Legal Perspectives

Attorneys at the law firm Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C. provide a variety of posts on legal issues affecting the business community.

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Primer: What Attorneys Wish Employers Knew About Personnel Files

An employee’s personnel file can be a crucial piece of evidence in employment litigation. What information is or is not contained in a personnel file, and sometimes how and where that information is stored, can dramatically alter a party’s case in a lawsuit. For example, a lack of time records will aid an employee’s wage claim pursuant to the Fair Labors Standards Act, but an employee’s well documented disciplinary issues will aid an employer’s defense against a wrongful termination suit.

TITLE INSURANCE: REAL ESTATE’S DIRTY LITTLE SECRET

It’s an exciting day. Your offer on the house that would be just perfect for you and your family has been accepted. Your children are going to go to school in Upper Merion School District, or you will be close to the great shopping or nightlife in Philadelphia, or you will finally have that little slice of heaven in Chester County for your horses, or perhaps just enough land to have a little garage to work on your Harley. You are beyond pumped for the future!

Will Workers’ Comp Pay for My Surgery?

This is a question we often hear from our clients, but unfortunately, it’s usually a question we hear after there is a dispute as to whether the proposed surgery is related to the accepted injury.  What exactly does that mean you ask?  Well, perhaps a little workers’ comp basics are in order, before we can answer that question.

April Showers Bring May Fees

Unfunded government mandates come in many forms. One of the newest challenges to municipal governments is based upon mother nature and rainfall, which eventually becomes stormwater, and is now the subject of considerable new and complicated governmental regulations.

The Terrible “D” Word

Just the word “divorce” is scary enough for most people, without even the consideration of what the process entails. Add in the myriad issues and problems that could crop up and most people find the entire process to be draining and frustrating. Having an understanding of the process and a lawyer whose practice style aligns with your goals can help alleviate some of the headache involved.

Should Employers Cooperate With Workers’ Compensation Subrogation?

People generally know that they cannot sue their employers when they get hurt at work.  It is the foundation of our system of workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania (and in all other states too) that the tradeoff for receiving workers’ compensation benefits is that employers are shielded from liability even if they are negligent in causing injuries to their employees.  But most people are not as familiar with the concept of workers’ compensation subrogation, which arises when injured workers sue so-called third parties and not their employers.

Urban Legends in Estate Law — Fact vs. Fiction

As an Estate practitioner, I have found that lately I am spending more time listening to my clients tell me about what they think the law is when it comes to Estate planning and Estate Administration, as compared to actuality.  People hear all kinds of things from friends, family and of course, what people try to use as a replacement for a licensed attorney: the Internet. 

Therefore, I think it would be helpful to shed light on what’s true and what is not on some of the most common myths I am hearing.  Here they are:

 

Using Trademarks to Protect Your Brand

In business, branding is the name of the game today. Your brand is your identity, and your identity is usually tied to your success. How you define your business and your product or service to clients and consumers is crucial to your ability to attract and maintain loyal clients and customers. This is just as true for the Fortune 500 Corporation as it is for the local real estate agent or accountant. Your brand communicates who you are and the quality of your product or service.

Big Changes To Workers’ Compensation Subrogation

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.

“What am I supposed to do now?” Practical Advice for Family after the Death of a Loved One

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?”

Executive Employment Agreements

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.

A Public Service Announcement Regarding Title Insurance

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.

I just received a Utilization Review. What does that mean?

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?

Can an unemployed worker take work with Uber and still collect unemployment benefits?

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

What's Mine Is Yours And What Yours Is Mine… Until Divorce Do Us Part

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!

The Salary-Question Ban

A business is often only as good as the people running it, which is why employers are always looking for the most qualified candidate they can afford.  For many businesses, personnel costs make up a significant portion of the business’s expenses.

Impairment Rating Evaluations Declared Unconstitutional - What You Need to Know

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently handed down a blockbuster decision which effectively eliminated a tool often used by workers’ compensation carriers to reduce, or, in some cases, eliminate, the wage loss portion of injured workers’ claims.  Both employers and injured workers should know about the decision and its implications.

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