Rule Amendments and Court Opinions of Interest to ACBA Members

For past court capsules, please follow the corresponding link below. 
Current | 2017 | 2016 | 2015

May

US Supreme Court

May 31, 2017 | In the context of statutory rape offenses that criminalize sexual intercourse based solely on the ages of the participants, the generic federal definition of “sexual abuse of a minor” requires the age of the victim to be less than 16. Read the opinion here.

May 31, 2017 | A patentee’s decision to sell a product exhausts all of its patent rights in that item, regardless of any restrictions the patentee purports to impose. Read the opinion here.

May 22, 2017 | The Hague Service Convention does not prohibit service of process by mail. Read the opinion here.

May 22, 2017 | As applied to domestic corporations, “residence” in 28 U. S. C. §1400(b) refers only to the State of incorporation. Read the opinion here.  

May 16, 2017 | A state court may not order a veteran to indemnify a divorced spouse for the loss in the divorced spouse’s portion of the veteran’s retirement pay caused by the veteran’s waiver of retirement pay to receive service-related disability benefits. Read the opinion here

May 16, 2017 | The filing of a proof of claim that is obviously time barred is not a false, deceptive, misleading, unfair, or unconscionable debt collection practice within the meaning of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Read the opinion here.

May 16, 2017 | The Kentucky Supreme Court’s clear-statement rule violates the Federal Arbitration Act by singling out arbitration agreements for disfavored treatment. Read the opinion here.

May 2, 2017 | A city is an “aggrieved person” authorized to bring suit under the FHA. Read the opinion here.

US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

May 10, 2017 | Third Circuit reviews “particularly serious crimes” under the Immigration and Nationality Act for purposes of withholding of removal. Read the opinion here.

May 4, 2017 | An alien subject to a reinstated removal order may not apply for asylum. Read the opinion here.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

May 23, 2017 | A home rule municipality may not amend its home rule charter to eliminate mandatory subjects of bargaining as defined by the Police and Firemen Collective Bargaining Act. Read the opinion here.

May 23, 2017 |The Civil Procedural Rules Committee is planning to propose to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania the amendment of Pa.R.C.P. Nos. 1018 and 1033, and the adoption of new Pa.R.C.P. No. 2005 governing the designation of an unknown defendant by a fictitious name.  Comments due 8/4. More info here.

May 17, 2017 | Rules 1320 and 1321 (Private Petition Application) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure are amended. Read the order here, the new rule here, and the final report here

May 17, 2017 | Rules 240, 242, and 1242 (Detention/Detention Hearing/Shelter Care Hearing) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure are amended. Read the order here, the new rule here, and the final report here.

May 11, 2017 | Rules 512, 610, and 612 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure are amended. Read the order here, the new rule here, and the final report here.

May 3, 2017 | Rules 531 (Qualifications of Surety) and 536 (Procedures upon Violation of Conditions: Revocation of Release and Forfeiture; Bail Pieces; Exoneration of Surety) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure have been amended. Read the order here, the new rule here, the dissenting statement here, and the final report here.

Pennsylvania Superior Court

May 24, 2017 | Plaintiffs adduced sufficient proof to go to the jury on the question of whether they were wrongfully discharged because they intended, as mandated reporters, to file a report of suspected abuse or neglect. Read the opinion here.

May 8, 2017 | Error to allow defendant to admit evidence of the “known risks and complications” of a surgical procedure in a medical malpractice case that did not involve informed consent-related claims. Read the opinion here.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

May 24, 2017 | Error to rule res judicata and collateral estoppel barred workers’ compensation claimant’s litigation of her additional medical conditions. Read the opinion here

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

May 9, 2017 | The May 12 PLJ Opinions is available and contain opinions on personal injury, class action, liquor control board, settlement, and criminal appeals. View it here.

April

US Supreme Court

April 27, 2017 | In a suit brought against a tribal employee in his individual capacity, the employee, not the tribe, is the real party in interest and the tribe’s sovereign immunity is not implicated. Read the opinion here.

April 20, 2017 | A defendant wishing to appeal an order imposing restitution in a deferred restitution case must file a notice of appeal from that order. If he/she fails to do so and the Government objects, he/she may not challenge the restitution order on appeal. Read the opinion here.  

April 20, 2017 | Because contractual subrogation and reimbursement prescriptions plainly “relate to . . . payments with respect to benefits,”§8902(m)(1), they override state laws barring subrogation and reimbursement. Read the opinion here

April 19, 2017 | When a federal court exercises its inherent authority to sanction bad-faith conduct by ordering a litigant to pay the other side’s legal fees, the award is limited to the fees the innocent party incurred solely because of the misconduct—or put another way, to the fees that party would not have incurred but for the bad faith. Read the opinion here.

April 4, 2017 | Section 924(c) does not prevent a sentencing court from considering a mandatory minimum imposed under that provision when calculating an appropriate sentence for the predicate offense. Read the opinion here.

April 4, 2017 | A district court’s decision whether to enforce or quash an EEOC subpoena should be reviewed for abuse of discretion, not de novo. Read the opinion here.

US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

April 28, 2017 | A policy exclusion that disclaims losses “arising out of asbestos” prevents a manufacturer from obtaining indemnification for thousands of negotiated settlements with plaintiffs who have suffered adverse health effects from exposure to its asbestos-containing products. Read the opinion here.

April 11, 2017 | 11 U.S.C. §362(k)(1) authorizes the award of emotional-distress damages when willful violations of the automatic stay arising from bankruptcy petition are committed. Read the opinion here.

April 3, 2017  |  Survival of claims under the Fair Housing Act is not governed by Section 1988(a), but rather by federal common law, under which a Fair Housing Act claim survives the death of a party. Read the opinion here.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

 April 27, 2017 | Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole abused its discretion in failing to consider whether to grant CPVs credit for time spent at liberty on parole. Read the opinion here, the concurring opinion here,  and the concurring/dissenting opinion here.

April 26, 2017 | There are proposed amendments of Pa.R.C.P. Nos. 1910.4, 1910.16-4, 1920.1, 1920.13, 1920.15, 1920.31, 1920.51, 1920.52, 1920.54, 1920.56, and 1920.74. Click here to read the notice of proposed rulemaking, here to read the new rule, and here to read the report.

April 24, 2017 | Rules 208, 215 and 219 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement are amended. Read the order here.

April 18, 2017 | The Minor Court Rules Committee is planning to propose to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania the adoption of Pa.R.C.P.M.D.J. No. 514.1, as well as the amendment of Pa.R.C.P.M.D.J. Nos. 501, 514-515, 1001-1002 and 1005, providing for a 30-day appeal period for tenants who are victims of domestic violence in actions involving residential leases. Read the notice of proposed rulemaking here and the new rule here.

April 4, 2017 | Numerous Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure have been amended. Read the order here, the new rule here, and the final report here.

Pennsylvania Superior Court

April 17, 2017 | FAA doesn’t preempt claims of negligence relating to boarding an aircraft. Read the opinion here.

April 11, 2017 | Trial court abused its discretion in changing the dependent child’s permanency goal from reunification to adoption following a status review hearing where the record did not support such a goal change. Read the opinion here.

April 10, 2017 | A search warrant in which the reliability of a confidential informant (“CI”) and the facts of criminal conduct that the CI provided the police have not been adequately corroborated cannot supply the basis for either a search or an arrest. Read the opinion here, and the dissenting opinion here.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

April 11, 2017 | Declaration of taking that misidentifies property does not give adequate notice of the extent or effect of the taking. Read the opinion here.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

April 25, 2017 | The 4/28 PLJ Opinions is now available, and contains numerous Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas’ opinions on criminal appeals. Read it here.  

April 21, 2017 | The latest PLJ Opinions is available and contains opinions on criminal appeals. Read it here.

March

US Supreme Court

Mar. 22, 2017 | Bankruptcy courts may not approve structured dismissals that provide for distributions that do not follow ordinary priority rules without the consent of affected creditors. Read the opinion here.

Mar. 22, 2017 | A feature incorporated into the design of a useful article is eligible for copyright protection only if the feature (1) can be perceived as a two- or three-dimensional work of art separate from the useful article, and (2) would qualify as a protectable pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work—either on its own or fixed in some other tangible medium of expression—if it were imagined separately from the useful article into which it is incorporated. Read the opinion here

Mar. 22, 2017 |To meet its substantive obligation under the IDEA, a school must offer an IEP reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances. Read the opinion here.

Mar. 21, 2017 | Pretrial detention can violate the Fourth Amendment not only when it precedes, but also when it follows, the start of legal process. Read the opinion here

Mar. 21, 2017 | Laches cannot be invoked as a defense against a claim for damages brought within the Patent Act §286’s 6-year limitations period. Read the opinion here.

Mar. 6, 2017 | Recusal is required when, objectively speaking, “the probability of actual bias on the part of the judge or decisionmaker is too high to be constitutionally tolerable.” Read the opinion here.

Mar. 6, 2017 | The Federal Sentencing Guidelines, including §4B1.2(a)’s residual clause, are not subject to vagueness challenges under the Due Process Clause. Read the opinion here.

Mar. 6, 2017 | Where a juror makes a clear statement indicating that he or she relied on racial stereotypes or animus to convict a criminal defendant, the Sixth Amendment requires that the no-impeachment rule give way in order to permit the trial court to consider the evidence of the juror’s statement and any resulting denial of the jury trial guarantee. Read the opinion here.

Mar. 2, 2017 | U.S. Supreme Court rules that district court employed incorrect legal standard in determining that race didn’t predominate in 11 of 12 new state legislative districts drawn by the Virginia State Legislature. Read the opinion here

US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Mar. 9, 2017 | Homeowners Protection Act requires ending of PMI obligation remain tied to the initial purchase price of the home. Read the opinion here.

Mar. 7, 2017 | Ex-resident can bring private causes of action for sex discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. against a private teaching hospital operating a residency program. Read the opinion here.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Mar. 29, 2017 | Need for appointment of counsel for child in a contested involuntary termination of parental rights hearing is not satisfied by an appointment of a guardian ad litem, even if the GAL is an attorney. Read the majority opinion here. Read the concurring opinion here, a dissenting opinion here, and a dissenting opinion here

Mar. 28, 2017 | "Identity or expression" added to list of prohibited biases in Judicial Code of Conduct. Read the order here and the new rule here

Mar. 28, 2017 | Presumption that information of public record cannot be considered “unknown” for purposes of proving the newly-discovered facts exception to the time requirements of the PCRA doesn’t apply to pro se prisoner petitioners. Read the opinion here, the concurring opinion here, and the dissenting opinion here.

Mar. 28, 2017 | A suspended attorney may not represent claimants in unemployment compensation proceedings. Read the opinion here, concurring and dissenting opinion here, and the dissenting opinion here.

Mar. 23, 2017 | The Criminal Procedural Rules Committee is planning to propose to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania the adoption of new Rule 490.1 (Procedures for Obtaining Expungement of Truancy Cases; Expungement Order). Comments due May 5. For more information click here.

Mar. 14, 2017 | There are proposed amendments to Pa.R.Crim.P. 522 (Detention of Witnesses) and proposed revisions to the comments of Pa.Rs.Crim.P. 150 (Bench Warrants) and 151 (Bench Warrant Procedures When Witness is under Age of18 Years). For more information click here

Mar. 1, 2017 | Pa. Rules of Evidence 803.1 and 804 have been amended, and the comment to Rule 613 has been revised. Read the order here, the amended rules here, and the final report here

Pennslvania Superior Court

Mar. 27, 2017 | Absent circumstances such as those in Commonwealth vs. Wright, the court may not go beyond the jury’s verdict in fashioning its restitution award. Read the opinion here.

Mar. 23, 2017 | Court erred in ordering without a hearing that reunification with Mother is ruled out and that the DHS goal be changed to adoption. Read the opinion here.

Mar. 13, 2017 | Error in suppressing drugs that were found in a pair of pants lying on the ground in a house being searched pursuant to a valid warrant. Read the opinion here.

Mar. 8, 2017 | Mother bringing Appellee to the police station and advising him to tell the truth cannot be reasonably interpreted to rise to the level of coercion such that suppression of statements is warranted. Read the opinion here and the dissenting opinion here.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

Mar. 17, 2017 | Claimant’s average weekly wage must be calculated based on how wages were earned on the date of injury, not at some other point during employment with Employer. Read the opinion here.

Mar. 13, 2017 | Inquiry of whether claimant is a temporary seasonal worker focuses on the nature of the work rather than on the period during which the business operates. Read the opinion here.

Mar. 9, 2017 | WCAB erred in applying Act 46 retroactively to resurrect a claim that had extinguished under law governing at the time of Decedent’s injury/death. Read the opinion here.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

Mar. 31, 2017 | The 3/31 PLJ Opinions are available and contain opinions on discovery, pleadings, and criminal appeals. Read it here.

Mar. 20, 2017 | Latest PLJ Opinions contains opinions on liquor law, personal injury and criminal appeals. Read it here.

Mar. 1, 2017 | The 3/3 PLJ Opinions is available and contains numerous opinions on criminal appeals. Read it here

 

February

US Supreme Court

Feb. 22, 2017 | Exhaustion of the IDEA’s administrative procedures is unnecessary where the gravamen of the plaintiff’s suit is something other than the denial of the IDEA’s core guarantee of a FAPE. Read the opinion here

Feb. 22, 2017 | The supply of a single component of a multicomponent invention for manufacture abroad does not give rise to §271(f)(1) liability under the Patent Act. Read the opinion here.

US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Feb. 9, 2017 | There is a constitutionally protected liberty interest that prohibits the State from continuing to house inmates in solitary confinement on death row after they have been granted resentencing hearings, without meaningful review of the continuing placement. Read the opinion here.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Feb. 15, 2017 | Rules 219(a), 219(j) and 502(b) (Annual Registration of Attorneys) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement have been amended. Read the order here and the new rule here.

Feb. 14, 2017 | Rule 2572 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure  (Time for Remand of Record) has been amended. Read the order here and the new rule here.

Feb. 9, 2017 | Rules 1910.16-1, 1910.16-2, 1910.16-3, 1910.16-3.1, 1910.16-4, 1910.16-6, and 1910.16-7 of the Pa.R.C.Pro. have been amended. Read the order here and the new rule here

Feb. 7, 2017 | Rules 152 and 242 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure (Waiver of Counsel/Detention hearing) have been amended. View the order here, the new rule here, and the final report here

Feb. 2, 2017 | Rule 1033 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (Amendment) has been amended. View the order here, the new rule here, and the explanatory comment here.

Pennsylvania Superior Court

Feb. 27, 2017 | 21-year adverse possession period “tolled” vs. “reset” during the time that counties owned disputed real property. Read the opinion here and the dissenting opinion here.

Feb. 22, 2017 | Judicial privilege does not apply to claims for wrongful use of civil proceedings and abuse of process. Read the opinion here.

Feb. 1, 2017 | Pa. Superior Court reviews newly-discovered facts exception under section 9545(b)(1)(ii) of the PCRA. Read the opinion here.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

Feb. 27, 2017 | The trial court must consider whether case facts constitute an emergency placement such that a lack of services from DHS was reasonable. Read the opinion here.

Feb. 15, 2017 | Pa. Commonwealth Court reviews the “coming and going” rule. Read the opinion here.

Feb. 13, 2017 | Where there are multiple injuries, but the tort recovery covers only some of those injuries, subrogation is likewise limited. Read the opinion here.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

Feb. 14, 2017 | The 2/17 PLJ Opinions is available online and contains cases on criminal appeals. Read it here

 

January

US Supreme Court

Jan. 18, 2017 | Fannie Mae’s sue-and-be-sued clause does not grant federal courts jurisdiction over all cases involving Fannie Mae. Read the opinion here.

Jan. 10, 2017 | U.S. Supreme Court addresses the situation of an officer who—having arrived late at an ongoing police action—shoots and kills an armed occupant of the house without first giving a warning. Read the opinion here.

 

US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Jan. 20, 2017 | Stolen laptops containing sensitive personal information can lead to a Fair Credit Reporting Act Claim. Even without evidence that the Plaintiffs’ information was in fact used improperly, the alleged disclosure of their personal information creates a de facto injury. Read the opinion here.

Jan. 10, 2017 | A disparate-impact claim is cognizable where a “subgroup” of employees aged 50+ was alleged to have been disfavored relative to younger employees. Read the opinion here.

Jan. 4, 2017 | 28 U.S.C. §2255 is an adequate and effective means to adjudicate sentencing error claim under Alleyne. Read the opinion here.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Jan. 30, 2017 | During a termination of parent rights hearing, when the trial court indicated that a party was excused from the hearing upon party’s assertion that she was ill, the court did not, and could not properly have, placed any constraints on her return to the proceedings. Read the opinion here.

Jan. 23, 2017 | Rule 407 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure (Admissions) has been amended. Read the order here, the new rule here, and the final report here

Jan. 19, 2017 | Individuals who are not named in an executed testamentary document do not have standing to bring a legal malpractice action against the testator’s attorney, as purported third-party beneficiaries to the contract for legal services between the testator and his attorney. Read the majority opinion here and the concurring opinion here.

Jan. 19, 2017 | Plain language of section 6111.1(g)(2) requires Court of Common Pleas to review only the sufficiency of the evidence to support a 302 commitment. Read the opinion here.

Jan. 10, 2017 | There is a proposed revision to the Comment of Pa.R.Crim.P. 578 (Omnibus Pretrial Motion for Relief). Read the proposed revision here.

Jan. 6, 2017 | PA Supreme Court issues new public access policy for appellate and trial court case records. Link to more information here.

Jan. 4, 2017 | There are proposed amendments to Pa.R.Crim.Pro. 203 (Requirements for Issuance) and 513 (Requirements for Issuance; Dissemination of Arrest Warrant Information). For more information click here.

Jan. 3, 2017 | There is a proposed rescission of Pa.R.Crim.Pro. 107 (Contents of Subpoenas) and proposed adoption of new Rule 107 (Subpoenas). For more information click here.

Jan. 3, 2017 | There are proposed amendments to Pa.R.Crim.Pro. 1006 (Notice of Right to Appeal or to Petition for Certiorari; Guilty Plea Challenge Procedure.) For more information click here

Jan. 1, 2017 | Rules 410, 430, 1064, and 1065 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (service by publication/actions to quiet title of oil and natural gas rights) have been amended. Read the order here, the new rule here, and the explanatory comment here.

Pennsylvania Superior Court

Jan. 30, 2017 | A defendant who refuses to provide a blood sample when requested by police is not subject to the enhanced penalties provided in 75 Pa.C.S.A. §§3803-3804. Read the opinion here.

Jan. 26, 2017 | Blood test results are admissible if police had requisite reasonable suspicion/probable cause to request a legal blood draw without a warrant pursuant to implied consent statute. Read the opinion here.

Jan. 17, 2017 | Pa. Superior Court rules on class certification in oil and gas lease case. Read the opinion here.

Jan. 12, 2017 | Testimony can be introduced at trial that describes the content of lost surveillance video footage. Read the opinion here.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

Jan. 30, 2017 | The 2/3 PLJ Opinions is available and contains opinions on landlord/tenant, employment, medical malpractice and more. Read it here.

Jan. 17, 2017 | The 1/20 PLJ Opinions is available and contains opinions on grandparent custody and criminal appeals. Read it here.

Jan. 6, 2017 | The 1/6 PLJ Opinions is available and contains numerous cases on criminal appeals. Read it here.

 


bit-x-bit