Recently, the constitutionality of the Dragonetti Act, as applied to lawyers, was questioned by Chester County Court of Common Pleas Judge Edward Griffith. Griffith, after lengthy examination of the Dragonetti Act’s elements and penalties as applied to attorneys, held the Dragonetti Act is unconstitutional as applied to lawyers, in Villani v. Seibert, No. 2012-09795 (Chester Ct. Com. Pl. 2015). The reasoning and holding of Griffith was examined and adopted by Judge Mark L. Tunnell, who also found the Dragonetti Act is unconstitutional as applied to lawyers in Estate of Smith v. Freehand H.J., No 2011-04211 (Chester Ct. Com. Pl. 2015).
These judges found the Dragonetti Act unconstitutionally encroaches on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s exclusive power to regulate the conduct of attorneys. The Pennsylvania Constitution gives sole authority to regulate the conduct of attorneys to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Constitution, Article 5, Section 10 provides, in relevant part:
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