Rule Amendments and Court Opinions of Interest to ACBA Members

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December

US Supreme Court

Dec. 12, 2016 | Subsection (1) of the bank fraud statute covers schemes to deprive a bank of money in a customer’s deposit account. Read the opinion here.

Dec. 7, 2016 | When an insider makes a gift of confidential information to a trading relative or friend, the tip and trade resemble trading by the insider followed by a gift of the profits to the recipient. Read the opinion here.

Dec. 6, 2016 | In the case of a multicomponent product, the relevant “article of manufacture” for arriving at a §289 damages award need not be the end product sold to the consumer but may be only a component of that product. Read the opinion here.

US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Dec. 12, 2016 | In a failure-to-promote discrimination suit under USERRA, a plaintiff doesn’t have to prove he/she was objectively qualified for the sought after position. Read the opinion here

PA Supreme Court

Dec. 30, 2016 | There are proposed amendments to Pa.R.A.P. 126 (permit citation to unpublished memorandum decisions of Pennsylvania’s appellate courts for persuasive value only, and to locate citation practices and conventions for citation of authorities in a single rule of general application rather than in court-specific rules or internal operating procedures). Comments due 2/9. For more information, click here.

Dec. 28, 2016 | Unpaid retirement contributions constitute an outstanding obligation of a closed charter school. Read the opinion here, a concurring opinion here, and another concurring opinion here.

Dec. 28, 2016 | A challenge, on direct appeal, alleging that a mandatory minimum sentence violates Alleyne v. United States implicates the “legality” of a sentence for issue preservation purposes, and thus is not waivable. Read the opinion here,  a concurring opinion here, and another concurring opinion here

Dec. 21, 2016 | Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 564 (Amendment of Information) has been amended. Read the order here, the rule change here and the final report here

Dec. 14, 2016 | The MDJ Standards of Conduct have been amended. Read the order here, the new rule here , and the final report here

Dec. 12, 2016 | New court rules regarding court reporting and transcripts become effective in the Fifth Judicial District 7/1/17. Read the order here and the new rules here.

Dec. 12, 2016 | A continuing judicial education program has been established. Read more details here.

Dec. 6, 2016 | There are proposed amendments to the Pennsylvania Orphans’ Court rules. View the proposed amendments here 
and the forms associated with the proposed amendments here.

Dec. 5, 2016 | Rules 3.5 and 8.2 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct (Impartiality and Decorum of the Tribunal/ Statements Concerning Judges and Other Adjudicatory Officers) have been amended. Read the order here and the new rule here.

Dec. 5, 2016 | Rule 704 of the Rules of Judicial Administration (Judicial Leave) has been amended. Read the order here and the new rule here.

Dec. 2, 2016 | Rules 906 and 1911 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure have been amended. Read the order here and the new rule here.

PA Superior Court

Dec. 28, 2016 | Pa. court can dissolve Vermont civil union under Divorce Code. Read the opinion here.

Dec. 22, 2016 | An instrument or tool must protrude entirely through the outer boundary of a building or occupied structure in order to constitute an entry for the purpose of criminal trespass under Section 3503(a). Read the opinion here.

Dec. 20, 2016 | Court is prohibited from considering evidence not part of the record in case or from taking judicial notice of the records in another case, even if known to the court. Read the opinion here.

Dec. 19, 2016 | Prior conviction of interference with commerce by threats or violence under Section 1951 is not an equivalent crime to robbery under Section 3701(a)(1)(ii) for purposes of applying a mandatory minimum sentence. Read the opinion here.

PA Commonwealth Court

Dec. 22, 2016 | A county’s adoption of a watershed storm water plan is not a prerequisite for pursuing the remedies authorized by 32 P.S. §680.15(b). Read the opinion here.

Dec. 1, 2016 | “Compensation” in Section 319 of the Workers’ Compensation Act (relating to subrogation of employer to rights of employee against third persons) encompasses medical expenses in addition to indemnity benefits. Read the opinion here.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

Dec. 28, 2016 | There are opinions on medical malpractice, foreclosure and criminal appeals in the 12/23 PLJ Opinions. Read it here.



Novemeber

US Supreme Court

Nov. 29, 2016 | Issue-preclusion component of the Double Jeopardy Clause doesn’t bar Government from retrying defendants after a jury has returned irreconcilably inconsistent verdicts of conviction and acquittal and the convictions are later vacated for legal error unrelated to the inconsistency. Read the opinion here.

US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Nov. 9, 2016 | 35 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 780 –113(f)(1) of Pennsylvania’s Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act is “divisible” and subject to the modified categorical approach. Read the opinion here

PA Supreme Court

Nov. 30, 2016 | Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 540 (Preliminary Arraignment) has been amended. Read the order here, the new rule here, and the final report here.

Nov. 22, 2016 | Pa. Supreme Court addresses the proper application of the “frequency, regularity, and proximity” criteria in asbestos product liability litigation. Read the opinionhere.

Nov. 22, 2016 | Filing an appellate brief which abandons all preserved issues in favor of unpreserved ones constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel per se. Read the opinion here and the concurring opinion here.

Nov. 22, 2016 | Victim impact evidence can be considered at a sentencing proceeding where the offenses at issue were not crimes against a person. Read the opinion here and the dissenting opinion here.

Nov. 18, 2016 | Pa.R.C.P. 1920.72 (Form of Complaint. Affidavit under §3301(c) or §3301(d) of the Divorce Code. Counter-affidavit. Waiver of Notice of Intention to Request Decree under §3301(c) and §3301(d)) has been amended. Read the order

here, the new rule here and the explanatory comment here.

Nov. 16, 2016 | There are technical amendments to Pa.R.C.P. 227.3 (governing the transcript of testimony). Read the order here, the rule here, and the explanatory report here.

Nov. 16, 2016 | There are technical amendments to Pa.R.J.C.P.380 and 1380 (governing the preservation of testimony). Read the order here, the rules here, and the explanatory report here.

Nov. 9, 2016 | Rule of Criminal Procedure 791 has been adopted and Rules 490 and 790 have been amended. Read the order here, the rules here and the final report here.

Nov. 9, 2016 | There are numerous changes to Pa.’s Rules of Evidence. View the order here, the rules here, and the final report here.

PA Superior Court

Nov. 29, 2016 | Upon proper proof, failure to sue the correct party may be a viable basis for a legal malpractice cause of action. Read the opinion here.

Nov. 22, 2016 | Party may not waive attorney-client privilege at trial if it was previously asserted during the discovery and pre-trial process. Read the opinion here and the dissenting opinion here.

Nov. 17, 2016 | Order that requires mother to place a portion of child support payments in a PUTMA is an abuse of discretion. Read the opinion here and the dissenting opinion here.

Nov. 21, 2016 | Triable issue of fact if party might have signed a general release of liability waiver under fraud. Read the opinion here.

Nov. 15, 2016 | Sentencing court erred and abused its discretion by relying on the previous sentencing court’s determination and by not conducting an independent review of the evidence presented at sentencing. Read the opinion here.

Nov. 10, 2016 | Pa. Superior Court upholds a Release and Waiver of Liability and Indemnity Clause. Read the opinion here.

Nov. 4, 2016 | Pretrial discovery orders at issue in case were immediately appealable pursuant to the collateral order doctrine. Read the opinion here.

PA Commonwealth Court

Nov. 17, 2016 | Surveillance video obtained from a private party to investigate a crime is exempt from disclosure under the Criminal History Record Information Act, 18 Pa. C.S. §§9102-9106, and the criminal investigative exception in Section 708(b)(16) of the RTKL, 65 P.S. §67.708(b)(16). Read the opinion here.

Nov. 14, 2016 | Pa. Commonwealth Court examines real property exception to governmental immunity. Read the opinion here.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

Nov. 8, 2016 | The 11/11 PLJ Opinions is now available and contains opinions on arbitration, garnishment and more. Read it here.


October

US Supreme Court

Oct. 11, 2016 | Victims’ relatives cannot recommend a sentence to the jury. Read the opinion here.

US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Oct. 7, 2016 | Plaintiffs' time spent donning/doffing uniforms and providing shift relief outside of normal shift hours is not offset by paid break time. Read the opinion here.

Oct. 7, 2016 | Ct. reviews how to calculate “loss” under bankruptcy sentencing guidelines when a defendant commits bankruptcy fraud but creditors receive payment in full. Read the opinion here.

PA Supreme Court

Oct. 28, 2016 | Rules 1201, 1205, 1206, 1208 and the Official Note to Rule 206 of the Pa.R.C.Pro. Before Magisterial District Judges have been amended. Read the order here, the rules here, and the final report here.

Oct. 27, 2016 | Pa. R.C.P. 1959 (Forms for Use in Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence or Intimidation Actions) has been amended. Read the order here and the new rule here

Oct. 26, 2016 | Pa. R.P.C. 1.2 (Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority Between Client and Lawyer) has been amended. Read the order here and the new rule here

Oct. 18, 2016 | School districts don’t have to disclose the home addresses of public school employees under RTKL. Read the opinion here and the concurring opinion here.

Oct. 13, 2016 | School districts don’t have to disclose the home addresses of public school employees under RTKL. Read the opinion here and the concurring opinion here.

Oct. 11, 2016 | Pa.R.C.P. 1910.16-4 (Support Guidelines. Calculation of Support Obligation, Formula) is amended. Read the order here and the new rule here.


Oct. 11, 2016 | Pa.R.C.P. 1910.10, 1915.4-1, and 1920.55-1 are amended. Read the order here and the new rules here.

Oct. 6, 2016 | Rules 1930.2, 1930.4, and 1930.5 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (No Post-trial Practice. Motions for Reconsideration in Domestic Relations matters) have been amended. Read the order here and the new rule here.

Oct. 4, 2016 | Rule 237.3 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (Relief from Judgment of Non Pros or by Default) has been amended.  Read the order here, the new rule here, and the explanatory comment here.

PA Superior Court

Oct. 21, 2016 | Mandatory payment of wages by payroll debit card (“payroll card”) doesn’t meet the requirement of section 260.3 of the WPCL that “wages shall be paid in lawful money of the United States or check." Read the opinion here.

Oct. 20, 2016 | An instrument captioned ‘Lease’ that transfers some interest in a tract of coal is in fact a sale of the coal. Read the opinion here.

PA Commonwealth Court

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

Oct. 26, 2016 | The 10/28 PLJ Opinions is now available. This issue contains opinions on mortgage foreclosures, landlord/tenant and criminal appeals. Read it here.

Oct. 13, 2016 | There are numerous opinions on criminal appeals in the 10/14 PLJ Opinions! Read it here.

Oct. 6, 2016 | Don't forget to read the 9/30 PLJ Opinions. Issue contains opinions on equitable distribution, premises liability, personal injury and more. Read it here.


September

US Supreme Court

US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Sept. 23, 2016 | A child may not have two “habitual residence” countries at the same time under the Hague Convention. Read the opinion here.

Sept. 14, 2016 | An assignment of a federal antitrust claim need not be supported by bargained-for consideration in order to confer direct purchaser standing on an indirect purchaser; such assignment need only be express. Read the opinion here.

Sept. 13, 2016 | Third Circuit provides a framework for district courts to apply when conducting their numerosity analyses. Read the opinion here.

Sept. 7, 2016 | Letter regarding “Bridgegate” is subject to general discovery process and is not subject to any First Amendment or common law right of public access. Read the opinion here.

PA Supreme Court

Sept. 28, 2016 | The term “telephone call” in Section 5704(14) of the Wiretap Act does not include the visit conversations at issue in this case (face-to-face, through a glass partition, using a telephone-like handset apparatus), and thus evidence obtained as a result of those visit calls can be suppressed. Read the opinion here, the concurring opinion here, a concurring and dissenting opinion here, and a dissenting opinion here.

Sept. 28, 2016 | A cause of action exists entitling a class of indigent criminal defendants to allege prospective, systemic violations of the right to counsel due to underfunding (of the public defender's office), and to seek and obtain an injunction forcing a county to provide adequate funding to a public defender’s office. Read the opinion here and the concurring opinion here

Sept. 28, 2016 | Federal Arbitration Act preempts Pa. Rule 213(e) which states wrongful death and survival actions must be consolidated for trial. Read the opinion here, the concurring opinion here, and the dissenting opinion here.

Sept. 28, 2016 | Appellees entitled to specific performance of plea agreement which used law in effect at time appellees entered their plea agreement. Read the opinion here, read a concurring opinion here, and a concurring opinion here.

Sept. 23, 2016 | Pa.R.P.C. 1.17 (sale of a law practice) has been amended. Read the order here and the new rule here.


Sept. 23, 2016 | The Court Administrator of Pennsylvania reports that the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index, All Urban Consumers, U.S. City Average, for calendar year 2015 was 0.7%. More information here and here

Sept. 23, 2016 | The Court Administrator of Pennsylvania is authorized to promulgate various Financial Regulations. The costs outlined in the Financial Regulations are effective as of Jan. 1, 2017. More information here and here

Sept. 9, 2016 | Parents’ fundamental rights are violated by the conferral of standing to grandparents based solely on a parental separation lasting at least six months. Read the opinion here, a concurring and dissenting opinion here, and a concurring and dissenting opinion here

Sept. 8, 2016 | Amendments have been proposed to Pa.R.A.P. 905, 1922, and 1925. The proposed amendments can be viewed here. Comments due by 10/21.

PA Superior Court

Sept. 13, 2016 | Lower court abused its discretion by refusing to apply "deadly weapons used" enhancement since defendant's use of the weapon was undisputed. Read the opinion here.

Sept. 12, 2016 | Approval by a simple majority of condo owners was not legally sufficient to adopt an amended and restated condominium declaration. Read the opinion here.

Sept. 8, 2016 | Letters penned by defendant at treating psychologist's request are not protected by psychologist-patient privilege. Read the opinion here.

PA Commonwealth Court

Sept. 19, 2016 | “Single-family dwelling” broadly interpreted as to allow rental activity. Read the opinion here.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

Sept. 19, 2016 | The 9/16 PLJ Opinions is available and contains opinions on real estate, mortgage foreclosures and criminal appeals. Read it here.

Sept. 2, 2016 | The 9/2 PLJ Opinions contains opinions on class certification and criminal appeals. Read it here


August

US Supreme Court

PA Supreme Court

August 31, 2016 | The revision of the Comment to Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 500 has been approved (clarification that the Rule 500 procedures are available in circumstances where a witness is elderly, frail or demonstrating symptoms of mental infirmity or dementia). More information herehere  and here.

August 29, 2016 | A legal parent may not establish cause under Section 2901 of the Adoption Act to excuse the relinquishment requirement and proceed with a proposed adoption by a grandparent. Read the opinion here and read the concurring opinions here,  here and here.  

August 15, 2016 | Megan's Law II requires an act, a conviction, and a subsequent act to trigger lifetime registration for multiple offenses otherwise triggering a ten-year period of registration. Read the majority opinion here,  the concurring opinion here, a dissenting opinion here, and a dissenting opinion here.

August 15, 2016 | Section 906 of the Crimes Code bars convictions only for multiple distinct inchoate crimes. Read the opinion here and the dissenting opinion here.

August 12, 2016 | Rules 4001-4016 (Court Reporting and Transcripts) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Judicial Administration have been amended. View the order hereand the rules here

August 11, 2016 | Rule 105 (Search Warrants) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure has been amended. Read the order here, the rule here, and the final report here.

August 11, 2016 | Duty assignment schedule for emergency petitions in 2016 has been amended. View the new schedule here.

August 10, 2016 | New Orphans’ Court forms, effective 9/1, are on the UJS website. View them here.

August 9, 2016 | The Index to the Appendix of the Pennsylvania Orphans’ Court Rules is amended and Forms OC-01 through OC-06 and RW-06 through RW-10 have been rescinded and replaced. Read the order here and view the new Index/Forms here.

August 4, 2016 | Criminal Procedural Rules Committee is planning to propose to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania the amendment of Rule 205 (Contents of Search Warrant). Comments dues 9/16. Read the proposed amendments here.

August 1, 2016 | There are proposed amendments to the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct relating to statements concerning judges and other adjudicatory officers and impartiality and decorum of the tribunal. Read the proposed amendments here.

PA Superior Court

August 26, 2016 | Pa. Superior Court rules on weight of the evidence claims presented to the juvenile court. Read the opinion here and the concurring and dissenting opinion here.

August 22, 2016 | CD beneficiary named by decedent has standing to challenge POA action changing beneficiary designation. Read the opinion here and the dissenting opinion here.

August 12, 2016 | Failure by trial counsel to have even one face-to-face meeting with defendant prior to capital trial is constitutionally ineffective representation. Read the opinion here.

August 9, 2016 | Trial court abused its discretion by admitting evidence relating to Appellant’s divorce that occurred two years after alleged crime. Read the opinion here.

PA Commonwealth Court

August 24, 2016 | Ambiguities in penal statutes must be strictly construed against the government. Read the opinion here

August 17, 2016 | Merger of lots doctrine has no application to a nonconforming lot located in a jurisdiction where the zoning ordinance adopted by the local governing body does not contain a merger of lots provision. Read the opinion here.

August 12, 2016 | To establish occupational disease, claimant must prove cancer is a type of cancer caused by the Group 1 carcinogens to which he/she was exposed in the workplace. Read the opinion here

August 4, 2016 | Procedure for the dismissal of a professional employee of a school district is established by statute. School board must serve the professional employee with a detailed written statement of charges and written notice to appear at a board hearing. Read the opinion here.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

August 19, 2016 | The 8/19 PLJ Opinions is available. It contains numerous opinions on criminal appeals. Read it here.

August 1, 2016 | The 8/5 PLJ Opinions is now available. The issue contains numerous opinions on criminal appeals. Read it here.


July

US Supreme Court

July 19, 2016 | Pa. Supreme Court reviews the newly-discovered fact exception to the PCRA’s time bar. Read the majority opinion here and the concurring opinion here.

July 14, 2016 | Amendments to Pa.Rs.Crim.P. 531 and 536 have been proposed. Comments due 9/16. Read them here.

July 8, 2016 | The proposed amendment of Pa.R.E. 901 governing authentication has been published. Read the notice here, the report here, and the rule here. Comments due by 9/1.

July 8, 2016 | The proposed amendment of Pa.R.E. 902 governing self-authentication has been published. Read the notice here, the report here, and the rule here. Comments due by 9/1.

PA Supreme Court

PA Superior Court

July 27, 2016 | DOT does not have a duty to maintain the area surrounding the paved portion of the highway so that a motorist has an area to regain control of an errant vehicle and steer such vehicle back onto the roadway. Read the opinion here.

July 26, 2016 | Prior vehicular manslaughter conviction can be admissibleas a prior bad act pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Evidence 404(b) to prove defendant’s knowledge that his/her conduct could result in the death of another person for purposes of proving the recklessness element of homicide by vehicle. Read the opinion here.

July 26, 2016 | Pa. Superior Court reviews law regarding Brady violations. Read the opinion here.

July 22, 2016 | Involuntary commitments expunged because the procedural due process protections and mandates delineated in the MHPA were violated. Read the opinion here.

July 21, 2016 | Defendant hospital may have a duty to protect patients of other healthcare facilities who may come in contact with the hospital’s former agent/employee when the defendant hospital knew the agent/employee had diverted drugs while working at its facility, knew or should have known that the agent/employee would engage in the same conduct with subsequent healthcare employers and knew or should have known that drug diversion creates a high degree of risk of causing harm to hospital patients that come in contact with staff who are known to divert drugs. Read the opinion here and the dissenting opinion here.

July 8, 2016 | The trial court cannot usurp the role of the jury by evaluating the evidence to decide a motion for summary judgment. Read the opinion here.

July 1, 2016 | Where plaintiff settles claim against estate through subsequent counsel as a result of negligence of former attorney, case law does not preclude claim for negligence against former attorney. Read the opinion here.

PA Commonwealth Court

July 28, 2016 | A seller of a dual-use item violates the Drug Act only if they know or reasonably should know that the dual-use item is to be used for an illegal, drug-related purpose. Read the opinion here.

July 7, 2016 | “On-call” pay to be included as compensation in calculating retirement benefits under the State Employees’ Retirement Code. Read the opinion here.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

July 19, 2016 |  The 7/22 PLJ Opinions is now available. This issue contains numerous opinions on criminal appeals. Read it here.

July 8, 2016 | The July 8 PLJ Opinions is now available and contains opinions on tree removal, mortgage foreclosures, and more. Read it here.


June

US Supreme Court

June 27, 2016 | A reckless domestic assault qualifies as a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” under 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(9). Read the opinion here.

June 27, 2016 | US Supreme Court strikes down as unconstitutional two provisions of a Texas law regulating abortions in that state. Read the opinion here.

June 23, 2016 | The Fourth Amendment permits warrantless breath tests incident to arrests for drunk driving but not warrantless blood tests. Read the opinion here.

June 23, 2016 | Race-conscious admissions program lawful under the Equal Protection Clause. Read the opinion here.

June 20, 2016 | US Supreme Court reviews attenuation doctrine and evidence later discovered and found to be derivative of an illegality. Read the opinion here.

June 20, 2016 | The prosecution in a Hobbs Act robbery case satisfies the Act’s commerce element if it shows that the defendant robbed or attempted to rob a drug dealer of drugs or drug proceeds. Read the opinion here.

June 16, 2016 | US Supreme Court examines Section 505 of the Copyright Act. Section affords broad discretion to award attorney’s fees to the district court, but that discretion is not limitless. Read the opinion here.

June 13, 2016 | Seagate test is not consistent with Section 284 of the Patent Act. Read the opinion here.

June 13, 2016 | Section 903(1) of the Bankruptcy Code pre-empts Puerto Rico’s Recovery Act. Read the opinion here.

June 13, 2016 | If tribal-court convictions occurred in proceedings that complied with ICRA and were valid when entered, use of those convictions as predicate offenses in an 18 U. S. C. §117(a) prosecution does not violate the Constitution. Read the opinion here.

June 9, 2016 |A federal district court has a limited inherent power to rescind a jury discharge order and recall a jury in a civil case for further deliberations after identifying an error in the jury’s verdict. Read the opinion here.

June 6, 2016 | U.S. Supreme Court reviews the FTCA’s “exceptions” section in Simmons v. Himmelreich. Read the opinion here.

June 6, 2016 | PLRA is unambiguous: No action shall be brought absent exhaustion of available administrative remedies. Read the opinion here

PA Supreme Court

June 28, 2016 | Rule 105 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure is rescinded and replaced. More info here and here.

June 28, 2016 | Rules 103 and 1952 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Judicial Administration are amended. More info here and here.

June 28, 2016 | Rule 121 and Rule 1121 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure are rescinded and replaced. More info herehere  and here.

June 27, 2016 | Criminal Procedural Rules Committee is planning to propose to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania the amendment of Rule 590 (Pleas and Plea Agreements). Read more here.

June 23, 2016 | The Criminal Procedural Rules Committee is planning to propose to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania the adoption of new Rule 791 (Procedure for Obtaining Order for Limited Access in Court Cases; Order for Limited Access).  Comments due 9/16. Read the proposed new rule here.

June 20, 2016 | Under the U.S. Supreme Court Alleyne decision, 42 Pa.C.S. §9718 is irremediably unconstitutional on its face, non-severable, and void. Read the opinion here, the concurring opinion here,  a dissenting opinion here, and a dissenting opinion here.

June 20, 2016 | Law firm, representing a residential mortgage lender in connection with foreclosure proceedings, can be liable to a borrower for attorney’s fees charged in violation of the Pennsylvania Loan Interest and Protection Law. Read the opinion here and the dissenting opinion here.

June 15, 2016 | The Comment to Rule 523 (Release Criteria) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure has been revised. More information here , here, and here.

June 14, 2016 | Rule 1608 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure (Permanency Hearing) has been amended. More information here, here, and here.

June 10, 2016 | Rules 408, 413, 423, 452, 455, and 1031 (Restitution and Forfeited Collateral) of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure have been amended. More information here and here. Read the final report here.

June 10, 2016 | Rule 1920.33 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (Equitable Distribution) has been amended. More information here and here.

June 7, 2016 | Pennsylvania Rule of Appellate Procedure 1737 (Supersedeas) has been amended. For more information click here and here.

June 7, 2016 |Rule 531 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure (Amicus Curiae) has been amended. Click here and here for more information.

PA Superior Court

June 24, 2016 | Dragonetti Act doesn’t presume damages upon proof of a defendant’s wrongful conduct as defined in Section 8351. Read the opinion here.

June 21, 2016 | Trial court’s decision to permit a Spanish-speaking witness to testify without a certified interpreter was in error. Read the opinion here.

June 15, 2016 | Pa. Superior Court reviews civil contempt. Read the opinion here.

June 14, 2016 | A juvenile may waive his or her right against self-incrimination in the context of providing witness testimony if the waiver is knowing, intelligent, and voluntary. Read the opinion here.

June 10, 2016 | Commonwealth’s post-sentence motion must be fully resolved within 120 days of its filing. Read the opinion here.

PA Commonwealth Court

June 16, 2016 | Limited extraordinary circumstances where driver’s license suspension, imposed long after the fact, loses its public protection rationale and simply becomes an additional punitive measure. Where a conviction is not reported [to DOT] for an extraordinarily extended period of time, the licensee has a lack of further violations for a significant number of years before the report is finally sent, and [the licensee] is able to demonstrate prejudice, it may be appropriate for [the] common pleas [court] to grant relief. Read the opinion here.

June 7, 2016 | Estate’s unliquidated survival claim was not a “future interest” of Decedent’s children at the time of Decedent’s death, such that the children could delay their renunciation beyond nine months after Decedent’s death. Read the opinion here.

June 3, 2016 | Homeowner who had no notice at the time he/she purchased the property that it was or might in the future be subject to a homeowners’ association is not liable to the association for fees. Read the opinion here.

June 2, 2016 | Pa. Commonwealth Court reviews numerous issues relating to termination of employment and the Public School Code of 1949. Read the opinion here.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

June 10, 2016 | Read the PLJ Opinions today! 6/10 issue contains opinions on criminal appeals, contempt, and more! Read it here.


May

US Supreme Court

May 31, 2016 | Corps’ approved JD is a final agency action judicially reviewable under the APA. Read the opinion here

May 31, 2016 | Where a capital defendant’s future dangerousness is at issue, and the only sentencing alternative to death available to the jury is life imprisonment without possibility of parole, the Due Process Clause entitles the defendant to inform the jury of parole ineligibility, either by a jury instruction or in arguments by counsel. Read the opinion here.

May 23, 2016 | US Supreme Court reviews Batson claim (purposeful discrimination in jury selection) in Foster v. Chatman. Read the opinion here

May 23, 2016 | Because part of the “matter alleged to be discriminatory” in a constructive-discharge claim is an employee’s resignation, the 45-day limitations period for such action begins running only after an employee resigns. Read the opinion here.

May 19, 2016 | A state offense counts as a §1101(a)(43) “aggravated felony” when it has every element of a listed federal crime except one requiring a connection to interstate or foreign commerce. Read the opinion here.

May 19, 2016 | The Sixth Amendment’s speedy trial guarantee does not apply once a defendant has been found guilty at trial or has pleaded guilty to criminal charges. Read the opinion here.

May 16, 2016 | The jurisdictional test established by §27 of the Exchange Act is the same as §1331’s test for deciding if a case “arises under” a federal law. Read the opinion here.

May 16, 2016 | The term “actual fraud” in §523(a)(2)(A) encompasses fraudulent conveyance schemes, even when those schemes do not involve a false representation. Read the opinion here.

May 16, 2016 | US Supreme Court analyzes the FCRA’s requirements of injury-in-fact and concreteness. Read the opinion here.

May 2, 2016 | A defendant may be convicted of conspiring to violate the Hobbs Act based on proof that he reached an agreement with the owner of the property in question to obtain that property under color of official right. Read the opinion here.

PA Supreme Court

May 25, 2016 | An order awarding summary judgment in one of two civil cases consolidated for purposes of discovery and trial was a final one, and not appealable. Read the opinion here  and the concurring opinion here.

May 18, 2016 | Rule 1915.15 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (Form of Complaint/Caption/Order/Petition to Modify a Custody Order) has been amended. More info here and here.

May 18, 2016 | Rule 1915.11 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (Appointment of Attorney for Child/Interview of Child/Attendance of Child at Hearing or Conference) has been amended. More info here and here.

May 13, 2016 | Appellate Ct. Procedural Rules Committee is proposing amendments to Chapters 13, 15 and Adoption of New Chapter 16. View the proposed rule amendments here.

PA Superior Court

May 31, 2016 | Convictions for crimes of fraudulent business practices/home improvement fraud merge for sentencing purposes. Read the opinion here.

May 25, 2016 | Court erred in suppressing evidence found in bedroom when there was probable cause to search the entire apartment. Read the opinion here  and the dissenting opinion here.

May 18, 2016 | Error in granting motion for alternative service by posting when notice could have been served on defendant's attorney. Read the opinion here.

May 10, 2016 | Autopsy report is testimonial for purposes of the Confrontation Clause. Read the opinion here.

April 29, 2016 | The critical element in a probable cause inquiry is not that the owner of the property is suspected of crime but that the specific items to be searched for and seized are located on the property to which entry is sought. Read the opinion here.

PA Commonwealth Court

May 24, 2016 | Conducting a “field inventory” using maps and mobile GPS, etc. is not the same as an engineering land survey. Link to the opinion here

May 9, 2016 | Court interprets term “compensation” in Section 1603(b) of the Workers’ Compensation Act as including both wage loss benefits and medical benefits. Read the opinion here.

April 29, 2016 | Due process issues raised sua sponte by the trial court are a basis for reversal. Read the opinion here.

May 5, 2016 | Court addresses distinctions between eminent domain and trespass proceedings. Read the opinion here

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

Read the PLJ Opinions today! 6/10 issue contains opinions on criminal appeals, contempt, and more! Read it here.

The 5/13 PLJ Opinions is available and contains cases on criminal appeals, personal injury, contracts and more. View it here.


April

US Supreme Court

- April 20, 2016 | U.S. Supreme Court reviews Federal Sentencing Guidelines errors. Read the opinion here.

- April 4, 2016 | State or locality may draw its legislative districts based on total population. Read the opinion here.

PA Supreme Court

- April 25, 2016 | PCRA court abused its discretion by compelling PCRA counsel to deliver to the Commonwealth the entirety of trial counsel’s file without first discerning whether and to what extent the file contained privileged material and removing such material from the file. Read the opinion here and the concurring opinions here and here.

- April 13, 2016 | Rule 219 of the Pa. Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement (regarding annual attorney fee/annual fee form) has been amended. More information here andhere.

PA Superior Court

- April 19, 2016 | Lower court erred in granting motion to suppress where officers with arrest warrant had reasonable grounds to believe that the residence searched was that of the suspect named on the warrant. Read the opinion here.

- April 14, 2016 | Neither the Rules nor the Juvenile Act permits the juvenile court to make a finding of fact with respect to any charges enumerated in a delinquency petition. Read the opinion here.

PA Commonwealth Court

- April 27, 2016 | Any pre-sentence confinement credit earned must be applied to original sentence. Read the opinion here.

- April 21, 2016 | Where a claimant is discharged for a criminal act, such as theft, the subsequent acceptance into an ARD program is insufficient proof of willful misconduct. Read the opinion here.

- April 13, 2016 | Right-to-Know Law provides a mechanism for redirecting requests to an appropriate agency. Read the opinion here

- April 7, 2016 | Court reviews non-fraud over-payment of Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits. View the opinion here

- April 1, 2016 | Injury or disability in Act 30 is defined as that which renders an individual incapable of performing their duties as a police officer. Read the opinion here.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

-The 4/29 PLJ Opinions is now available. This issue contains numerous opinions from the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. Read it -The 4/15 PLJ Opinions is now available and contains cases on contracts, declaratory judgment and more. Read it here


March

US Supreme Court

- Mar. 30, 2016 | Pretrial restraint of legitimate, untainted assets needed to retain counsel of choice violates the Sixth Amendment. Read the opinion here.

- Mar. 22, 2016 | Massachusetts’s prohibition on the possession of stun guns infringes the right to keep and bear arms in violation of the Second Amendment. Read the opinion here.

- Mar. 22, 2016 | Class action properly certified where liability and damages would be determined with statistical techniques that presumes all class members are identical to the average observed in a sample. Read the opinion here.

- Mar. 7, 2016 | Prosecution's failure to disclose material evidence violated capital defendant's due process rights. Read the opinion here.

- Mar. 7, 2016 | Alabama must recognize homosexual mother's adoptive rights. Read the opinion here

- Mar. 1, 2016 | Section 2252(b)(2)’s sentence enhancement can be triggered by first-degree sexual abuse involving an adult. Read the opinion here.

- Mar. 1, 2016 | ERISA preempts Vermont’s statute re: health care reporting as applied to ERISA plans. Read the opinion here.

PA Supreme Court

- Mar. 30, 2016 | Rule 1042.3 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (Certificate of Merit) has been amended. More info here and here.

- Mar. 29, 2016 | Pa. Supreme Court reviews doctrine of estoppel by deed. Read the opinion here.  

- Mar. 28, 2016 | The Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee is planning to propose to the Pa. Supreme Ct. the amendment of Pa.R.J.C.P. 407 governing admissions in delinquency proceedings. Info herehere and here.

- Mar. 17, 2016 | Rule 219 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement has been amended. More information can be found here and here. 

- Mar. 17, 2016 | Rule 701 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Judicial Administration has been amended. More info here and here

- Mar. 14, 2016 | Pa. Supreme Court grants a Petition for Allowance of Appeal to settle numerous issues relating to a video depicting troopers at a crash scene. Read more here.

- Mar. 9, 2016 | New Pa. Rule of Criminal Procedure Rule 705.1 and the amendments to Pa. Rules of Criminal Procedure 454, 462, and 1010 have been adopted.  The revision of the Comments to Rules 409, 414, 424, 455, 550, 590, and 704 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure have also been approved. More information on these rule changes here,  here, and here.

- Mar. 4, 2016 | Rule 1915.-1 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure (Alternative Hearing Procedures for Partial Custody Actions) has been amended. View the new rule here. New rule effective 4/1.

PA Superior Court

- Mar. 21, 2016 | Expert testimony is sufficient corroborating evidence for admission of BAC result. Read the opinion here. Read the concurring statement here.

- Mar. 18, 2016 | Where there had been a separation by mutual consent and thereafter both spouses enter into adulterous relationships, neither spouse may share in the other’s estate. Read the opinion here

- Mar. 9, 2016 | The conduct of the parties and circumstances surrounding that conduct may establish sufficient evidence to prove a prima facie case of conspiracy or conspiratorial liability. Read the opinion here.

- Mar. 3, 2016 | Charge-off of debt does not cancel responsibility to pay it. Read the opinion here.

- Mar. 3, 2016 | Court reviews adverse possession/notice of ouster. Read the opinion here.

PA Commonwealth Court

- Mar. 23, 2016 | Criminal defendant who claims ownership of seized property by filing a motion for return of property must file that motion in the trial court while that court retains jurisdiction, which is up to thirty days after disposition. Read the opinion here

- Mar. 14, 2016 | 26 Pa.C.S. § 702(a)’s definition of “just compensation” does not include or otherwise refer to delay damages/any other damages. Read the opinionhere.

- Mar. 10, 2016 | Constructive notice is a question of fact to be decided by the jury, not the court. Read the opinion here.

- Mar. 8, 2016 | Taxpayer demonstrated that he was denied his right to timely appeal tax assessments due to repeated administrative breakdowns that constitute the extraordinary circumstances a nunc pro tunc appeal was intended to remedy. Read the opinion here.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

- The 3/18 PLJ Opinions is now online. This issue contains Allegheny County court opinions on equitable distribution, premises liability, mortgage foreclosures, landlord/tenant and product liability. Login and read it here.

- The 3/4 PLJ Opinions has cases on contracts and employment law. Read it here.


February

US Supreme Court

PA Supreme Court

- Feb. 23, 2016 | The Civil Procedural Rules Committee is planning to propose to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania the amendment of Pa.R.C.P. No. 237.3 governing relief from judgment of non pros or by default. Read more here.

- Feb. 17, 2016 | The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is considering recommending to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that the Court amend Pennsylvania Rule of Disciplinary Enforcement 219 to provide for mandatory electronic filing of the annual attorney registration fee form. You can view this proposed rule change here.

PA Superior Court

- Feb. 29, 2016 | Pet care service has a duty to use reasonable care while a dog is in their charge to protect others from harm. Read the opinion here.

- Feb. 25, 2016 | Court reviews 25 to 50 year judgment of sentence imposed under the mandatory minimum sentencing scheme for recidivist sexual offenses. Read the opinion here.

- Feb. 24, 2016 | Trial court erred in granting school police officer a private detective’s license. Read the opinion here and the dissenting opinion here.

- Feb. 23, 2016 | Lifetime registration and quarterly, in-person reporting requirements at issue are not excessive in terms of SORNA’s non-punitive legislative purposes. More info here.

- Feb. 19, 2016 | It’s within a jury’s purview to determine whether harm was significant enough to warrant monetary award. Read the opinion here.

- Feb. 18, 2016 | A court is required to consider all of section 5328(a) factors when entering a custody order. To read the opinion, click here.

Feb. 17, 2016 | Ct. reviews which state’s substantive laws should apply to case using conflict-of-law principles. Read the opinion here.

- Feb. 12, 2016 |Court reviews doctrine of a borrowed employee and contractual definition of a leased worker. Read the opinion here and the concurring opinion here.

- Feb. 9, 2016 | Defendant entitled to representation by counsel at sentencing phase of trial. Read the opinion here.

PA Commonwealth Court

- Feb. 26, 2016 | Failure to serve process within 30 days after the issuance of the writ or the filing of the complaint is a fatal procedural deficiency. Read the opinion here.

- Feb. 12, 2016 | Home for terminally ill considered single-family detached dwelling under relevant ordinance. Read the opinion here.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

- The 2/19 PLJ Opinions is now online and contains numerous cases on criminal appeals. Read it here.

- The 2/5 PLJ Opinions is online and contains cases on apparently reasonable risk, a mechanics leave claim, and a criminal appeal. You can read this issue here.


January

US Supreme Court

- Jan. 25, 2016 | Federal Energy Regulatory Commission can continue with “demand response” power-saving strategy. Read the opinion here.

- Jan. 25, 2016 | Sufficiency challenge should be assessed against the elements of the charged crime, not against the elements set forth in an erroneous jury instruction. Read the opinion here.

- Jan. 25, 2016 | U.S. Supreme Court reviews equitable tolling in Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin v. U.S. Read the opinion here.

- Jan. 25, 2016 | People given life terms for murders they committed as teens must be allowed a chance to seek parole. Read the opinion here.

- Jan. 20, 2016 | U.S. Supreme Court rules class-action lawsuit can continue, even after business offers to pay everything sought by the person who first sued. Read the opinion here.

- Jan. 20, 2016 | When an ERISA-plan participant wholly dissipates a third-party settlement on non-traceable items, the plan fiduciary may not bring suit under §502(a)(3) to attach the participant’s separate assets. Read the opinion here.

- Jan. 20, 2016 | Eighth Amendment does not require capital-sentencing courts to instruct a jury that mitigating circumstances need not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Read the opinion here.

- Jan.12, 2016 | U.S. Sup. Ct. rules on PLRA/ how to debit monthly installment payments when inmate owes filing fees for more than one case. Court adopts a “per case” approach.  Read the opinion here.

- Jan. 12, 2016 | Sixth Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death. A jury’s mere recommendation is not enough. Read the opinion here.

PA Supreme Court

- Jan. 20, 2016 | The Juvenile Court Procedural Rules Committee is planning to propose to the Pa. Supreme Court the amendment of Pa.R.J.C.P. 100 and 1100, and new Pa.R.J.C.P. 1107 and 1109 governing the investigations of child abuse or neglect. Read the notice here, the report here, and the proposed amendments here.

- Jan. 15, 2016 | Rule 3.15 of the Rules Governing Standards of Conduct of Magisterial District Judges has been amended. The new rule can be viewed here and the court order can be viewed here.

- Jan. 15, 2016 | Rule 3.15 of the Code of Judicial Conduct has been amended. The new rule can be viewed here and the court order can be viewed here.

- Jan. 11, 2016 | Rule 801 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure has been amended. Read the order here, the final report here, and view the new rule here.

PA Superior Court

- Jan. 22, 2016 | Pa. Superior Court upholds lower court’s ruling that gym waiver was valid and enforceable. Read the opinion here and the dissenting opinion here.

- Jan. 22, 2016 | Pa. Superior Court reviews attorney-client privilege. Read the opinions herehere and here.

- Jan. 13, 2016 | Court reviews confidential marital communications under 42 Pa.C.S.A. §5923 in CAP Glass v. Coffman. Read the opinion here.

- Jan. 7, 2016 |  Court: Legislature's intent is apparent. Increase statute of limitations for Public Welfare Code violations to 5 years.  Read the opinion here.

- Jan. 6, 2016 | Bank not required to demonstrate wrongdoing on part of appellants to prove unjust enrichment. Read the opinion here. Court: Legislature's intent is apparent. Increase statute of limitations for Public Welfare Code violations to 5 years.  Read the opinion here.

- Jan. 5, 2016 | PA Superior Court holds termination of representation penalty in contingent fee contract is unenforceable. Read the opinion here and the dissenting opinion here.

PA Commonwealth Court

- Jan. 29, 2016 | Court reviews first impression case regarding time frame within which agency may demand prepayment under Section 1307(h) of the RTKL. Read the opinion here.

- Jan. 20, 2016 | It is legislature’s intent that the sheriff, or server appointed by the county, notify owner of tax sale by placing a notice into the hands of the owner-occupant at least ten days before its occurrence. Read the opinion here.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

- The 1/22 PLJ Opinions is online and contains numerous cases regarding criminal appeals. View it here.


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