Dealers and Salespersons erred in finding that petitioner, General Motors, Inc., violated Section 9(a)(3) of the Board of Vehicles Act by converting certain dealers to retail rate reimbursement for labor when those dealers elected to receive retail rate reimbursement for parts under the Act. The court reversed an order sustaining two counts of protest by the respondent dealers.
Trial court properly found that the current placement goal of reunification was not appropriate or feasible, ordered agency to file a petition for termination of parental rights and substantially reduced mother's visitation because mother had been incarcerated for endangering the welfare of an older child. Affirmed.
Trial court properly reformed provision of an agreement between plaintiff and township that was based on a mutual mistake as to the amount of life insurance that was available under township's group policy for former employees to the amount available under the policy. Affirmed.
Trial court properly entered summary judgment in favor of store in appellant's action based on fight she had with a third party in the store because appellant was a business invitee, there was no evidence of any past violence or issues with or by the third party in the store and store satisfied its duty to aid by calling the police. Affirmed.
The trial court did not err in granting the defendant general contractor's motion for nonsuit at the close of plaintiff's case and before all defendants offered their evidence where the other defendants in the case did not plan to offer evidence of the contractor's liability. The court affirmed an order granting the general contractor non-suit.
As attorneys who represented amici in the recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court case In re L.B.M., we write to respond to the June 26, public interest column describing the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision in that case, ("Providing a Voice for the Child in Court"). With respect for our colleagues at the Support Center for Child Advocates, we believe that this column understates both the breadth and the clarity of the court's holding in that case.
Every month, in every county of the commonwealth, a sheriff's sale typically takes place where third parties can bid on real estate in that county which is subject to tax or mortgage foreclosure proceedings.
While shareholders across different business sectors necessarily have diverse concerns, executive compensation is a topic that remains at the top of nearly all shareholders' lists of corporate governance priorities. Largely beginning with the implementation of "say-on-pay" votes under The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Dodd-Frank Act), companies have increased communications with shareholders and have begun more recently to proactively respond to shareholder concerns.
On June 17, 2013, plaintiff Joseph Michael Shimko, 17, was diagnosed with hemorrhoids at Geisinger-Kistler Clinic, in Wilkes-Barre. He had presented to the facility with bilateral knee pain and what he believed to be hemorrhoids-related symptoms. He was seen by a second-year resident, who, upon diagnosing him with hemorrhoids, prescribed a suppository (he was also diagnosed with bilateral patellar tendonitis). The physician told him to return for follow-up care if his symptoms did not improve.
In December 2015, plaintiff Joel Allen, a hostler in his mid-50s, was terminated from his job with the Philadelphia Police. He had worked for the mounted police department for about 12 years. His duties consisted of caring for the horses used by police officers.
As summer has been winding down, so many of our clients' children and grandchildren have headed off to college in the last few weeks and have begun (or resumed) tackling hefty tuition bills. Many families have set aside funds, in one form or another, in advance for these college costs.
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