News & Publications

Pennsylvania Updates September 25, 2023

PA Update – PA Supreme Court Clarifies Liability for Events Serving Alcohol

Civil liability for the provision of alcohol has been a longstanding concern in the case law of Pennsylvania, as well as in the minds of event organizers. While the 1951 Dram Shop Act has long established liability for liquor licensees that overserve patrons, non-licensees have rested in somewhat of a gray area. What, for example, […]

Pennsylvania Updates September 21, 2023

United States Supreme Court Update – Out of State Corporations Registered in Pennsylvania Must Now Defend in PA Courts on any Claim

The United States Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a Pennsylvania statute that requires corporations engaged in business within the state to register and accept general personal jurisdiction in Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., 143 S. Ct. 2028 (2023). The court’s vote of 5-4 revealed an unexpected alignment of justices, with Justice Gorsuch […]

Pennsylvania Updates July 20, 2023

PA Update – Wilson vs. Hannigan (August Term, 2022) No. 00196 (C.P. Philadelphia County, PA; November 22, 2022)

An appeal of Jury’s award of medical expenses without compensation for pain and suffering will not be disturbed where the Jury did not believe Plaintiff suffered any pain or suffering, or that a pre-existing condition or injury was the sole cause of the alleged pain and suffering.  Plaintiff suffered personal injuries in this matter when […]

Pennsylvania Updates March 8, 2023

PA Update – Superior Court Reverses Employer-Defendent Summary Judgment in Asbestos Case, Holding that Employers Owe a Heightened Duty of Care to their Employees

Shellenberger v. Krieder Farms, et al. (Pa. Super. 2023, No. 455 EDA 2022) The instant case relates to an asbestos related personal injury action filed by an employee against his employer.  Summary judgement was filed by the employer stating that there was no evidence that they breached any duty to employee as they had no […]

Pennsylvania Updates February 21, 2023

PA Update – Decision Regarding the Appeal of the University of Pittsburgh in Estate of William L. Herold v. University of Pittsburgh

On February 16, 2023, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania issued its decision on the appeal of the Allegheny County summary judgment ruling in Estate of William L. Herold v. University of Pittsburgh from May 17, 2021. The Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County denied the University of Pittsburgh’s motion for summary judgment, which was […]

Pennsylvania Updates December 20, 2022

PA Update – Commonwealth vs. Jackson, 2022 Pa. Super 156 (Pa. Super. September 13, 2022)

Under Pennsylvania Rule of Evidence 901, the proponent of digital evidence must produce sufficient evidence to support a finding that a particular person or entity was the author.  The proponent is not required to prove no one else could be the author.  A recent criminal court case is providing law which could become pertinent and […]

Pennsylvania Updates October 17, 2022

PA Update – New Mediation Rule in Allegheny County

This new local rule will be enforced next year.  Possibly as early as the May 2023 trial term. Local Rule 212.7 Mandatory Mediation. (1) All parties shall participate in a formal mediation process no later than 45 days prior to commencement of the assigned trial term, as published in the Pittsburgh Legal Journal pursuant to […]

Pennsylvania Updates August 25, 2022

PA Update – Right to Remain Silent in the Face of Civil Litigation Upheld in Lycoming County Trial Court

Judge Lindhardt of the Lycoming County Trial Court addressed circumstances under which a civil litigant may assert their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination at a deposition in Sweet v. The City of Williamsport, No. 20-CV-00512 (C.P. Lyc. Co. June 27, 2022 Linhardt, J.). The case arose out of a fatal motor vehicle accident in which […]

Pennsylvania Updates July 7, 2022

PA Update – PA Commonwealth Court holds that Act 111 provisions granting employers credit for previously paid benefit weeks do not violate PA Constitution

The Commonwealth Court in a Memorandum Opinion Issued on May 25, 2022 by President Judge Jubelirer found Act 111 provisions granting employers credit for previously paid benefit weeks does not violate either due process or due course of law principles.  In addition, the Court held that by reenacting the IRE process, Act 111 did not […]

Pennsylvania Updates April 29, 2022

PA Update – Insurance Policy’s Household Exclusion Provision Enforceable Says Superior Court in Erie v. Colebank Opinion

The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently held in a non-precedential opinion that Household Exclusion provisions of motor vehicle insurance policies are enforceable in Pennsylvania, and that a Plaintiff who chose not to procure Under Insured Motorist (“UIM”) coverage for his own vehicle was not entitled to UIM coverage under his parent’s policy merely because he lived […]

Pennsylvania Updates March 28, 2022

PA Update – The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania holds that the Workers’ Compensation Act does not preclude the award of attorney fees to a claimant even if an employer establishes a reasonable basis for seeking a termination of benefits in Lorino v. Workers’ Comp. Appeal Bd. (Commonwealth), 266 A.3d 487 (Pa. 2021).

A PennDOT equipment operator suffered an injury on August 22, 2016.  The employer’s workers compensation carrier, InServco, accepted liability for a low back sprain/tear and a left hip sprain/tear pursuant to two medical only notices of compensation payable.  The employee did not miss any work because of his injury and did not receive indemnity benefits […]

Pennsylvania Updates March 18, 2022

PA Update – The Third Circuit Court of Appeals Rules that Inter-Policy Stacking Waivers Must Be Explicit to Be Enforceable Under Pennsylvania Law

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed entry of summary judgment in favor of an under-insured motorist plaintiff in a dispute involving inter-policy stacking. Donovan v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 4232, — A.3d — (3rd Cir. 2022). In that matter, the plaintiff was involved in a motorcycle accident and […]

Pennsylvania Updates March 2, 2022

PA Update – In an era of COVID-19, an employer’s willful and wanton disregard of their employee’s safety does not waive the Workers’ Compensation Act immunity from civil suit

In December 2021, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania addressed the issue of whether an employer’s willful or wanton disregard for an employee’s safety by deliberately exposing its employees to the COVID-19 virus was sufficient to overcome the exclusivity provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Act in Barker v. Tyson Foods, Inc., No. 21-223 (E.D. Pa. Dec. […]

Pennsylvania Updates February 24, 2022

PA Update – Superior Court of Pennsylvania Affirms Judgment in Favor of Employer-Social Host

In Klar v. Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., ___ A.3d ___, 2021 Pa. Super. LEXIS 729 (Pa. Super. Dec. 17, 2021), the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that a defendant-employer cannot be held liable under a Dram Shop-style action. The employer organized and encouraged its employees to participate in a pay-to-play golf outing at a public […]

Pennsylvania Updates June 24, 2021

PA Update – Recent Third Circuit Ruling in Dunleavy Distinguishes Gallagher: Certain Household Vehicle Exclusions Are Still Enforceable

On March 18, 2021, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the May 19, 2020 order of the United States District Court in the Western District of Pennsylvania in Dunleavy, et al. v. Mid-Century Ins. Co., 2020 WL 2536816 (W.D. Pa. May 19, 2020). In doing so, these Federal Courts distinguished the Pennsylvania Supreme Court […]

Pennsylvania Updates March 22, 2021


During the week of March 15, 2021, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed several bills reforming and amending various aspects of criminal law and evidentiary rules.  These bills include: HB 103 – This bill would create the offense of harassment of a law enforcement officer if a person intentionally causes or attempts to cause a […]

Pennsylvania Updates March 10, 2021

Case Bulletin – 1 S.A.N.T. Inc. vs. Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. and National Fire & Marine Insurance Co.

On January 15, 2021, U.S. District Judge William S. Stickman IV dismissed a Pennsylvania restaurant’s proposed class action seeking coverage from its insurance company for losses due to the coronavirus. The court found that establishments that were limited to carry-out service during the pandemic had not sustained the “direct, physical loss” that is necessary to trigger their […]

Pennsylvania Updates August 13, 2020

Covid-19 Update – Restaurants, Breweries, Wineries, and other Licensed Premises Permitted to Temporarily Add Outdoor Serving Areas Due to Covid-19

For all Pennsylvania licensed alcohol establishments, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has temporarily waived both the application fee and the 30-day waiting period typically required to extend a licensed premises outdoors. A few key notes for an establishment seeking to obtain an outdoor extension of premises include:  The establishment must submit a plan for […]

Pennsylvania Updates April 6, 2020

Covid-19 Update -The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s April 1, 2020 Order

On Wednesday, April 1, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its Second Supplemental Order regarding the Judicial Emergency caused by Covid-19. Most significantly, all Pennsylvania courts are to remain closed to the public (except for essential services) through April 30, 2020. President Judges of each court of common pleas are authorized to extend this closure […]

Pennsylvania Updates January 24, 2020

Case Bulletin – The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Holds that Insurance Policy Provision Requiring IME is Void

Most automobile insurance policies include a provision that requires an insured who is seeking first party benefits to submit to an independent medical examination, (IME).  In a recent opinion, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has held that those medical examination policy provisions conflict with Section 1796(a) of Pennsylvania’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law, (MVFRL), which includes […]