A recent ruling from Judge Terrence R. Nealon of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas may have opened the door for a new and unique basis for punitive damages in Pennsylvania. In this specific case, the counsel for plaintiff has alleged that Marie Gulbin, an elderly woman, lost consciousness while driving her vehicle due to an untreated urinary tract infection (UTI). This caused her to cross into the opposing lane of traffic and hit the vehicle of Chrystal Clauss-Walton head on, resulting in severe injuries. The Plaintiff alleged that Gulbin decided to get behind the wheel despite suffering from known symptoms of a UTI, a condition she knew (or should have known), could cause fainting if left untreated.

Continue Reading Driving With a UTI May Provide Basis for Punitive Damages

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently held that a contractual no-hire or “no poach” provision in a services contract between sophisticated business entities is not enforceable under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This important case is entitled Pittsburgh Systems, Inc. v. Beemac Trucking, et. al., case no. 31 WAP 2019.

Continue Reading Pennsylvania Supreme Court Bars “No-Hire” Clauses Between Businesses

Every year, the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspection updates contractors and subcontractors on the requirements needed to operate in Philadelphia. While some requirements have been longstanding, workers and contractors should be aware and mindful of what is required of them to be permitted to perform construction and to help keep workers safe. To operate construction services in Philadelphia, one set of rules a contractor must follow is the Contractor Operational requirements. These are codes of conduct for both contractors and subcontractors which require, but are not limited to: a valid license, necessary operating permits, prohibition on selling or transferring licenses and permits, and maintaining demographic information at a job site such as addresses and contact numbers for key personnel and companies.

Continue Reading The Importance of Complying With the 2021 Philadelphia Construction Requirements

Like most events in our lives these days, Sheriff Sales of real estate have gone virtual. Bucks County, Pennsylvania has joined Philadelphia, Montgomery, Berks, Adams, and Monroe Counties in holding virtual county Sheriff Sales. An online auction company, Bid4Assets, is used by each of these counties to produce virtual sales. The Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office has held two virtual town halls to introduce the platform and answer the public’s questions regarding the change.

Continue Reading Pennsylvania Sheriffs’ Sales Moving to Online Platforms

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). Please find several frequently asked questions regarding sexual abuse/assault, along with answers below.

If you are survivor of sexual abuse, do you have a viable civil claim?

Unfortunately, not all sexual abuse claims are viable civil cases. For an individual to have a viable civil sexual abuse claim, it is critical that there is a viable defendant who has the ability to compensate the victim for their injuries (mental and physical).

Continue Reading Frequently Asked Questions About Sexual Abuse Cases

On March 24, 2021, Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub arrested Dr. Richard Kondan for violating multiple components of the Drug Act. Dr. Kondan, 58, works in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Kondan was charged with illegally prescribing highly addictive opioid medications to at least 14 of his patients. In addition, the investigation by the Attorney General’s Office and Bucks County Detectives revealed that, for 16 years, Dr. Kondan failed to keep patient medical records up-to-date, increased dosages to inappropriate amounts, prescribed dangerous combinations of medications, and authorized refills without prior examinations. He has been officially charged with 14 counts of Unlawful Prescription of a Controlled Substance by a Practitioner.

Continue Reading Bucks County, PA Doctor Charged for Running Illegal “Pill Mill”

Winter is coming – and with it comes snow, sleet, and freezing rain. In the Philadelphia area, the average yearly snowfall is 22.4 inches.

Winter driving is dangerous. According to the Federal Highway Administration, more than 116,000 Americans are injured and over 1,300 are killed on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement every winter. Pennsylvania is one of the top five deadliest states for wintertime car accidents, often caused, at least in part, by poor visibility and road conditions. Be careful out there!

Another hazard, a preventable hazard, is also part of winter driving. While viewed by many as a harmless prank, PennDot cautions against throwing snowballs at cars due to the risk of causing an accident. A snowball thrown at a car can break a car’s windshield or cause a car accident by distracting the driver or causing the driver to swerve into adjacent or oncoming vehicles, or even pedestrians.

Continue Reading Don’t Throw Snowballs (or Rocks) at Cars!

The Philadelphia Code places the burden upon both owners and tenants to remove snow and ice from their sidewalks.  Chapter 10, Section 720 requires owners and tenants to thoroughly clear a path not less than 30 inches in width on all sidewalks bordering the building or premises within 6 hours after the snow or ice has ceased to fall.  This ordinance further states that it shall be a violation to place snow or ice that has been removed from sidewalks in the street.

While the penalties for violating these provisions are relatively minor, ranging from a minimum of $100 to a maximum of $300, failure to remove snow may expose residents to civil liability for amounts far greater than this in the event of an injury.  If you have been seriously injured as a result of a fall on snow or ice, call an experienced personal injury attorney for assistance.

Although this winter season has already seen a great amount of snow accumulation, weather forecasters are predicting more snow will hit us in the coming weeks. Of course, all of this snow makes for dangerous walking conditions. As the amount of snow accumulation continues to increase, so does the chance of being hurt as a result of slipping on ice or snow.

There are a few things that you should do if you are hurt on someone’s property as a result of snow or ice. The first thing is to be sure that you seek medical attention. If you are seriously hurt, you should call 911 and wait for an ambulance.

Next, you should notify the property owner so that they may correct the dangerous condition. You do not want anyone else to be hurt as you were. Also, this will help prove that you were really hurt on their property. If you are hurt on a commercial property, they may want you to complete a report or give them a statement. Be careful when doing this. They will usually try to use whatever you tell them against you later.

Pictures. Pictures. Pictures. If possible, you should take pictures of the dangerous condition. If you have a digital camera or cell phone with a camera built in, take several pictures of the area where you were hurt. Pictures can be very valuable in proving that the dangerous condition existed. Also, it will prove that the property owner should have taken care of the condition before you were hurt. These pictures could help you win your case.

Your next call should be to an attorney that handles slip and fall cases. At Stark & Stark we handle these cases every day. We will have experts that will want to inspect the dangerous condition as soon as possible. Also, we will want to make sure that you are fully compensated for the damages that you suffered.

The Philadelphia Municipal Court issued an Order stopping service of writs of possession and alias writs in residential eviction cases. On November 6, 2020, the court directed that any writs previously issued in any residential case cannot be served until after December 31, 2020. However, landlords can seek relief from the Order with a showing of good cause to serve the writs.

Continue Reading Another Setback for Pennsylvania Landlords