PA PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY CLIENT ALERT: Superior Court of Pennsylvania Case Serves As Reminder To Communicate With Experts


In Rutyna v. Schweers, Plaintiffs instituted a legal malpractice action against William Schweers, the attorney who represented them in a medical malpractice action brought against a doctor and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Presbyterian. The underlying action ensued after Mr. Rutyna underwent a laminectomy that was complicated by a dural tear, a condition that occurs when a surgical instrument nicks the thin covering of the spinal cord. Significantly, the trial court dismissed the Rutynas’ medical malpractice action after they failed to file a Certificate of Merit as required by the Pennsylvania Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act. More »

PA EMPLOYMENT LAW CLIENT ALERT: Is More Money Coming To PA Employees? A Proposal By Governor Wolf Seeks To Expand Overtime Compensation For PA Employees


Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently announced a proposal to expand overtime pay to an estimated 460,000 Pennsylvania employees. To that end, Governor Wolf requested the Department of Labor & Industry to prepare a plan to modernize Pennsylvania’s overtime rules, which have not been updated in more than 40 years. The first step in updating the rules is to increase the salary threshold to determine overtime eligibility for employees. Presently, the threshold for eligibility is set at the federal level of $455.00 per week, or $23,660.00 annually.  That level would increase to $610.00 per week ($31,720.00 annually) on January 1, 2020. The level would increase again to $39,832.00 on January 1, 2021 and to $47,892.00 in 2022.  Thereafter, the salary threshold will automatically increase every three years.  More »

NJ EMPLOYMENT LAW CLIENT ALERT: Timing is Everything-Recent Amendments Strengthen New Jersey Opportunity to Compete Act


In a move that will provide additional protections to job seekers in New Jersey, outgoing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently approved amendments to New Jersey’s Opportunity to Compete Act “OTCA." More »

NJ EMPLOYMENT LAW CLIENT ALERT: An Amendment to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination “NJLAD” Provides Protection And Accommodations for Nursing Mothers


New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently signed legislation that amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination "NJLAD" to prohibit employers from discriminating against employees for breastfeeding. In that regard, an employer may not refuse to hire, discharge or require an employee to retire as a result of the employee’s breastfeeding. Further, the amendment prohibits employers from discriminating against any breastfeeding employee in regards to the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment. More »

PRODUCT LIABILITY CLIENT ALERT: Pennsylvania Federal Court Finds Amazon Not Liable for Third-Party Vendor’s Product


On December 21, 2017, the Pennsylvania Federal Court in Oberdorf v. Amazon, No. 4:16-CV-01127, (M.D. Pa. 2017) addressed whether Amazon, under Pennsylvania’s products liability law, should be considered the “seller” of a defective dog leash which allegedly partially blinded Plaintiff Heather Oberdorf.   More »

LIFE SCIENCES CLIENT ALERT: The FDA and the Digital Age: FDA Releases Guidances on the Proposed Limits of its Regulation of Digital Health Technologies


In an effort to encourage innovation and bring efficiency and modernization to regulation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued draft guidance documents that define the types of software functions that the FDA will not regulate. These documents come in response to the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) which was legislation that removed certain low-risk health software from the jurisdiction of the FDA. These guidance documents represent clarity from the FDA regarding the applicability of FDA regulations to digital health technologies. To be clear, the FDA’s policy structure in this subject area is a work in progress. More »

LIFE SCIENCES CLIENT ALERT: FDA Issues Proposed Enforcement Policy Regarding Homeopathic Drugs

Marking a potentially dramatic new direction, on December 18, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) issued a press release and Draft Guidance announcing a new proposed enforcement policy regarding homeopathic drugs.  If finalized, the new enforcement policy would change the existing compliance policy focusing on labeling requirements which has been in effect for about 30 years.  The changes come about a year after the FDA found homeopathic teething products containing belladonna did not accurately state the actual amount of belladonna in the products and after some teething products were allegedly linked to reported injuries and deaths in children. More »

PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY CLIENT ALERT: Third-Party Litigation Financing Can Drive Up Case Settlement Value


A recent data study by researcher, Jean Xiao, JD/Ph. D, at Vanderbilt University Law School revealed the effects of the growing Consumer Litigation Finance industry on medical negligence cases. According to the study, the direct availability of litigation funding from investors to plaintiffs resulted in higher malpractice payments and extended the amount of time it took cases to settle. More »

CYBER RISK CLIENT ALERT: “50-State” Complaint Filed Against Equifax


Last Friday, a “50-State” complaint was filed against credit reporting giant Equifax concerning an extensive data breach that occurred earlier this year, and which exposed the personal identification and financial information of more than 145 million Americans.  This summer, hackers took advantage of a flaw in a software tool utilized by Equifax, and obtained enormous amounts of sensitive customer data.  The company has since admitted that it knew about this flaw at least two months before the breach occurred, and at least three months before it alerted consumers of the breach.  The lawsuit contends that Equifax failed to improve data safeguards while expanding into new business areas.  The lawsuit also alleges that Equifax mishandled its response to the breach, and alleges violation of breach notification laws in states throughout the country.  Plaintiffs’ class-action lawsuit seeks recovery of millions of dollars in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages, disgorgement of profits and attorneys’ fees. More »

PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY CLIENT ALERT: Collateral/Crossover Estoppel as a Bar to Legal Malpractice Claims


Depending on the facts and issues involved in a legal malpractice claim, there are various defenses to be proffered. One potential defense is the doctrine of collateral/crossover estoppel, a “rule of issue preclusion”[1] that “precludes relitigation of an issue in a subsequent, different cause of action between the same parties when the prior proceeding culminated in a valid final judgment and the issue was actually and necessarily determined in the prior proceeding.”  Barrow v. Pritchard, 235 Mich. App. 478, 480 (1999).  Crossover estoppel is the application of collateral estoppel in a civil matter after a final determination was made in a prior criminal matter.  In Saad Akram Bahoda v. Steven M. Kaplan (Case No. 332313, July 20, 2017), the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the Macomb County Circuit Court’s grant of summary disposition for a defendant-lawyer applying the doctrine of collateral/crossover estoppel to hold that his former client’s legal malpractice claim was precluded as a matter of law. More »

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