The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is one of the country’s leaders when it comes to the number of local government units. This includes counties, cities, boroughs, townships, incorporated towns and school districts. Many of these governmental units rely on what are essentially volunteers to serve as elected officials who oversee the operation of the government.
With spring come the myriad signs popping up in our neighbors’ yards advertising the services of the contractor who put on their new roof, new deck, new driveway, new kitchen or whatever other home renovation project they’ve recently undertaken. It’s always refreshing to have an update and most of us are happy to trust the professionals we hire to get the job done right. But we also all know some horror story of a never-ending project, contract disputes, cost overruns, faulty work and so on.
I have been practicing law for over twenty-two years, and have fielded countless legal questions from clients and prospective clients. Our law office is well-established, with a good reputation, and people feel comfortable calling us with their legal concerns. Many believe that their questions can be answered quickly, for free, and over the phone. This belief is usually incorrect, for a number of reasons.
As an Estate Practitioner, I’ve had my fair share of clients with unusual requests in their Wills. Without going into detail, and therefore potentially violating attorney-client privilege, I can say that some of them have been absolutely hilarious, others have been down right hurtful, and some have been, well just plain weird. In any event, it usually comes down to the Testator (the person who makes the Will) wanting some sort of control from the grave.
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court recently issued a landmark ruling in the case of Dittman v. UPMC which makes employers vulnerable to lawsuits from employees for improper handling of personal data.
UPMC operates the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and UPMC McKeesport in the Pittsburgh area. Dittman was an employee of UPMC and the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of all employees of UPMC.
Anyone who knows me knows that I attempt to educate consumers about the subtle commonplace real estate practices that seem innocent on the surface, but actually are detrimental to the best interests of the consumer. In an effort to inform those attempting to mislead consumers or unfairly profit from these practices know that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) is watching you, I offer the following recent actions taken by the CFPB:
As a workers’ compensation attorney many of my clients will ask me if the workers’ compensation insurance carrier can simply stop paying them if they so choose. The answer to that question is an emphatic no. Once workers’ compensation benefits are being paid, the insurance company has limited ways to stop such a benefit.
People delete ill-advised emails. They take down their most unfortunate or incriminating social media posts. Computer files go missing, and digitally stored photos disappear.
But whether these digital mistakes are innocently (or not so innocently) sent to a recycling bin which is then routinely emptied, or instead systematically scoured from a hard drive with scrubbing software, the process of deletion leaves a mark. And the courts have noticed.
Depending on where you live, open space or the preservation of open space can be a very controversial topic. There is always a balance between property owners’ rights to develop their property pursuant to municipal ordinances while, at the same time, ensuring that there is quality open space preserved for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations.
People move. It’s part of life. Sometimes people want a new house. Sometimes people want a new neighborhood. Sometimes people just want change. Whatever the reason, it is rare that people stay in the same house the entire time their children are young. With an intact family, there are fewer problems that arise with a move. When a family is divided, moving can end up costing both parties a lot of time, headache and money, including court battles. However, when custody of children is contested, the courts will not get involved with every move.
For most people, their home is their largest asset and biggest investment. Many homebuyers assume that buying a brand-new house in a new community means less surprise issues than perhaps that 100-year-old farmhouse. Unfortunately, many buyers’ “house fever” overshadows conscientious due diligence in the home buying process. Issues which should be readily apparent may be overlooked in the rush to close, and later morph into buyer’s regret once the dust settles and the boxes are moved in. What’s a buyer to do?
On June 19, 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a decision which significantly changed the landscape of the interaction between personal injury and workers’ compensation claims. Personal injury attorneys and injured workers should know about the decision and its implications.
When a family member or someone you are close to passes away, you are going to feel intense grief, confusion, loss, isolation, and perhaps even anger. While you are wrestling with these emotions, you are expected to know what to do and keep a level head about yourself. If you are like most people, you have no idea what do next.
I have received numerous phone calls over the years from grieving individuals who literally just saw their parent or spouse die moments before they called me, desperately seeking the answer to one simple question: “What am I supposed to do now?”
Most employees in Pennsylvania work without any type of written contract governing the terms of their employment. A fair portion, however, including many teachers, police officers, and skilled laborers, work pursuant to union contracts.
The following is a true story. The names have been changed to protect the innocent (in this case, the real estate buyer). One day last week, a client of mine called me to let me know that her offer on her new house had been accepted and she wanted my office to order the title insurance. I asked her to have the realtor forward me the agreement of sale, so I could commence protecting her interests in purchasing her home.
If you have been injured in Pennsylvania and are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, the insurance company paying those benefits has the right to question the reasonableness and necessity of any treatment provided to you. In other words, if you have been seeing a chiropractor and the insurance company would like to question whether the treatment you are receiving is reasonable and necessary any longer, they must file what is called a utilization review, or for short, a “UR.” So, what does it mean once a UR has been filed?
In a column appearing in these pages in January of 2016, we discussed the potential for a new category of worker, falling somewhere in between an employee and an independent contractor – a category sometimes referred to as a “dependent contractor.” The term “dependent contractor”, a label still without legal standing in most states, is increasingly used to apply to delivery drivers, Uber drivers, Handy tradespeople and other similarly situated workers dependent upon a particular company’s business, and completely vulnerable to any collapse in that business or any change in that compan
Oftentimes in marriage people end up doing things they don’t want to do for the sake of their partners’ happiness. However, there are things a person shouldn’t do in marriage for the sake of his or her partner’s happiness. I frequently see problems in divorce cases when people, for the sake of making the other person happy, put their partner’s name on a piece of property that isn’t marital to begin with, or they put their partner’s name on an account where it isn’t necessary. Here is my piece of friendly advice – DON’T!