Dangerous Pitfalls in Starting New Job

In the recent 2016 case of Wakeley v. M.J. Bruner, Inc., the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled against an employee who had been terminated shortly after starting a new job.

Katie Wakeley had been living in Texas, with her husband and child, where she had a stable job as a project manager for an advertising agency.  Ms. Wakeley was approached by a Pittsburgh-based company, which offered her a job that paid a higher salary, plus relocation expenses.  She accepted the job, moved her family to Pittsburgh and bought a home with a 30-year mortgage.  Upon arrival, the employer required that Katie sign a “Confirmation of Employment” document, which identified her title, salary and start date, and further stated that she was an employee “at-will”.  Pennsylvania follows a system of “at-will” employment, meaning that an employer may fire an employee at any time, for any reason or for no reason, with only minimal exceptions.  Katie’s new position proved to be far less desirable than promised, and the employer fired her after only a few months on the job. Continue reading

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Wrongful Death of College Basketball Player

In the recent Superior Court case of Hill v. Slippery Rock University, a college basketball player collapsed during a late night high-intensity practice with his team. After being transported to the emergency room, he suffered cardiac arrest and passed away. It was then discovered that the victim suffered from a blood disease that had gone undetected during the preseason physical exam required by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”). The NCAA’s policy at that time only required blood testing for Division I athletes, whereas the victim played for a Division II school and did not undergo the testing. Continue reading

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New Changes to Pennsylvania Criminal Records

Pennsylvania Senate Bill No. 166 was signed into law on February 16, 2016, which seals certain criminal record information from public release. The change to the law allows a person who has been free from arrest or criminal charges for the last 10 years to file a Petition with the Court for limited access to their prior convictions. The new law only limits access to certain non-violent misdemeanors of the second and third degrees. Continue reading

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Important Decision When Buying Car Insurance

In the recent Pennsylvania case of Herrera v. Baum, Gregoria Herrera was a passenger in a vehicle that was struck from behind and suffered numerous back and knee injuries Ms. Herrera had a car insurance policy on which she elected “limited” rather than “full tort” coverage in order to reduce her premium costs. When she had renewed her coverage, Gregoria checked the boxes next to both tort options, creating an ambiguity. Continue reading

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Pennsylvania Dog Law

In the recent case of Wagner v. Teneyck, a Doberman got loose from its owner’s property and attacked a child in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, causing severe and permanent injuries. In most lawsuits based on negligence, the victim has to prove that the defendant failed to act with “reasonable care” under the circumstances. However, under the Pennsylvania Dog Law, if an owner does not keep his “dangerous” dog muzzled or confined, a dog owner may be liable regardless of whether he exercised reasonable care in confining the dog. A victim simply needs to show that the dog had a propensity to attack without provocation. Continue reading

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Black Lung Benefits Act

Thousands of individuals make their living by working in our region’s coal mines. Unfortunately, exposure to coal dust can cause significant breathing difficulties, including Black Lung disease (pneumoconiosis). The Black Lung Benefits Act provides monthly payments to miners and their surviving dependents in cases where coal dust exposure has caused a pulmonary disability. Continue reading

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Drivers Texting in PA Now Face Fines

Police officers will be increasingly on the lookout for distracted drivers, as Pennsylvania’s new law prohibiting texting while driving goes into effect on March 8, 2012. Continue reading

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PA Fair Share Act

On June 28, 2011, Governor Corbett signed SB113, the Fair Share Act (Act 17-2011) into law in Pennsylvania. The Fair Share Act significantly changes Pennsylvania law regarding joint and several liability in most tort actions, such as actions involving negligence. Continue reading

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2011 Changes to Pennsylvania Child Custody Laws

Effective January 24, 2011, significant changes were made to the existing child custody laws in Pennsylvania. This is the result of a decade-long reform process. Continue reading

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Buying/Selling a Home –Review the Sales Contract

Whether you are deciding to buy a new home or trying to sell your existing home, you are faced with many decisions and questions. It is an exciting and emotional time and you are probably focusing on the price.

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