You deserve to work with a law firm that offers integrity, reliability and a personal commitment to finding the right solutions for the challenges and opportunities you face every day. Since 1933, Stark & Stark has developed innovative legal solutions to meet our clients’ needs. More than 100 attorneys, over 30 practice areas, and a philosophy of putting the law to work for our clients is the basis from which we build and maintain our practice.

Hoarding is a psychological condition where: 1) individuals have difficulty getting rid of possessions that are no longer useful; and 2) efforts to discard these possessions and not acquire new items cause distress. Television shows such as Hoarding: Buried Alive and Hoarders display in alarming detail the negative emotional and physical impact of this condition upon the individual with the hoarding disorder as well as his or her family and neighbors.

The negative consequences of hoarding in a community association — especially a high-rise condominium — are very serious. Hoarding behavior can easily lead to unsanitary and unsafe conditions that extend far outside the unit where the hoarding condition has manifested. For example, collections of half empty food containers strewn about a unit can quickly escalate into a pest infestation and breeding ground for mold and other unwelcome guests. Piles of newspapers and other combustible materials in close proximity to heat sources become fire risks. The cumulative weight of hoarded items can even lead to structural problems. Doorways and hallways overflowing and otherwise barricaded by mounds of stuff can hamper the efforts of emergency personnel and management.

A community association that chooses to ignore a hoarding situation could be found liable for failing to take action if the hoarding situation leads to injury to person or property.
Continue Reading What are the Negative Consequences of Hoarding in a Community Association?

The deadline to comply with the new inspection requirements mandated by the recent amendment to the Philadelphia fire code is fast approaching.

In the wake of a fire escape collapse in Center City that caused one death and two very serious injuries, the City of Philadelphia reviewed whether to mandate the inspection of fire escapes. Ultimately, the City of Philadelphia enacted a bill that amended Section F-1011.1 of the Philadelphia Fire Code. This amendment requires building owners to conduct very specific inspections of their building’s fire escapes and fire escape balconies. A report of the inspection must be filed with the Department of Licenses and Inspections (“L&I”).


Continue Reading Deadline to Comply with New Fire Inspection Requirements is Fast Approaching

An entire textbook and law school class could be devoted to the topic of handgun regulation. This article will focus on two recent United States Supreme Court (“Court”) decisions, briefly discuss some of the ways in which the Court’s decisions could apply to community associations, and identify practical issues that a community association should consider before embarking on any attempt to restrict handguns in its community. Any association interested in regulating firearms should consult experienced association counsel before embarking on such a task.

Continue Reading Handgun Regulation in Community Associations

As someone who manages risk for a living and can find potential liability in even the most mundane and (seemingly) harmless activities, I don’t get invited to many parties. Statements such as “Are you crazy!?! Those kids shouldn’t be running with an open container of Play-Doh” and “You do realize that mistletoe is poisonous” tend not to ingratiate me with the host and guests.

You can imagine my horror when a unit owner informs me that he doesn’t have his own property insurance. My horror increases when the unit owner informs me that the reason he doesn’t have insurance is his belief that he is covered by the condominium association’s insurance. For the record, your association’s property insurance does not adequately protect you. Add “Call Insurance Agent/Broker to Review Coverage” to your New Year’s Resolutions.


Continue Reading Insufficient Insurance Coverage, Running With Play-Doh, and Other Risky Activities

Spoiler alert! The zombie apocalypse in this article was not caused by a top secret government experiment, well-intentioned vaccination protocol, or ancient (and very cold) magic. The zombies discussed in this article were created by men and women garbed in Brooks Brothers (ok, probably Joseph A. Banks) and Anne Taylor. The zombies in question were created by stalled and abandoned foreclosure actions as well as a bank’s unwillingness to initiate foreclosure. Like their zombie relatives, zombie mortgages cause serious problems to the living mortgages and communities within their reach. Instead of eating brains like some of their zombie forbears, zombie mortgages eat the revenue stream flowing to community associations.

Continue Reading Night of the Undead . . . Mortgages (Zombie Mortgages)

During the transition process from declarant to homeowner control of an association, one common area of dispute is the condition of the sidewalks. The new sidewalk surfaces may be scaling, cracking, spalling, discolored, holding water, or otherwise falling apart. The association attributes the condition of the sidewalks to defective construction and requests the declarant to repair or replace the crumbling sidewalks. The declarant blames the condition on the association’s use of de-icing chemicals (i.e. salt) and refuses to repair the sidewalks. This scenario is played out, time and again, throughout the Northeast.
Continue Reading Are Homeowners Responsible for Sidewalk Condition During Transition?

Congratulations to Stark & Stark Shareholder Tyler Tomlinson for being selected as one of the National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers List for 2016*. The Top 100 Trial Lawyers List is “an invitation-only organization,” which is comprised of the foremost trial lawyers across every state and region. The selection process for every candidate is rigorous, and is completed through a “multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third party research.”

Continue Reading Shareholder Tyler Tomlinson Selected for the National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers 2016 List

Congratulations to Stark & Stark Shareholders Tyler Tomlinson and Jeffrey Krawitz for their election to the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Mr. Tomlinson is a new Hearing Member for the District II Bucks County board, while this is Mr. Krawitz’ reappointment to the same aforementioned board.

The Disciplinary Board is a peer-review

Stark & Stark is pleased to announce the election of Michael G. Donahue, III, Esq. as Managing Shareholder of the firm, effective May 1, 2016.  In this new leadership role, Mr. Donahue will oversee the day-to-day operations and long-term strategic planning of the firm.  His election to Managing Shareholder coincides with his upcoming June installation as President of the New Jersey Association for Justice (NJAJ) for the 2016-2017 term, where he also serves as co-chair of NJAJ’s Amicus Curiae Committee.

Mr. Donahue, who has been with the firm since 1995, is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney and focuses his practice on products liability and serious personal injury litigation. He is a prolific legal presenter, a member of several New Jersey-based law associations, and very active in area charitable and philanthropic organizations, including Boheme Opera New Jersey, the Trenton Area YMCA, the Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra, and Theater Exile in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Continue Reading Michael G. Donahue, III, Esq. Elected Managing Shareholder of Stark & Stark