Employers, and likely all businesses, now have a specific duty to safeguard their employees’ personal data that is stored on internet-based computer systems, according to a recent decision by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Prior legislation only required companies to report potential or actual data breaches to the individuals or businesses whose information may have been, or was, compromised.

Continue Reading Pennsylvania Companies Must Protect Employees’ Sensitive Data

Stated simply, medical malpractice, or medical negligence, is medical care or treatment that falls below the accepted standard of care and causes actual harm to a patient. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, the law places the burden on the patient to prove that a medical provider deviated from the standard of care and caused harm. The first part of the test, establishing the medical provider deviated from the acceptable standard of care, can be fairly straightforward and is often the easier question to analyze and answer.

Continue Reading In Medical Malpractice, “Causation” is Often the Most Difficult Element to Prove

Pennsylvania permits the shipment of malt and brewed beverages to Pennsylvania residents by wholesalers or retailers of another state or country. This license permits the holder to ship up to 192 fluid ounces per month to any one resident for his or her personal use. No more than 96 fluid ounces of a specific brand may be shipped to any one Pennsylvania resident in one calendar year.

Continue Reading Pennsylvania Direct Malt or Brewed Beverage Shipper License

Currently in Pennsylvania, a medical malpractice lawsuit may only be filed in the county where the alleged malpractice occurred. This more restrictive than the venue rule for other types of civil cases, which provides more flexibility and gives plaintiffs more control over where their lawsuit is filed.

Continue Reading Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Committee Considers Change to Med Mal Venue Rule

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled this month that a man from Pittsburgh is not entitled to recover attorneys’ fees and court costs from litigation he won against his homeowners association. Matthew Serota filed suit against the London-Towne Homeowners Association in 2015 after the association amended its Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (the “Declaration”) to allow only one vote per owner rather than one vote per home.

Continue Reading Pennsylvania Man Not Entitled to Attorneys’ Fees in Homeowners Association Declaration Amendment Lawsuit

The June 2017 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control included a report from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) which described 23 infants in their intensive care unit (ICU) who contracted eye infections after eye examinations. In the report, CHOP attributed the cause of the outbreak to some medical staff not wearing gloves, and a “lack of standard cleaning practices” of equipment used in the exams.

This outbreak occurred in August 2016, and a recent lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a family who alleges their premature baby died as a result of her contracted infection at CHOP in September 2016. The premature infant had been transferred to CHOP in July, and by mid-August had tested positive for infection with an adenovirus and was suffering from respiratory symptoms. She eventually developed a bacterial infection on top of the viral illness, and died on September 11, 2016.

Continue Reading 23 Infants Contracted Infections at CHOP

One of the topics generating a great deal of attention in zoning relates to people leasing their residential homes via Airbnb.

This issue came up in Reihner v. City of Scranton Zoning Hearing Board No. 256 C.D. 2017 (PA Commw. Ct. Dec. 8, 2017). The owners of a single family residential dwelling rented the three bedrooms on the second floor of their house via the Airbnb website.

The City filed a notice of violation alleging that the use was a “Bed and Breakfast” which was not allowed in the property’s zoning district.

Scranton’s ordinance defined a “Bed and Breakfast use” as follows:

“The use of a single family residential dwelling and/or accessory structure which includes the rental of overnight sleeping accommodations and bathroom access…and which does not provide any cooking facilities or provision of meals for guests other than breakfast…”

Continue Reading Zoning Concerns from Listing Your Property on Airbnb

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!

Telemedicine” or “Telehealth” are the terms most often used when referring to clinical diagnosis and monitoring that is delivered by technology. Telemedicine encompasses healthcare provided via real time two-way video conferencing; file sharing, including transmission of health history, x-rays, films, or photos; remote patient monitoring; and consumer mobile health apps on smart phones, tablets, and devices that collect data and transmit it to a healthcare provider. Telemedicine is increasingly being used for everything from diagnosing common viruses to monitoring patients with serious long-term health issues.

The American Telemedicine Association reports that majority of hospitals now use some form of telemedicine. Two years ago, there were approximately 20 million telemedicine video consultations; that number is expected to increase to about 160 million by 2020. An estimated one-third of employer group plans already cover some type of telehealth.

Continue Reading Telemedicine – Are There Increased Risks With Virtual Doctor Visits?